Barnsley 0-0 Sunderland
Sunderland and Barnsley were forced to settle for a share of the spoils following a goalless draw at Oakwell on Tuesday evening.
The Reds went closest in the opening period when Mamadou Thiam struck the woodwork, but the Black Cats stepped things up a gear following the restart and Max Power stabbed just wide.
Lee Cattermole also went close before Cauley Woodrow saw a header ruled out for offside, and unlike Saturday’s trip to Adams Park, there was to be no late drama.
Jack Ross made four changes for the game, as Tom Flanagan, Reece James and George Honeyman missed out, and Lewis Morgan dropped to the bench.
Jack Baldwin came into the heart of defence while Adam Matthews featured at left-back, with Power and Lynden Gooch also coming into the side.
Both sides started brightly as an electric atmosphere provided a fitting backdrop to the action, but the Tykes threatened first as Baldwin made a vital challenge to deny Woodrow.
Thiam was the dangerman during the opening exchanges and he forced the first save of the game soon after, taking down the ball with aplomb before stinging the palms of Jon McLaughlin.
Sunderland responded with a spell of pressure at the other end, but Barnsley defended well to clear multiple crosses from Grant Leadbitter before Adam Davies’ fingertips denied Power.
The conditions reigned supreme in the stages that following as the howling wind made life difficult for both sides, but Barnsley came close on 38 minutes when Thiam cut inside and struck the underside of the crossbar.
Dimitri Cavare also forced a save before the break, as it ended all-square after 45 minutes.
With the wind in their sails, the Lads enjoyed more time in the final third following the restart, and they could have opened the scoring after the hour mark, as Power poked wide after being released by Baldwin.
Cattermole went close soon after, turning the ball wide after being picked out by Gooch, as home nerves looked like may start to jangle.
Those nerves were momentarily calmed on 69 minutes when Woodrow headed into the back of the net, but an offside flag turned cheers to jeers as the striker’s finish was ruled out.
A close call in more ways than one, the game continued to balance on a knife edge as Jimmy Dunne volleyed just wide.
But there was nothing to separate them at the final whistle.
Barnsley: Davies, Dougall, Pinnock, Lindsay, Woodrow, Cavare, Green (J Williams 70), Bahre (Adeboyejo 81), Pinillos, Thiam, Mowatt.
Subs not used: Walton, Hedges, Jackson, Styles, J Williams, B Williams.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Baldwin, Dunne, O’Nien, Matthews, Leadbitter, Cattermole, Power (Sterling 90), Gooch (Morgan 75), McGeady, Grigg.
Substitutes: Ruiter, Ozturk, McGeouch, Wyke, Hume.