Town played out a 2-2 draw at home to Barnsley in their final home pre-season game, forced to come from behind to level after
An early Max Wright goal was a fine start to life in a Town shirt but goals from Aiden Marsh and Jasper Moon either side of the break put the Tykes ahead before Alex Pattison came up with a deserved equaliser with just over fifteen minutes remaining.
Simon Weaver made a number of changes to the side that defeated Huddersfield last Saturday. Included in the starting line-up was new-boy Wright, whose arrival at the club was confirmed earlier in the day.
There were familiar faces in the opposition ranks, with former-Town loanee William Hondermarck in the eleven, as was Nicky Cadden who featured last season for Forest Green Rovers.
The early running was made by Town, as it was against Huddersfield, with good work from Trialist down the right-hand side playing in Jack Muldoon, with a clever dummy playing in Matty Daly whose shot was deflected narrowly wide.
On five minutes, Lewis Richards found the time and space to get his shot away but he couldn’t replicate the pace and accuracy of his winner at the weekend.
Fabio Jalo’s clever flick then played in Luke Thomas to fire off a left-footed effort that was strongly pushed aside by Mark Oxley.
Immediately after though Town took the lead. Muldoon’s flick-on was directed into the danger area and Wright raced onto the ball to poke past Jack Walton.
Midway through the first-half Wright almost added a second. Trialist, with good work again down the right, slid in Wirght who side-footed towards goal but the effort took an unfortunate deflection and fell wide.
Muldoon then had a great chance in an advanced position but opted for an extra touch rather than getting the shot away and the Barnsley defence re-grouped to crowd him out.
Jalo then shrugged off Joe Mattock to get beyond the Town defence for the visitors first chance of the evening but couldn’t get the angle he needed to get the shot on goal and force a save from Oxley.
Cadden’s evening was cut short on the half-hour mark through injury and he was replaced by Harrison Nejman.
Minutes later goalscorer Wright was also forced off with a knock and he was replaced by Alex Pattison.
With Richards operating in a wingback role rather than centrally in a back three was proving to be a constant threat on the left, and he forced another corner on 37 mins that saw Town almost double the lead as the subsequent delivery flashed across the face of goal narrowly to safety.
Richards lost possession though five minutes before the half and the ball was cut back for Aiden Marsh but Oxley stood firm to deny the threat.
Muldoon beat the offside trap just before half-time and forced a smart low save from Walton but with the referee poised to blow for the break Marsh levelled. Jordan Williams cross from the left pinballed around the box before falling to Marsh who hit home convincingly.
At the break Weaver made three changes, introducing Kyle Ferguson, George Thomson and Luke Armstrong for Warren Burrell, Lewis Richards and Matty Daly.
The visitors made one switch with Jordan Williams being replaced by Danny Benson.
The changes didn’t disrupt Town’s play though, with Armstrong immediately into the action with his usual combative style, winning a free-kick after being held back during an early attack.
Marsh was again lively for the visitors after the break and he wriggled free to win a corner. The delivery was met powerfully by Moon who headed past a helpless Oxley to give the Tykes the lead on 58 minutes.
Thomson responded well for Town though with an effort from distance that forced Walton into a save.
Jaheim Headley then replaced Josh Austerfield on the hour mark as Town looked to get as many minutes under the belt of their first-team squad with the season now just 10 days away.
Town could – and should – have equalised on 70 minutes when Armstrong played in a marauding Pattison who broke clear and struck low and hard past Walton only to see the ball agonisingly strike the base of the post.
Pattison then turned provider with first-time ball across the box that was met by Muldoon, but his sliding effort could only divert the ball wide of Walton’s post.
Town were level, deservedly so, moments later when their spell of pressure saw Pattison involved – yet again – to burst past the defence and slot home to make it 2-2.
Jalo and Joe Ackroyd were replaced by Jack Butterfill and Tomas Kalinauskas with little over five minutes remaining.
But aside from a Thomson corner that was comfortably cleared there was little other threat of either side grabbing a late win and the 2-2 scoreline was in truth a fair outcome to an entertaining evening.
TOWN: Oxley, Welch-Hayes, Mattock, Burrell (Ferguson, 45), Wright (Pattison, 34), Richards (Thomson, 45), Austerfield (Headley, 63), Muldoon, Daly (Armstrong, 45), Trialist.
Subs not used: Jameson, Horbury, Trialist, Trialist.
Goal: Wright (11), Pattison (72)
Barnsley: Walton, Halliwell, Williams (Benson, 45), Moon, Sraha, Cadden (Nejman, 32) Hondermarck, Thomas, Ackroyd (Kalinauskas, 84), Marsh, Jalo (Butterfill, 84).
Subs: Searle, Ariely, Hassan-Smith, Lancaster.
Goals: Marsh (45), Moon (58).
Referee: Ross Joyce.