Match ends, Luton Town 1, Barnsley 1.
Luton Town 1-1 Barnsley: Aapo Halme rescues point for Tykes in bottom two scrap
Barnsley battled back to rescue a point against fellow strugglers Luton Town to help keep their hopes of Championship survival alive.
The Hatters took the lead early on when Elliott Lee hit the post and Luke Berry fired in his first goal of the season on the rebound.
The visitors scored a late equaliser when substitute Aapo Halme poked home inside the box as Luton struggled to clear the ball away.
Both sides almost pulled off a dramatic win late on when Patrick Schmidt's flick-on flew across the face of the Luton goal while Jack Walton saved Harry Cornick's shot in a one-on-one at the other end moments later.
The result means Luton remain bottom of the table and are four points from safety while Barnsley are within three points of survival themselves with the same amount of games remaining.
In an entertaining and end-to-end first half, both sides exchanged chances as they desperately tried to get off the mark quickly following heavy defeats at the weekend.
Barnsley pushed for an equaliser after Berry's opener and they protested for a penalty when Alex Mowatt was tripped by Hatters keeper Simon Sluga however referee Dean Whitestone awarded a free-kick on the verge of the area.
The visitors pelted the Luton goal with a number of chances before the break, with Conor Chaplin volleying wide from Marcel Ritzmaier's delivery while Cauley Woodrow hit the post and forced a last ditch save from a looping header.
Both sides could have wrapped up victory late on through Schmidt and Cornick, but the latter should have sent Luton home when he was played clean through in space but Walton came to Barnsley's rescue.
A draw that will feel like a defeat for Luton
Coming into the game off the back of a 5-0 hammering by Reading on Saturday, Berry's 13th-minute strike gave Luton a much-needed foothold in the game as Barnsley controlled much of the first half.
Having finished last season as League One champions with the Tykes joining them in winning automatic promotion, Luton have struggled with life in the second tier.
Before kick-off, their total of 78 goals conceded was more than any other side in the Championship, and they did well not to add to that tally in the opening period as the visitors created a number of decent chances.
Following their defeat by Reading, Hatters manager Nathan Jones said the performance was "out of character" and he will have been encouraged by the attitude of his side as they defended their a slim lead for much of the game.
Had they held on, it could have been the catalyst Jones' side needed to survive but, with three of their final four games against sides in the bottom half of the table, they will still fancy their chances despite their four-point deficit.
Barnsley not throwing in the towel
That two former Barnsley players in Lee and Berry combined for Luton's goal was symbolic of the lack of fortune the Tykes had during a trip to Kenilworth Road as Gerhard Struber's side's woeful away form continued.
Only Luton, with 14 points, have won fewer than their 16 away from home in the Championship this term, and their poor finishing let them down on this occasion.
Barnsley - beaten 4-0 by Stoke on Saturday - registered 20 shots on goal and could only have been relieved that Halme's scrappy goal ensured their trip south at least brought some reward.
With fixtures against Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Brentford still remaining, Barnsley's chances of staying up look slim and this was a game in which they desperately needed all three points.
Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"We deserved victory today. We had so many chances in the first half, three or four top chances but we didn't use them.
"It's painful but it's not frustrating. We delivered today a big fight. That was our goal today.
"In the end one point in our situation is not helpful and we need more. But we look forward and we'll fight until the last game."
- 12SlugaBooked at 16mins
- 3PottsBooked at 42mins
- 2CranieBooked at 90mins
- 8BerryBooked at 64mins
- 10LeeSubstituted forShinnieat 45'minutes
- 9HyltonSubstituted forCornickat 71'minutes
- 18SollbauerBooked at 54mins
- 6AndersenBooked at 63mins
- 2WilliamsSubstituted forStylesat 80'minutes
- 10BähreSubstituted forSimoes Inacioat 59'minutes
- 9WoodrowSubstituted forSchmidtat 83'minutes
- 11ChaplinSubstituted forHalmeat 82'minutes
- 28Simoes Inacio
- Dean Whitestone
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Luton Town 1, Barnsley 1.
Foul by Alex Mowatt (Barnsley).
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. James Bree (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Luke Berry.
Foul by Marcel Ritzmaier (Barnsley).
Luke Berry (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Martin Cranie (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andrew Shinnie (Luton Town).
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Offside, Barnsley. Marcel Ritzmaier tries a through ball, but Aapo Halme is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.
Elliot Simoes (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Luke Berry (Luton Town).
Foul by Aapo Halme (Barnsley).
Luke Berry (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Harry Cornick (Luton Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luke Berry with a through ball.
Attempt saved. James Collins (Luton Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Dan Potts.
Attempt missed. Patrick Schmidt (Barnsley) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Marcel Ritzmaier with a cross following a corner.