Johnson gives Irvine's Owls their wings

Barnsley 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2: Striker dreaming of play-offs after new manager starts reign with win on the road. By Jason Mellor

Thankfully for Sheffield Wednesday, Jermaine Johnson's mastery of a football is rather more impressive than his grip on mathematics. How else do you explain, other than perhaps taking positive thinking to new levels of absurdity, the Jamaican's assertion that the play-offs remain a realistic goal for a side sitting third from bottom?

The small matter of 16 points separate the Yorkshire club from the Championship's top six, but it is the single point which would now take them out of the bottom three that appears more pressing in the wake of ending their three-month wait for a victory at the 13th attempt.

Johnson's confidently dispatched sixth goal of the season settled a frenetic derby and ushered in Alan Irvine's era as manager with a victory.

The 53-point survival target set his side by the Scot seems a daunting enough prospect given Wednesday managed just four victories in the first half of the campaign, but Johnson is nothing but an optimist: "It might seem strange considering where we are in the table,'' he said after being converted from the wing to attack with great effect. "But I've still not given up on the top six. There's a belief we can get out of the relegation zone and get up there to fight for the play-offs."

Johnson is rather less off-beam in his bafflement at Preston's recent decision to dispense with Irvine's services, but is content that their loss is Wednesday's gain. "To be honest I never really thought they'd let him go, but it's great for us," he added.

After a first away win since August, complacency would not seem be the most obvious danger, but Irvine was keen to dampen the euphoria, citing a post-match complaint of writers' cramp as enough reason for his new charges not to get too carried away.

Play-off-chasing Johnson may take a little more convincing, but Irvine insisted: "There are plenty of things we need to do better. I'm a scribbler on the side and I had a lot scribbled down at the end. I quite often run out of paper so there's plenty to work on. It's a great start but that's all it is."

The visitors are following the example of their near neighbours, who are, relatively speaking, thriving after replacing Simon Davey with Mark Robins earlier this season, although the Oakwell feel-good factor was dampened by a third consecutive defeat.

Emil Hallfredsson's speculative cross ended up in the top corner to cancel out Tommy Spurr's opener for the visitors, and although Stephen Foster saw a header cleared off the line, Robins concedes that individual errors are costing his side dear. "We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot," the manager admitted.

Barnsley (4-4-2) Steele; Shotton, Foster, Moore, Dickinson; Hammill, Doyle, Colace, Hallfredsson (Campbell-Ryce 65); Macken (Gray, 65), Bogdanovic (Hume, 65). Substitutes not used: Preece, Kozluk, Butterfield, De Silva.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2) Grant; Buxton, Purse, Beevers, Spurr; Soares, Potter, O'Connor, Gray; Tudgay, Johnson (Sodje, 87). Substitutes not used: McAllister, Esajas, Lekaj, Simek, Boden, Jameson.

Referee: A Penn (West Midlands).

Booked: Barnsley Shotton; Sheffield Wednesday Potter, O'Connor.

Man of the match: Johnson.

Attendance : 17,844.

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral