Football: Remedy found in Ward

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The Independent Online
DANNY WILSON, the Barnsley manager, bought Jan Age Fjortoft from Sheffield United in the week to give his attack a much-needed edge in the relegation battle but it was Ashley Ward who scored the goal which beat Crystal Palace and added three precious points to the Oakwell side's total.

Norwegian striker Fjortoft woke up the game with a 30-yard shot on the turn and Barnsley eventually took the lead in the 26th minute when their captain, Neil Redfearn, hit a fine through-ball for Ward to outpace Andy Linighan and shoot firmly past Kevin Miller.

Wilson had reckoned that "the amount of chances we have had and not taken them is a crying shame. It puts so much pressure on the defence to keep clean sheets." Barnsley managed it yesterday and although they remain bottom, they're only two points behind Palace.

In the Yorkshire derby, Leeds United were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road. With their first choice goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn, suspended, Leeds had Mark Beeney in goal for only the second time in 20 months and he had to be alert in the fourth minute when parrying a shot on the turn by Jon Newsome, the Owls' former Leeds centre-back, from inside the six yard box.

Thereafter, Kevin Pressman in the Wednesday goal was by far the busier of the two keepers in the first half as Leeds kept the Owls penned in their own half. But Ron Atkinson's side, who squeezed through their FA Cup third round replay against Watford on penalties in midweek, took the lead when Newsome was given another chance six minutes into the second half and this time he made no mistake. Beeney could only parry Andy Booth's shot and Newsome was on the spot to whip in the loose ball.

Twelve minutes later, a Mark Pembridge own goal gave Leeds hope but with seven minutes remaining Ian Nolan crossed and Booth slid the ball in at the far post to win the game.

Wimbledon failed to go to the dogs in midweek - plans to turn the Wimbledon greyhound stadium into a dual purpose football ground and racetrack were deemed unfeasible by chairman Sam Hammam - but they were back in the doghouse yesterday after a dull goalless home draw with Derby.

The Dons manager, Joe Kinnear, gave a first start to Carl Leaburn, relegating Carl Cort to the substitutes bench, but neither the former Charlton striker nor Deon Burton, the Jamaican international in for Derby's injured striker, Dean Sturridge, could do much to enliven a poor first half and only marginally brighter second period.

In the Nationwide First Division, the top two were involved in matches against East Anglian sides. The leaders, Nottingham Forest, lost 1-0 at Norwich City, Iwan Roberts converting Darren Eadie's second-half centre, while Middlesbrough, who had Gianluca Festa sent off for serious foul play after 17 minutes, drew 1-1 with Ipswich Town at the Riverside Stadium. Nigel Pearson gave Boro the lead but David Johnson, who had been tripped by Festa when the Italian was sent off, equalised with 13 minutes remaining. Third-placed Charlton Athletic won 2-1 at Oxford, with late goals from Clive Mendonca and John Robinson.