Luton Town conceded an equaliser in the final stages of a game with fellow strugglers Barnsley, as they missed a chance to put pressure on teams above.
Luke Berry’s first half goal had given Luton the advantage, and after neither side added to that, they approached the final stages on the verge of a big win in the fight for survival.
But with six minutes to go, Aapo Halme bundled in an equaliser for the side from south Yorkshire, ensuring the points were shared in this meeting of the teams that began the game bottom and second bottom.
Its a result that does neither side many favours in their attempts to remain in the second tier. With Hull and Middlesbrough to play their games tomorrow, Luton are 4 points from safety having blown the chance to leapfrog the Tykes in the table.
The Hatters had arrived at Kenilworth Road looking for an improvement after a miserable 5-0 mauling by Reading last weekend.
Both sides flew out of the box, with Barnsley duo Conor Chaplin and Jacob Brown forcing Luton keeper Simon Sluga into saves in quick succession, before Danny Hylton saw a strike saved at the other end.
It was Luton who would strike first after 13 minutes. Former Barnsley midfielder Berry would grab the goal, as he turned in the rebound after an initial Elliott Lee strike hit the post. The goal was Berry’s first of the season.
Barnsley thought they should’ve had a penalty when Alex Mowatt was fouled by Sluga, but it was ruled outside the box and the Tykes wasted the set-piece.
The visitors would come closer as the half progressed, with Chaplin slicing an effort over the bar before Sluga made a fine save to deny Cauley Woodrow and then the Croatian managed to tip an effort by Woodrow onto the bar.
While the first half was lively and eventful, the second proved to be less open, as neither side was able to pick a way through the opposing backline and grab the game’s second goal.
This was until the final 10 minutes, as Barnsley began to apply pressure. They came close when Sluga clawed away Elliot Simoes’ header, but from the consequent corner, Halme got the final touch at the end of a scramble to bundle in a Barnsley leveller.
From there, both sides threw caution to the wind to try and find a winner. Barnsley were first to have a crack, with Brown seeing a strike deflected wide.
Luton had the best chance for a late winner as Berry played in sub Harry Cornick, who was one-on-one with the Barnsley goalkeeper Jack Walton only to be denied by the away keeper.
It was ultimately honours even, which does neither side any favours. Fans of Hatters and Tykes alike will now turn their attention to tomorrow’s games, where Hull visit managerless Bristol City and Middlesbrough travel to play-off hopefuls Millwall.
For their schedule, the first of Luton’s last four games sees them visit Huddersfield Town on Friday (10/07), followed by meetings with QPR, Hull and a final day clash with Blackburn Rovers.