Football: Ward rewards Barnsley

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The Independent Online
Ashley Ward, the Barnsley striker who has spent the past weeks fighting a strain of viral meningitis, returned to the Tykes side and scored the only goal of the game at Anfield to beat a Liverpool side frustrated by their own wretched finishing and some fighting defending by the Yorkshiremen.

The Barnsley manager Danny Wilson had taken his entire squad to watch Liverpool dispose of Grimsby Town in the Coca-Cola Cup on Tuesday night and they clearly learned much from the experience.

There was some encouragement for the visitors before the kick-off with the knowledge that Liverpool had Robbie Fowler and Paul Ince suspended and the visitors' captain, Neil Redfearn, got in strong tackles early on to upset the Reds' rhythm. Even so, Karlheinz Reidle should have scored after 22 minutes when a Patrik Berger dummy left him through on goal, but the German international shot over the angle.

Steve McManaman, man-marked by Adrian Moses, switched wings but Moses diligently tracked him as the Kop began to make apparent its displeasure at Liverpool's lack of progress. Then, Barnsley scored.

Andy Liddell broke free on the right and stumbled past the Liverpool goalkeeper, David James, who had come rushing off his line. If Liddell had fallen, Barnsley might have got a penalty and James might have been dismissed. But Liddell stayed on his feet and laid the ball back, to leave Ward with a simple flick over the line.

Barnsley, beaten in six consecutive away games, hung on in the face of a furious second-half onslaught by Liverpool whose finishing remained woeful to the bitter end.

A glance at the scorer of Newcastle United's goals in their 2-1 defeat of Southampton at St James' Park will not soothe the tempers of disappointed Anfield fans. Two second-half strikes by John Barnes, thought surplus to Liverpool's requirements this season, gave Newcastle the points.

To celebrate his 300th and final game as chairman of Newcastle, Sir John Hall shared a pint with the regulars in the Strawberry pub near the ground. One hopes he stayed for a second sup because the Magpies conceded a goal in the first five minutes.

The Southampton defender Klaus Lundekvam's pass sent away the young striker Kevin Davies who ran past two defenders before beating Shaka Hislop from 12 yards for his ninth goal of the season.

Newcastle had four good chances in the first half but failed to convert any of them as Ken Monkou marshalled the Saints' defence. Until Barnes took over.

Further south, Leicester City were without their young star Emile Heskey, who was starting a three-match ban, and so for the visit of Bolton Wanderers moved their leading scorer, Ian Marshall, from centre-back, where he had been covering for Steve Walsh, to striker. Much good it did. A poor match with few chances created and no goals scored saw Wanderers log their seventh draw in 13 Premiership starts.

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