Hourihane goes from villain to Tykes’ hero
LEE Johnson hailed Conor Hourihane after the midfielder earned a valuable injury-time point for Barnsley.
Hourihane was in the bad books with a penalty miss when the Reds were 1-0 down.
Chris Basham headed the Blades in front but Barnsley’s Irish midfielder pounced with a thunderous long-range volley to secure a happy ending for him and his side.
“It was a fantastic finish from Conor,” said Johnson. “It was a great strike and you can see it meant a lot to him with the celebration.
“He was hurting from missing the penalty, but when he needed to step up he did.We thoroughly deserved it because we’ve hit the bar, hit the post, missed a penalty and even at the end we could have had a tap-in.
“We’re getting stronger and we know we’ve got quality in the side.The players could have gone under and they didn’t.
“It was difficult for us to break them down at times and it was a typical, scrappy derby.”
The Blades started with a real sense of purpose and the tireless Matt Done fired in an early warning when his effort was deflected behind.
The warning was not heeded by the hosts and Basham duly opened the scoring on 17 minutes, heading home Bob Harris’ precise corner.
The goal settled the game down considerably with the rest of the half played at a fairly pedestrian pace compared to the opening 20 minutes.
Basham had the first opportunity after the restart but slid a shot just wide of the goal after Jamal Campbell-Ryce laid him off.
However, just before the hour mark Adam Hammill won a penalty for Barnsley when Neill Collins felled him inside the area.
But Hourihane failed to take advantage when his tame effort to the bottomleft was pushed away brilliantly by George Long.
Sam Winnall and Lewin Nyatanga both saw headers come back off the woodwork towards the end before Hourihane atoned for his penalty miss with a rasping volley.
Blades boss Nigel Adkins was upset his side couldn’t see out the win.
“We’ve obviously conceded a goal at the very end,” said Adkins.
“I was looking for us to respond and I think we’ve done that.
“There was plenty of passion from the Sheffield United players out there.
“We scored a good goal but I thought we could have scored several. I thought their keeper was outstanding.
“But saying that, George Long has made a very good penalty save.
“It was an excellent save and it’s just a shame we haven’t got the points that we came looking for.”
STAR MAN MATT DONE Sheffield