O'Grady leaves Hill on a slippery slope
Barnsley 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Fortunes have fallen so low for these neighbours from the south of the white-rose county that they could have replaced the two Yorkshiremen in the classic Monty Python sketch, squabbling about who had it worse – one of them with a state-of-the-art cardboard box home in t' middle o' t' road.
OK, so Barnsley might have gone 10 games without a win but at least they had gleaned four points along the way. Sheffield Wednesday made the short trip up the M1 only dreaming of such luxury, having gone seven games without a point. Such was the barren state of Dave Jones' locker at the start of play. By the final whistle, though, the Wednesday manager was celebrating a bumper three-point return.
A Chris O'Grady goal 10 minutes before half-time settled the south Yorkshire derby in favour of Jones' Owls, who still occupy the second-from-bottom perch in the Championship but are now level on points with Barnsley. "Lady luck was with us," Jones admitted afterwards, acknowledging that the winner was somewhat contentious.
O'Grady pounced to score after Luke Steele, the Barnsley goalkeeper, appeared to have been pushed by Wednesday's Gary Madine as he attempted to intercept a free-kick. "The ramifications of the referee getting that decision wrong could be catastrophic in a lot of ways," the Barnsley manager Keith Hill lamented, pointing the finger of blame firmly at referee Stuart Attwell.
Whether the ramifications include Hill getting the sack at Christmas remains to be seen – a tricky trip to Millwall is up next. At least he has a Lazarus at his disposal, although the teenager was deemed surplus to requirements last night.
Reuben Noble-Lazarus made way in attack for Marcus Tudgay, a former Wednesday favourite currently on loan at Barnsley from Nottingham Forest. In deference to the fans who used to laud him, the 29-year-old promised not to celebrate if he scored. Not that there was much danger of that.
Tudgay saw precious little of the ball as Barnsley scuffled largely on the back foot in the first half. Wednesday showed the greater cohesion before the break and might have nicked an early lead had Steele not blocked a low drive from O'Grady at his near post.
It came as no great surprise when push came to shove and the Owls finally swooped in the 35th minute. Barnsley got on top after the interval but could not find a way past Chris Kirkland. All of which left their manager feeling as sick as a Monty Python parrot.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Steele; Stones, Foster, Cranie, Golbourne; Dawson, Buzsaky (Perkins 47), Greening (Harewood, 67), Cywaka (O'Brien, 61); Tudgay, Davies.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Kirkland; Buxton, Liera, Gardner, Helan; Johnson (Mayor, 57), Lines (Sidibe, 89), Prutton, Antonio; O'Grady, Madine (McCabe, 67).
Referee Stuart Attwell.
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