Sheffield Wednesday stage dramatic fightback but their incredible unbeaten run is ended by Barnsley

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It’s taken five and a half months, but Sheffield Wednesday were beaten 4-2 on Tuesday night – despite staging a dramatic fightback against Barnsley.

To say things started badly would be an understatement. Wednesday didn’t look comfortable from the off. The last game between these two was won because of a high press and constant pressure – Michael Duff’s side forced them into mistakes last time, and it happened again.

With wayward passes and loose touches, Wednesday just couldn’t get a grip on the game. A mix-up saw the ball bobble through to Mad Andersen in acres of space, he slipped in Devante Cole, and after Cameron Dawson looked in two minds about whether to come for it or not, the forward slotted it through his legs and into the back of the net.

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And it quickly went from bad to worse as the visitors’ sloppy play right from the kick off saw Aden Flint and Will Vaulks the ball fall to James Norwood – it sat nicely for him to drive it low past Dawson to make it 2-0. There were only 12 minutes on the clock, and Wednesday were in trouble.

They did find their feet a little as the half went on, but still the hosts looked comfortable – not giving Wednesday an ounce of space in either half. It took a set piece for Wednesday to go closest, but Dominic Iorfa headed over Barry Bannan’s excellent cross from close range.

But then there was a moment of magic from Wednesday, who picked Barnsley apart with three touches – the first over the top from Vaulks, the second into the box by Michael Smith, and then the third as Lee Gregory stuck it past Harry Isted. We had a game on our hands.

Wednesday certainly weren’t beaten, and finished the first half strongly – a flurry of efforts were blocked by a resolute Reds backline, but it was their man in green, Harry Isted, with the biggest as a strong right hand stopped Smith from levelling up.

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Moore’s side continued their push in the second half – they had the possession, but didn’t really cause too many problems. Fisayo Dele-Bashiru was introduced for Dennis Adeniran to try and change that.

Sheffield Wednesday's 23-game unbeaten run was ended by Barnsley on Tuesday night. (Tim Goode/PA Wire)Sheffield Wednesday's 23-game unbeaten run was ended by Barnsley on Tuesday night. (Tim Goode/PA Wire)
Sheffield Wednesday's 23-game unbeaten run was ended by Barnsley on Tuesday night. (Tim Goode/PA Wire)

Almost immediately there was an increase in tempo, and Wednesday turned the screw.

You’d think teams would learn not to give Bannan too much space, but with 74 minutes gone Barnsley did just that – clipping a ball into a dangerous position, finding Johnson, with the wingback firing a tremendous first time ball into the box.

Gregory, buoyed from his first, was right where he needed to be. Wednesday were level, and the away end erupted. All 4,500 of them.

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Sadly though, their joy didn’t last long. Less than 10 minutes later Barnsley led again, Wednesday failing to clear their lines and Max Watters strike deflecting off Flint and past Dawson. Liam Kitching finished the job in the 96th minute to put it to bed on the break.

Wednesday’s fightback was admirable, and on another night they could’ve had all three points. But this wasn’t that night. Beaten for the first time since October, and knocked off top spot. But, as Moore will no doubt remind them, this title push remains very much in their own hands.