Blackpool 1 Barnsley 1: Phillips to the rescue as 10-man Seasiders keep play-offs in sight
16:29 GMT, 9 April 2012
Matt Phillips denied Barnsley a first away win since January as 10-man Blackpool kept their npower Championship play-off hopes alive with a draw at Bloomfield Road.
The Seasiders coped admirably after Keith Southern was dismissed early in the first half for a careless two-footed lunge on Stephen Foster, but failed to make the breakthrough their creativity merited before the interval.
Instead, it was David Perkins who registered his first goal for Barnsley in a smash-and-grab move shortly after half-time.
Vital: Matt Phillips celebrates scoring the equaliser
Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Harris, Dobbie (Sylvestre 88), Southern, Angel (Dicko 72), Matt Phillips, LuaLua (Ferguson 56), Ince.
Subs Not Used: Crainey, Ormerod.
Sent Off: Southern (21).
Goals: Matt Phillips 71.
Barnsley: Button, Wiseman, Edwards, Foster, McNulty, Collins, O'Brien, Tonge (Higginbotham 85), Perkins, Noble-Lazarus (Cotterill 76), Nouble (Davies 77).
Subs Not Used: Dawson, Gray.
Booked: Tonge, McNulty.
Goals: Perkins 47.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).
But Blackpool failed to lie down and the ever-threatening Phillips finished off a flowing move to keep the Lancashire club in fifth place.
Ian Holloway's men might even have nicked all three points if not for Ian Evatt's poor effort five minutes from time, but Barnsley held on to arrest a run of seven consecutive away defeats.
Michael Tonge tested Matt Gilks in the Blackpool goal after four minutes, but it was to be the only opportunity Barnsley would enjoy in a one-sided first half.
Lomana LuaLua clipped into David Button's gloves before Phillips came closer with a volley that skimmed the crossbar.
The Scotland international, who scored a hat-trick at Oakwell on Boxing Day, drilled over the bar again before the Tangerines suffered an early setback.
Referee Andy D'Urso had a clear view as Southern scythed down Stephen Foster in the 21st minute, and promptly showed the midfielder his first red card in four years.
If the dismissal had rattled Holloway's men, they did not let it show as they produced two classy moves on either side of the half-hour mark.
First, Tom Ince's speculative lob beat Button but dipped wide of the far post, then, after being released by LuaLua, Phillips danced into the box only to be dispossessed by Foster.
He quickly pounced on the rebound only for Button to pull off a stunning fingertip save at his near post.
The Tykes were at a loss as half-time approached, and were perhaps lucky to see Stephen Dobbie's long-range drive sail high and wide.
And so it came as some surprise when Perkins nudged the visitors ahead just two minutes after the interval.
Reuben-Noble Lazarus picked out Jim O'Brien lurking in front of Gilks, only for Perkins to get the decisive touch as the Scottish winger's strike pinballed around the goalmouth.
Angel Martinez sought immediate redemption for the Tangerines but his swerving drive was parried by the solid Button.
The hosts were further disappointed when Ince followed up an impressive mazy run with a wayward drive that failed to trouble Button.
As Holloway exchanged words with some disgruntled fans behind the dug-out, the Tykes came close to extending their lead, Gilks blocking a snapshot from Tonge.
But the frustrated home faithful soon relaxed as Phillips grabbed an equaliser in the 71st minute.
The tricky winger converted the goal his earlier good work had merited as he collected Bob Harris' defence-splitting pass to slot comfortably past Button.
O'Brien and Jimmy McNulty went close as Keith Hill instructed his team to pour forward in search of an elusive away win, with even defender Scott Wiseman drawing a catch from Gilks in the final 10 minutes.
Button survived two late scares as a Phillips corner swung dangerously close to his goal, the on-loan Tottenham stopper punching clear, before Evatt spurned a golden chance to seal three points by inexplicably stabbing over the bar from six yards.
But Barnsley were able to ride out four minutes of injury time to secure a valuable point in their quest to secure second-tier football.