After a run of 12 games without victory Sheffield Wednesday finally got that winning feeling back at Oakwell on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over local rivals Barnsley.
Around 5,000 Owls fans celebrated the club’s first 3-point haul since beating Coventry 2-0 at Hillsborough way back on October 17th. It was Wednesday’s first away win in 9 attempts and the fact it came in a local derby made it that much sweeter.
Both sides profited from defensive errors early on as Tommy Spurr poked home to give the Owls the lead only for Barnsley to reply instantly as Lee Grant failed to deal with a misplaced cross from Emil Hallfredsson as it looped in to the net.
Wednesday’s season has been riddled with costly defensive errors and had Bogdanovic capitalised on an awful back header from Purse with the scores at 1-1 the outcome might have been different. Instead the Owls continued to create chances and regained the lead when Johnson lashed home in style following a flick-on from Tudgay just after the 20-minute mark. Potter cleared a Foster header off the line as half-time approached and Wednesday went in at the break with a lead in an away game for the first time since August.
The second half was a scrappier affair with Barnsley looking to break Wednesday down with direct balls into the box whilst the visitors looked a threat on the break thanks to the lively Johnson.
Despite coming under some pressure the Owls defended resolutely, showing battling qualities and commitment that had been lacking of late. As a result Lee Grant was not called upon to make many saves and with a little more composure Wednesday could have made the win more comfortable on the counter attack.
The referee somehow managed to find 5 extra minutes to give the home side hope but towards the end they were reduced to a number of hysterical handball appeals, much to the amusement of the travelling support.
The win gets Alan Irvine off to a flying start and gives encouragement going forward but the team now needs to find some consistency if they are to move out and away from the relegation zone.
The last high-profile game against Newcastle resulted in a much improved display only for the team to disappoint again in the following match. Irvine must ensure that this doesn’t happen again and carry this momentum forward into what is a vital run of 4 more games in January, starting at Blackpool on Tuesday evening.