IPSWICH Town seem to make a habit of comebacks when facing Barnsley.
Back in March 1996, the Blues were 3-0 down with six minutes to go at Oakwell - only to somehow claw their way back into the match and claim an unlikely 3-3 draw.
At Wembley in 2000, the Tykes took the lead in the play-off final before the Blues ran out 4-2 victors to claim a place in the Premier League and at Oakwell in December 2011, Town came from 2-0 down at half-time to win 5-3 as they staged possibly their most Lazarus-like recovery.
Town’s remarkable tendency to grab something when seemingly dead and buried against Barnsley was in evidence again on Saturday.
Blues fans were resigned to a long and depressing journey home when, deep into three minutes of injury time, Brett Pitman crossed and Tom Lawrence appeared at the back post to tap net-wards from a matter of inches in a departure from his usual approach of lashing home from 25 yards.
Lawrence, who had had a frustrating afternoon up to that point, and the Town support behind the goal went wild in that special manner that only happens following a late, late equaliser or winner.
But in truth the Tykes ought to have had the game sewn up by then.
As manager Mick McCarthy, back at his hometown club where he started his career, admitted afterwards, the Blues had committed burglary.
After a first half in which Barnsley had been the better side, albeit not overwhelmingly, the home team were very much on top in the second.
Having got their lead through Town target Marley Watkins, who looked like he’d be a welcome addition if the Blues renew their interest this summer when he’s available on a free transfer, the Tykes wasted chances to win it, Adam Hammill most notably.
Town had rarely threatened until the final stages when subs Grant Ward, Freddie Sears and ultimately, most tellingly, Pitman started to find the occasional opening but, even so, Lawrence’s goal hadn’t really been coming.
The draw was the Blues’ sixth in a row, just one away from a club record of seven ‘achieved’ in November and December 1990.
Town are in the odd position of having gone eight games unbeaten but having won just one in 12 in all competitions, which has seen them drop to 16th, now only seven points off the relegation zone.
Should fans be concerned about dropping into the third tier for the first time since 1957?
While it would be complacent not to be wary, the Blues would appear to be outsiders for the drop.
There are only nine games left, there are five sides between them and the bottom three and while the current run is far from spectacular, they’re hardly plummeting.
The current average of a point a game and a total of 54 ought to be enough to ensure survival.
That said, there are games to come against those below them - Birmingham, Wigan, Burton, Nottingham Forest and all-but-already-relegated Rotherham - which could prove pivotal.
Another draw and poor performance has done little to enhance McCarthy’s standing with fans.
After the improvement during February, March has seen a return to previous form, even if the Blues have avoided defeats, by the skin of their teeth at Oakwell.
McCarthy said in January he will make a decision on his future in the summer and last week told the media that while he currently has no intention of walking away from the remaining year of his contract he would “hate to be coming in here with 12,000 or 10,000 season tickets or something when we’ve been used to far better if that’s down to me”.
He added: “We’ve got to try and generate is that feelgood factor now before the end of the season.”
As things stand, it seems very likely that season ticket sales will be down with nine games almost certainly not enough time to generate that feelgood factor.
A parting of the ways by mutual consent in the summer remains a likely prospect.
If McCarthy, who celebrates his 25th anniversary as a manager tomorrow, is to get his hoped for upturn then the Blues need to turn draws into wins sooner rather than later, starting at Cardiff on Saturday.
But given the Bluebirds’ recent form - three draws out of the last four - I wouldn’t bet against that club-record-equalling seventh successive stalemate.