Attendance: 32, 277
A scrappy encounter at Pride Park saw both sides claim a point after a goalless draw that left Derby six points clear of the drop zone going into the international break. Barnsley had the upper hand for the majority of the first half but Bywater saved well from Mifsud to deny the visitor`s the lead and the game became even more disjointed after that with chances at a premium. John Eustace had Derby`s best efforts until a late charge saw Sterjovski head over when well placed after coming off the bench and Jon Macken should have won it for The Tykes when a high ball found him eight yards out but Bywater again saved to deny the former Derby man. It was a game Derby would have looked to have won before kick-off and one Barnsley could have won after 90 minutes so neither side will have been overly thrilled with only claiming a point.
Nigel Clough went with the same starting line-up as at Bramall Lane last weekend so Barry Bannan had to settle for a place on the bench and there were returns for Stephen Pearson and Roy Carroll on the bench. Barnsley had a number of familiar faces in their line-up with Darren Moore, Rob Kozluk and Jon Macken all lining up against their former clubs as was Lewin Nyatanga who was given a warm reception but the visiting fans. Gary Teale had a run inside the first minute that lead to a Derby corner but there was no danger from the set piece. The Rams` winger was involved again in a lively opening when he cut from the left on eight minutes and let fly with his right foot but the ball was deflected away for a corner that was again cleared without threat.
Both sides found themselves in some promising positions without creating any clear cut chances as the final pass let them down although Anderson de Silva did chip one just over with a quarter of an hour showing on the clock. Steve Davies curled one wide of the post and Barnsley broke away and should have taken the lead on twenty minutes. Michael Mifsud escaped the home defence but took too long to get his effort in allowing Stephen Bywater to save and the ball eventually broke to Jon Macken but his indecision allowed Paul Connolly back in to snuff out the danger.
The game was becoming increasingly scrappy with neither side able to show that touch of quality to break through although the visitors were enjoying the bulk of possession without threatening Bywater`. The Derby keeper did have to be alert to gather an Andranik free kick just after the half hour mark but the efforts on goal were sparse and corners at either end came to nothing as the game petered out to halftime with the sides going in goalless.
Barry Bannan was introduced at halftime in place of Nacer Barazite with Steve Davies reverting to the right of midfield and he was involved almost immediately when his cross picked out John Eustace but his header was straight at Muller in the Barnsley goal. Mifsud had another effort saved by Bywater at the other end with Connolly again able to clear and the visitors made a change bringing on Mounir el Haimour for Rob Kozluk.
The second didn`t bring any improvement in the quality on display as neither side looked like scoring. The next effort on goal came from a mistake at the back as a Connolly cross was headed inside the box by Darren Moore and the ball struck Eustace before looping goal wards but just past the post with Muller watching. Eustace then forced the keeper into a low save after being teed up by Teale and another effort from the on-loan midfielder was deflected past the post as Derby looked to assert themselves on the game. Teale had a 20-yarder that produced a comfortable save for Muller and Barnsley then struck the post at the other end. Substitute el Haimour crossed from the left and his looping ball went over Bywater before hitting the inside of the post and bouncing away as Macken looked set to pounce.
Stephen Pearson was brought on for Robbie Savage with just over a quarter of an hour to go and Bywater made the save of the match to deny Macken when a high ball from Colace found Macken eight yards out but the keeper made himself big and blocked the effort when it looked destined to be the opening goal. Mile Sterjovski replaced Steve Davies with nine to go and he had a headed opportunity when Gary Teale`s deep cross found him at the far post but the ball was slightly behind him and he couldn`t get his effort on target. The Rams were dominating possession in the closing stages but couldn`t create any chances and the point left both sides pretty much where they started at kick-off.