Late strike can turn Reds’ season around, says Hourihane

Conor Hourihane celebrates his equaliser
Conor Hourihane celebrates his equaliser
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Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane is hopeful Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby draw with arch-rivals Sheffield United will be a welcome ‘turning point’ in the club’s poor season.

Ironically a battling 1-1 home draw with the Blades at the weekend saw the Reds sink to the bottom of League One.

But Irishman Hourihane, who has now netted in his last three games, remains confident that the reds will turn things around after some promising performances in recent weeks, albeit the results have been sorely lacking.

“Maybe this is a big turning point for us?” said Hourihane, who netted a last-ditch equaliser to secure a point for the hosts.

“A couple of weeks ago that equaliser might not have gone it, but it did and that really could be a turning point for us.

“We’ve got some tough games in December, so it’s a big chance for us to push on.

“This football club shouldn’t be where it is at the minute, but the reality is that we are.

“So we have to fight and push on and see where we can get.”

The Reds trailed 1-0 after Chris Basham had headed the Blades’ first-half opener.

Hourihane, 24, then missed a penalty but redeemed himself with a long-range beauty in the 95th minute to make it six goals for the season so far.

“I always like to add goals to my game,” added the former Sunderland trainee.

“I scored quite a few last year, scored a couple before I got injured and have come back stronger after my injury.

“I’ve worked hard on the training pitch – and luckily it’s paid off. Luckily they’re going on from me.

“It was an emotional day to say the least, it was a real rollercoaster of a ride.

“Obviously I missed the penalty which was disappointing but I had to try and put that to the back of my mind.

“But it does play on your mind but luckily the ball fell nicely for me. It was pure relief.

“It was my one chance to redeem myself and God was looking down on me for it to go in.

“If we’d lost it would have been tough to take.”

The Reds created a number of excellent chances and hit the woodwork twice, but the Blades also had their fair share of opportunities and Hourihane admitted that the home side rode their luck on occasions.

“We had a lot of chances and hit the bar a couple of times, but they also had a lot of chances and could have been 2-0 or 3-0 up at one stage,” he said.

“But all-in-all in, even though it was a bit of an up and down day, it was a good point against a very good team.

“With the players United have, and the squad they’ve got, they should be right up there in the table. So it’s a good point.

“It’s not like we’ve been getting beaten 3-0 or 4-0, we’ve only been losing by the one goal or coming close and not having that bit of luck.”