Barnsley 1-1 Northampton Town: Tykes edge into the play-offs

Herbie Kane of Barnsley during the Emirates FA Cup First Round match between Barnsley and Horsham at Oakwell Stadium on November 03, 2023 in Barnsley, England.
Herbie Kane scored the opening goal for Barnsley [Getty Images]

Barnsley limped into the League One play-offs after being denied a first home win since February by Louis Appere's late equaliser for Northampton.

Defeats for Blackpool and Lincoln, who could have denied the Tykes a top-six place, ensured that they will face Bolton in the semi-finals.

Herbie Kane struck in the first half at a nervy Oakwell to put the team, under the charge of interim manager Martin Devaney following Neill Collins' sacking on Monday, in charge until deep into added time.

There was a smattering of boos at the full-time whistle after Appere's goal, which ensured Barnsley finished sixth after a sixth consecutive winless home game.

Devaney had promised a front-foot approach after being named as temporary successor to Collins, who paid the price for a run of four defeats in five games, but both sides were toothless for long periods.

Northampton had little at stake after finishing their first season following promotion from League Two in a comfortable mid-table position, and that seemed to favour Barnsley.

After news that both Blackpool and Oxford had scored early goals ratcheted up tension among the home fans, Kane settled the nerves with an 18th minute goal.

He struck the ball sweetly between Lee Burge and his near post after being teed up on the edge of the penalty area by Adam Phillips.

Barnsley went into their shell as results elsewhere started to go their way, but were given a stark reminder of the tenuous nature of their grip on a play-off place as Mitch Pinnock fired just over the bar and Marc Leonard forced a good save from Liam Roberts.

Between those two Northampton efforts, Barnsley spurned a golden chance to seal a win as the high press gave Kane a shooting opportunity but he unselfishly squared for John McAtee, with the delay giving Jon Guthrie chance to get back and block on the line.

Shaun McWilliams went close for the visitors as the game moved into added time, but deep into the extra period, Guthrie flicked on Leonard's free kick and Appere swept the ball home for the equaliser.