Wednesday 0-1 Barnsley
17/02/09 - 7.45pm
Wednesday fell to their second South Yorkshire derby defeat in the space of four days as Jemal Campbell-Ryce's goal gave struggling Barnsley a slender 1-0 victory at Hillsborough on Tuesday night.
Brian Laws and his men can't use the 'after the Lord Mayor's show' excuse for a second time after what should have been the kick up the backside required with the defeat at Doncaster at the weekend.
Except the opening ten or fifteen minutes, most Owls fans had forgot about the Steel City derby victory over United as Wednesday turned in arguably the worst 45 minutes of their season to date on home soil.
If excuses needed to found, they could be found with the re-introduction of Richard Hinds at right-back following a lengthy late-off through injury, a move prompted by the injury to centre-back Mark Beevers, and a move which ultimately cost the hosts.
Lewis Buxton moved to centre-back alongside Richard Wood, leaving Hinds on the right, and subject to a nightmare night against jet-heeled Campbell-Ryce.
Simon Davey's men also had the added bonus of not having a game for two weeks prior to the clash, while Wednesday fought out two local derby matches, picking up injuries along the way.
But Wednesday were just plain poor, for the first half in particular, against a team they should be beating comfortably on home soil.
The visitors could smell an upset coming into the match given their lengthy preparation and the fact that three new signings were included in the squad, the tricky Michael Mifsud being one.
As with the clash at Doncaster, Wednesday opened in lively mood with Darren Potter seeing a free-kick blocked by the Barnsley wall, while Campbell-Ryce showed his early quality with an effort at the other end.
Wednesday failed to win the battle in the middle of the park at the Keepmoat Stadium at the weekend and for Owls' fans it was a case of more of the same against the Tykes.
Barnsley looked more hungry for the ball all over the park, and when the hosts did manage to get their foot on the ball, little came of it.
Dangerman Johnson had clearly been highlighted as a threat by the visitors, and the Barnsley defence gave the Jamaican winger little room to operate on the wing.
And it was Barnsley's very own tricky winger in Campbell-Ryce who raced away on the left, leaving Hinds in his shadow before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner to give Owls' stopper Lee Grant no chance.
Wednesday continued to struggled until the half-time whistle, where they were greeted by a chorus of booing in what must have been the most frustrating 45 minutes Wednesdayites had seen at S6 this term.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-1 Barnsley
For the hosts, the second half could only get better, and it did, marginally.
Many will have expected changes at the break, but Laws stuck with the same eleven on the resumption, no doubt eager for them to put right their wrongs from the first half.
And to an extent they did, with the Owls camped in the Barnsley half for long periods and the visitors looking unable to cause the problems to the Wednesday defence that they had in the first half.
But while the frustrations of actually getting hold of the ball and stringing some passes together were there in the first half, frustrations of a different nature were evident on the pitch and in the majority of the near-26,000 inside Hillsborough.
The final ball for Wednesday just wasn't there, and the long ball forward was never going to work with the height and power of the experienced Darren Moore, and the Barnsley team in general.
Yet Wednesday still continued to play that way, only trying to play football the right way on a few occasions - a few occasions that almost paid off.
Johnson was finding more space on the left and it was his powerful drive and shot which forced Barnsley stopper Muller into his first notable save of the match after the half hour mark, with Wednesday starting to make in-roads into the Barnsley defence.
Francis Jeffers was introduced in place of Michael Gray, with Marcus Tudgay moving out wide.
But the Jeffers-Clarke partnership clearly wasn't working and the visiting defence were looking almost comfortable with what was being thrown at them.
Barnsley's lack of sportsmanship was hardly helping the Owls cause, but you cant blame them in the situation they're in this season.
Johnson was then taken off to be replaced by Wade Small, and although the former MK Dons man has done little this season, his wonder goal at Charlton aside, he looked the most likely Owls player to cause the visitors any kind of threat, firing two long-range efforts just over the bar.
The best chance for Wednesday was saved for last when Tudgay dinked his effort over the on-rushing Muller, but it lacked the power to cross the line and Bobby Hassell cleared the danger.
Full-Time: Wednesday 0-1 Barnsley
Owls: Grant, Hinds, Wood, Buxton, Spurr, Johnson (Small 71), O'Connor, Potter, Gray (Jeffers 62), Clarke (Boden 80), Tudgay. Unused subs: O'Donnell, McAllister.
Barnsley: Muller, Van Homoet, Foster, Hassell, Moore, Colace, De Silva, Campbell-Ryce, Teymourian (Hammill 80), Mifsud, Bogdanovic (Macken 69). Unused subs: Steele, Devaney, Souza.