Fine start for Irvine inspired by Spurr

Barnsley 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2
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The Independent Football

Alan Irvine was quick to bring his triumphant Sheffield Wednesday players back down to earth after helping to ease their relegation worries by guiding them to a first victory in three months, launching his reign in memorable style.

After ending an 11-game winless run with their first three-point haul on the road since August, the Scot was keen to ensure there was no danger of complacency creeping into the stiff task of securing Championship status.

"It's a great start, but that's all it is," Irvine insisted after the visitors came out on top in a breathless derby that saw the contest's three goals arrive inside the first quarter. He added: "If we think we've made it after that win, then that's where the problems will start.

"We've set the benchmark now and it's up to us not to dip below it." Irvine was out of work for just 10 days after being sacked by Preston, and on this evidence, it's not hard to see why the 51-year-old has found his way back on to the managerial merry-go-round so quickly.

He added: "The players have responded well to the ideas I've tried to get across in a short space of time but I'm aware it's still very much the honeymoon period."

The South Yorkshire rivals traded early goals thanks to goalkeeping errors. Luke Steele punched Michael Gray's corner to Tommy Spurr, who poked home his first goal in almost a year, before Lee Grant watched a centre by Emil Hallfredsson sail over his head and straight into the top corner. The hosts had penalty claims turned down when Darren Purse tangled with Hallfredsson, and Darren Potter headed off the line from Stephen Foster.

Wednesday were always a danger on the break, and shortly after James O'Connor struck the woodwork, Jermaine Johnson pounced on a flick by Marcus Tudgay to hit the winner from a dozen yards. "We beat ourselves," Mark Robins, the Barnsley manager, ad- mitted after a third consecutive defeat.