MARLON Harewood did the business for Barnsley - and indirectly relegation threatened Sheffield United -as his second-half brace brought a first win in seven games. It had been an uninspiring first half from Mark Robins’ men, but loan striker Harewood rectified that after the break with two well-taken efforts.
Michael Collins’ stoppage-time effort was a mere consolation for the Iron. Robins made one change following Saturday’s tie at Derby. And with goals in short supply it was perhaps surprising that striker Garry O’Connor was dropped to the bench. Wide-man Jim O’Brien stepped up and Harewood receiving the nod to lead the Barnsley line on his own.
This being an expensive ‘category A’ game meant there were plenty of empty seats inside Oakwell, but at least the hosts bossed proceedings in the opening quarter-of-an-hour. Nathan Doyle saw an early piledriver blocked, then Danny Haynes glanced in a header which Josh Lillis saved. Jason Shackell headed over, then the Reds skipper was required at the other end as he lunged towards his own goal-line to clear Ben Gordon’s whipped-in cross.
The visitors were clawing their way into the game though, and in the 25th minute Luke Steele had to beat away Collins’ angled drive.
There was a major scare for the Reds inside the opening minute of the second period. Collins floated in a looping free-kick from well outside the Reds’
box and as the ball seemed to gather pace Steele had to back-track to tip the effort over the crossbar. The Reds were pressing, but Scunthorpe’s defence was not looking like a side’s whose last six away games had all ended in defeat.
The deadlock was broken just past the hour mark, with recent capture Harewood opening his Reds account. Doyle crashed in a super shot which Lillis parried onto the post, leaving Harewood with the simple task of tapping home the rebound. What a relief then – although Scunthorpe almost hit back straight away.
Gordon somehow barged his way past Trippier, only for his goal-bound shot to be hacked off the line by Shackell.
Robins’ men had been clearly lifted by their goal and their victory was wrapped up by new hero Harewood with seven minutes to go.
Latching onto Doyle’s through-ball, the experienced striker shook off Gordon’s attentions before expertly lifting a shot over Lillis and into the gaping goal.
Barnsley [4-2-3-1]: Steele 7; McEveley 7, Shackell 7, McShane 8, Trippier 7; Doyle 5, Arismendi 5; Haynes 6 (Gray 82, 6), Mellis 7 (Butterfield 83, 6), O’Brien 6 (Devaney 69, 6); Harewood 6. Subs not used: Preece, Lovre, O’Connor, Taylor.
Bookings: Doyle (39), McShane (68)
Scunthorpe [4-4-2]: Lillis 6; Gordon 7, Raynes 7, Nelson 6, Wright A 6; Collins 7, Wright J 5 (Ibrahim 78, 5), Togwell 5 (Duffy 62, 6), Hughes 7; Miller 6 (Dagnall 78, 6), Garner 6. Subs not used: Slocombe, Mirfin, Grant, Nolan.
Bookings: Lillis (69)
Referee: Kevin Wright [Cambridgeshire]