It continues to be a mixed season for the South Yorkshire clubs. This weekend was no different, as the teams that have struggled so far this season came away with good results, and those who have started life in a higher division were brought back down to earth with a bump.
Barnsley climbed off the bottom of the championship with an impressive victory over Middlesbrough. The Tykes went into half time three goals up, courtesy of a mazy run into the box from McCourt on the 29th minute and then a three minute double from O’Grady. The first O’Grady goal on 41 minutes was extremely lucky, striking the forward from an O’Brien shot and going in. The second was from the penalty spot when Norwegian striker Pedersen was felled in the box. The ex-Owls and Millers striker placed his penalty in the bottom right, out of the ‘keepers reach.
The reds, in desperate need of points made their fans sweat as they conceded two goals in two minutes. Boro’s Adomah was lucky to find the ball land at his feet in the box and struck home, and then moments later, he doubled his and Middlesbrough’s tally with a free header. He had a chance of a hat trick but his right footed shot went wide. The referee blew for the end of the game and Barnsley were off the foot of the table with a much needed win, leapfrogging South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
Speaking of the Owls, it was the same old story. A strong and impressive performance against Bolton, but ultimately still looking for their first win of the season. And the longer this run goes on, the more and more it is going to prey on the minds of the Wednesday team.
The Owls went behind against the run of play. The Owls had a couple of good chances before Jermaine Beckford was free on the right and drove a left foot shot past Kirkland from outside the area. The Owls who still appear to lack firepower were given a helping hand by an own goal from Bolton’s Baptiste, who headed into his own net, looping over the stranded Bogdan.
Wanderers fans, like Sheffield Wednesday fans have been, were getting increasingly frustrated by their own teams inability to string three passes together at home, and the Owls were well in control. Helan and Antonio had chances early in the second half to go ahead. Reda Johnson had an effort, and then Jermaine Johnson, a substitute, had a perfectly good goal disallowed. Dave Jones will be furious – the luck just will not go for the Owls. Bolton had two chances at the death which Chris Kirkland did well to keep out and save the point for the Owls’ trip back across the pennines.
Doncaster Rovers visited Reading as they looked to build on their impressive defeat of Leicester City from two weeks ago. Rovers have a bit of a hoodoo at the Madjeski stadium which they wanted to put behind them, but the signs were not good when Danny Guthrie powered the Royals in front with a powerful effort on the edge of the D which thundered into the net on 13 minutes. Rovers were pinned in their own half until the 31st minute when a Duffy freekick was fired at Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici. Federici failed to hold on and the rebound fell to Theo Robinson who made no mistake from five yards.
Ex-Miller Adam Le Fondre restored the advantage seven minutes later, running onto a through ball and slotting past Ross Rurnbull.
Doncaster Rovers were forced to finish the match with ten men as skipper Rob Jones worryingly had to go off on seventy minutes with an injury, and Rovers had used up all their substitutes. The Doncaster Rovers defence was tired and conceded two in the final ten. The first was a free drive across Turnbulls goal by McCleary, and the second of which was a Pogrebnyak goal on the stroke of fulltime. Rovers won’t be too worried – the win was probably deserved for Reading, but not by that score.
Dropping down into League One, and Sheffield United built on their impressive second half at Coventry last weekend with a win at Bramall Lane against ex-Blade Micky Adam’s Port Vale. It was a different Blades team, that looked passionate and physical, and the Managerless team went ahead in the twelfth minute when Collins headed in, off the post, from a McGinn corner. United controlled the first half but conceded an equaliser in stoppage time of the first half when Yates crossed from the byline and the ball somehow went in. The goal deflated the team and the fans at half time, and caretaker boss had to get his team to do it all again in the second half.
Port Vale were in the ascendency after half time, as the Blades took a while to get back into it. But the introduction of returning striker Shaun Miller from a long term knee injury reinvigorated the team and fans. On 76 minutes, United’s captain hit a 20 yard shot that went in and gave United the win they needed so desperately and lift the Blades up from the bottom of the table to 20th.
Finally, Rotherham United slipped to their second successive defeat, away at MK Dons this time. The Millers, recovering from the 4-0 home thrashing recalled Michael O’Connor to the side after he missed a month with a groin injury. The central midfielder was central to the plot here, as he picked up a booking early on and then prevented a goal scoring opportunity in injury time in the first half, giving away a penalty which was converted and reducing Rotherham to ten men. After half time, the arrears increased after a mistake from Scott Shearer who couldn’t hold onto a cross and gave away a tap in to Reeves.
This Miller’s side do not know when they are beaten though, and in typical Steve Evans fighting spirit, scored two goals in two minutes. First was Frecklington with a trademark late run and header. The second was an own goal. Shearer who has a big kick, kicked out of his hand, and under pressure the defender Flanagan for MK Dons headed over his own ‘keeper.
Rotherham hearts were broken five minutes from the end though as MK Dons Bamford struck from twenty yards out a curling effort which Scott Shearer could do nothing about, but the Millers should not be disheartened by a battling away defeat to an established League One side.