Striker scores two as in-form Tykes are beaten
Sheffield Wednesday’s faint hopes of Championship survival were given some life on Saturday afternoon as the Owls won 2-1 away to near neighbours Barnsley.
The two teams came into the game with contrasting form, Wednesday without a win in eight while Barnsley had climbed into the Championship top six with a string of fine results.
The hosts started on the front foot, testing Owls keeper Wildsmith with early balls into the box. Wildsmith came in as a late replacement for Westwood who got injured in the warm up and he looked nervy early on. The Tykes should have took the lead in the first ten minutes when a ball to the back post found Solbauer inside the six yard box but he failed to hit the target with the goal at his mercy. At the other end the Owls passed up an equally presentable chance when Rhodes beat the onrushing Barnsley keeper Collins to a ball from Borner but missed the target at the near post from twenty yards out.
With seven minutes remaining in the first half and Wednesday growing into the game, they took the lead with a well-worked goal. Bannan latched onto a flick from Windass and crossed on the bounce from near the corner flag, Rhodes lost his marker and beat Collins with a powerful header.
Barnsley reacted to falling behind by making three changes at half-time but it was Wednesday who came out of the blocks better and managed to double their lead. Windass broke into the penalty area and squared across goal for Rhodes to tap in from close range.
The Owls continued to frustrate their hosts and Windass had a chance to seal the points but fired wide and the Tykes gave themselves a lifeline in the game with twelve minutes to go. Halme found Morris in space in the penalty area and he produced a smart volley on the turn to beat Wildsmith via a big deflection and halve the arrears.
Tykes midfielder Mowatt clipped a late free-kick over the bar as the Owls held on for a vital three points that sees them move within six points of 21st placed Birmingham with a game in hand. However, Rotherham United also won and they remain three points above the Owls and have three games in hand.
The Championship now takes an international break until Easter weekend and with only nine games remaining it will still take a remarkable turnaround for Wednesday to survive but this result does at least give them some hope and brings to an end a dismal winless run.