O’Grady grabs lifeline for Reds

Barnsley's Chris O'Grady celebrates his opening goal for the Reds
Barnsley's Chris O'Grady celebrates his opening goal for the Reds
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Super Barnsley tore Championship drop rivals Yeovil to shreds during what was a devastating second-half performance at Huish Park.

Both sides cancelled one another out during a drab first period, but once Chris O’Grady had ended his recent goal drought eight minutes after the restart, the rampant Reds cut loose.

After nine games without a goal O’Grady went on to score twice - his 12th and 13th goals of the season - while Liam Lawrence and Dale Jennings wrapped up what was Barnsley’s first back-to-back winning sequence in a whole year.

Six points in four days have certainly given Reds fans the belief that their side can now repeat last season’s ‘Great Escape’ and secured an eighth campaign at second tier level.

No wonder recently-appointed assistant boss Chris Hutchings wore a broad smile as he emerged to carry out post-match media duties.

He said: “If you’re going to be successful you need a goalscorer, and Chris O’Grady was just that.

“Having said that, we had 11 heroes out there and we need to take that forward.

“All we can do is keep taking care of our own results and keep going into games with the same positive attitude. We’re definitely up for this battle.”

There were few eyebrows raised when the teamsheets were handed in and neither Danny Wilson nor opposite number Gary Johnson had made any changes to their starting line-ups.

The Reds had impressed hugely in the 3-1 win at Reading in midweek, and similarly the Glovers had only been denied a stunning victory at Premier League-bound Leicester by a last-minute equaliser.

The first half was a nervous, edgy affair, however.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between as both sides appeared frightened to neglect their defending duties.

It was a totally different story after the break.

It was against the run of play when the Reds broke the deadlock.

O’Grady pounced on a weak attempted back header by Byron Webster, nipping in to nick the ball away before beating ‘keeper Marek Stech with a smart chip.

Nine minutes later it was 2-0, with O’ Grady this time the provider. The former Owl teed up Lawrence, who drilled home his first Barnsley goal via a slight deflection off loan defender Shane Duffy.

Surely that was enough for the Reds, but nails were being bitten again with 20 minutes to go after Glovers’ skipper Luke Ayling lashed in his second goal of the season to reduce the arrears.

But the Reds showed yet more terrific character to restore their two-goal advantage in the 75th minute.

This time O’Grady struck again, beating Stech easily after latching onto Jennings’ measured through-ball.

The coup-de-gras was added by winger Jennings three minutes later, as he left Joe Edwards for dead before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.