Sheffield Wednesday - Wednesday 2-2 Barnsley
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Wednesday 2 - Barnsley 2

Hillsborough, Sheffield

08/08/09 - 3pm

Attendance: 30,644

Wednesday 2-2 Barnsley

Wednesday kicked-off their new Championship campaign with a share of the spoils in an entertaining local derby with Barnsley at a sunny Hillsborough on Saturday.

Brian Laws' men were in control at the break with a 2-0 advantage thanks to goals from Jermaine Johnson and Michael Gray.

But a second half collapse allowed Simon Davey's troops to bag a point from the clash, and although long spells of dominance from the hosts, Wednesday had Lee Grant to thank for a number of top drawer saves.

From the clash, Wednesday fans left with disappointment but with plenty of positives from a superb first half of football.

Defensive issues still need to be looked at by Laws, as Barnsley looked dangerous throughout from set-pieces, with their strength in the air and on the ball often making it difficult for Wednesday at the back.

Laws give a debut to new skipper Darren Purse, but Tommy Miller was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

Francis Jeffers and Marcus Tudgay were the preferred options in attack, while Richard Wood, stripped of the captaincy following the arrival of Purse, partnered the former Cardiff defender in the centre of defence.

The game started at a frantic pace, and Wednesday looked good, although not able to match the superb start to the last campaign which saw them bag two quickfire goals early on against Burnley.

The Owls looked comfortable on the ball in the first half, dominating play, and the first chance fell to James O'Connor, who struck a shot which forced Tykes' stopper Luke Steele to tip the ball over the bar.

But the Oakwell goalkeeper could do little to prevent Johnson giving Wednesday the lead from the resulting corner, powering home Gray's cross on nine minutes.

Former Sunderland man Gray was rolling back the years and looking dangerous throughout, curling a free-kick just wide as Wednesday looked to double their advantage.

Wednesday were playing some brilliant passing football, arguably the best that's been seen at S6 in some time, and nont only were they keeping possession, but they were also looking dangerous with the ball.

Barnsley had some chances of their own at the other end, but when they did break through the defence, the visitors found Lee Grant in top form between the sticks, first putting his body in the way of a Macken effort to keep the Owls' slate clean.

Anderson De Silva also came a whisker away from leveller when he sent a header just wide of goal from a dangerous free-kick.

Barnsley looked dangerous from set-pieces throughout, and Wednesday were giving too many away, and getting away with it, in an action-packed first half.

But it was Wednesday who doubled their lead just seven minutes before the interval when Gray rose high to apply the finishing touch to Tudgay's flick-on.

The Owls got a standing ovation from the 30,000-plus inside Hillsborough, but it was to be the last applause of the afternoon for Brian Laws' men.

Half-Time: Wednesday 2-0 Barnsley

Whatever team talk Laws gave his men at the half-time interval, it was the wrong one.

From the kick-off, Wednesday looked a gear below their pace in the first half and looked happy to sit back on their 2-0 lead.

An early warning sign was there just five minutes after the restart when Grant again did brilliantly to save another Macken effort.

And Wednesday were punished for their sitting back when Jacob Butterfield fired a low effort by Grant from the far post after an inswinging cross went over the Wednesday defence, Butterfield giving Grant no chance with his effort.

The visitors were evidently boosted with their goal, and, has been the case many times before, Wednesday looked nervous as they tried to cling on to their one-goal advantage.

Jeffers was having little luck in his battle against experienced defender Darren Moore at the back, and Laws promptly took the 'fox in the box' off for Etienne Esajas, who moved to the wing and allowed Johnson to move into the attack.

But the changes did little to divert the pressure away from Lee Grant's goal, and there was always a sense that the visitors would break through the Wednesday defence again.

And they did in the 76th minute when Macken was sent through on goal and he made it third time lucky, this time beating Grant with his low effort to level the scores and leave Wednesday fans wondering if they'd leave S6 with anything to show for their efforts.

After the leveller, both sides had some half chances to take all three points, Potter having the best effort with a long-range drive which forced Steele into a good, low, save.

But neither could break through for what would have surely been the winning goal.

Full-Time: Wednesday 2-2 Barnsley

The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 10 2009

Time: 10:10AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
It's early days but Purse showed he should be nothing more than a squad player. How long will it take before we see a return to trusting in Beevers? I'd rather see Wood and Beevers or Hinds and Beevers in the centre. Purse was caught out of position or off the pace to often which pulled Wood out of position and led to defending of Keystone cops standard. Thank God for Grant or we'd have been thumped. Yes our play going forward was a delight but only served to highlight our lack of punch up front. Need a striker but more than this we need to learn how to finish teams off when we have them down. Time to find a ruthless streak Mr Laws.
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10/08/2009 10:47:00

Interesting points robc - I understand Purse wasn't fully match fit for that game so I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt; also - it's early days. Time will tell as to how he cuts it at the back for us. But you're right, Beevers would be welcomed back into the starting XI for me. What about having all three centre backs with two wing backs? Just a thought. I'm really keen to find out which striker Lawsy's been talking to.
Carbone's Padawan
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10/08/2009 11:21:00

New season, New hope, New faces, New kit, New wave of optimism .......Same old stuff. I wouldnt have minded if it was one of the better teams we'd blown a 2 goal lead at home too, but not shoddy barnsley. Thank god we have the best keeper in the league. was very dissapointed simek didnt play,arguably the best right back outside the premier league. I'd put him in and put buxton at left back until spurr signs up. we still really havent learnt how to deal with players contracts have we!
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10/08/2009 11:39:00

If Purse wasn't match fit why did he play?
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10/08/2009 13:18:00

Barnsley never looked in it in first half. Wednesday looked good, but they were really poor. In the second half Wednesday did what the always do when there up, sit back and let them come at us. We should have carried in the same vein as the first and bagged the 3 points. We gave the points away. I thought Purse was good a commanding figure at the back. Spur and Wood were well worked over in second half when especially when Barnsley got one back, all our confidence went. Positives - Gray did really well and good steady perfomances from most of the lads. As Sturrock used to always say, it dont help we get on there backs at what he used to call the grave yard. Come on lads lets get behind em at home, bite yer tongues when there the odd missed pass, we're only helping the othere side. Lets take the positives this new season and build on them. COME ON WEDNESDAAAAAY!
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10/08/2009 13:55:00

in the first half we played some of the best stuff I've seen for a LONG time! Gray, Potter, Tudgay and jeffers were showing some class stuff. just disappeared 2nd half, and didnt defend at all well against that big Barnsley lump up top. That being said, Barnsley's tactics were simple - long balls up top, and win as many free kicks in and around our area as possible! I've never seen a centre forward push and pull defenders as much as their fella did, and still win freekicks! The ref fell for it every time. We needed to defend smarter, and we didnt. Laws and co are right though, we need to build on that first half, and try and forget about the 2nd! UP THE OWLS!!
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10/08/2009 14:22:00

Purse had one full 90 minutes under his belt in pre season. He openly admitted that he'd be relying on adrenalin to get him through the Barnsley game. On a seperate note, I'd like to see Esajas utilised more, personally - I think he's a cracking little player.
Carbone's Padawan
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10/08/2009 14:32:00

I went to hilsborough on sat and i thought the first half was a quality performance however we shall not speak of the second. i would also like to add how disgusted i am with mark beevers and richard o'donnell. at half time when the yorkshire britallian received their awards all they cud do was knock the ball showing no respect for these ppl who have risked their lives. they didn't even clap just carried on playing!!?! who the hell do they think they are???
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10/08/2009 18:25:00

Thought Jeffers had a good game, when he went off, the ball just wouldn't stick up front. I like Etienne as well, needs to be used though, get his confidence up. Purse played well first half but the ref kept giving them free kicks for nothing and they just hoofed it into our box. Just seen the goals online, not sure about Buxton's positioning on either goal.
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10/08/2009 20:39:00


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