Hatters held to a stalemate by Tykes

James Collins is denied by Barnsley keeper Adam Davies
James Collins is denied by Barnsley keeper Adam Davies

League One: Luton Town 0 Barnsley 0

Luton began 2019 with a goalless draw at home to fellow promotion-hopefuls Barnsley yesterday.

The visitors, who were the last team to beat Town back in October, showed just why they are right up there, becoming the first side to stop the Hatters scoring at Kenilworth Road this term.

They should have taken the lead on 10 minutes too when former Hatter Cauley Woodrow exchanged passes with Mamadou Thiam to go clean through, only to miss the target with the outside of his right boot.

Barnsley had easily the better of possession and territory in the opening exchanges, giving Luton's back-line some nervy moments.

James Shea gathered Cameron McGeehan's 20 yarder with ease, before Town started to wrest a degree of control back, Elliot Lee winning a corner that saw James Justin pick out Sonny Bradley.

His header back was volleyed goalwards by Alan McCormack, visiting keeper Adam Davies making a fine save low down to his right.

Town created another decent opportunity when James Collins spotted Andrew Shinnie's run, the midfielder slicing wide from 18 yards.

However, Barnsley weathered the pressure, Woodrow firing over the top from 30 yards, the striker's tame effort then easy for Shea.

Shinnie went it along from distance on his left, Davies making a routine stop, although after the break, the Hatters were on the back foot once more to begin with.

Thiam's 25 yard blast well gathered by Shea, who was then thankful for McCormack's head in deflecting Brad Potts' snapshot over.

Thiam wasn't far wide from range again, but Luton began to handle the Tykes midfield that bit better, as Justin swung in a free kick, Lee flicked on and Hylton's header was straight at Davies.

Woodrow continued his attempts to beat Shea from range, sending a curler into the Luton stopper's gloves, while Town's most likely source of a goal appeared a set-piece, Justin sending one into the box for Hylton to head over.

Shinnie almost broke the deadlock with an opportunity all of his own making, winning the ball back from McGeehan, waltzing past Pinnock and unloading from 25 yards, his attempt flying wide.

The Hatters then came the closest they had done, Lee advancing and his 20 yarder drew an excellent stop at his near post by Davies.

Late on, Alex Mowatt's long ranger had Shea diving to his left as it crashed into the hoardings,ensuring both sides had to make do with a point.

Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, James Justin, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley (C), Alan McCormack, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie (Kazenga LuaLua 90), Elliot Lee (Harry Cornick 88, Luke Berry 89), James Collins, Danny Hylton.

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Jorge Grant, Lloyd Jones, Alan Sheehan.

Tykes: Adam Davies (C), Kenny Dougall (Mike Bahre 64), Ethan Pinnock, Liam Lindsay, Cameron McGeehan, Dimitir Cavare, Brad Potts (Victor Adeboyejo 89), Cauley Woodrow, Mamadou Thiam (Jacob Brown 76), Alex Mowatt, Ben Williams.

Subs not used: Ryan Hedges, George Moncur, Adam Jackson, Jake Greatorex.

Booked: Pinnock 63, Shinnie 79.

Referee: John Brooks.

Attendance: 9,926 (845 Barnsley).