Striker scores for Owls on re­turn

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

AN­GUS Mac­DON­ALD’S last­gasp header res­cued a de­served point for Barns­ley af­ter pan­tomime vil­lain Sam Win­nall re­turned to haunt his for­mer side.

Win­nall, 26, scored 41 goals in 98 games for the Tykes be­fore join­ing the Owls for a knock­down £500,000 in Jan­uary.

The striker – who had re­jected a new con­tract – was bar­racked mer­ci­lessly but re­sponded ruth­lessly when home keeper Adam Davies tried to shep­herd a harm­less long ball out of play with dis­as­trous con­se­quences.

Robbed by Adam Reach, Davies could only watch in an­guish as Win­nall swept into an empty net and cel­e­brated by glee­fully gal­lop­ing the length of the pitch.

Yet just as it seemed Win­nall would have the last laugh, Mac­Don­ald con­nected with Adam Ham­mill’s free-kick to send Oak­well into rap­tures.

Adam Arm­strong then saw a strike cleared off the line and Matty James blasted over as the Tykes very nearly got the re­ward their dom­i­nance mer­ited.

“I’d have been up­set if we didn’t get some­thing out of it but it would not have been harsh on them if we’d fin­ished the job,” said Barns­ley boss Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom.

“We were the bet­ter side. We had more chances. Ev­ery­thing that

could go wrong for us did go wrong but, other than the goal, they only had one shot on tar­get. We showed a lot of qual­ity in test­ing cir­cum­stances.”

Heck­ing­bot­tom also ab­solved Davies, who was mak­ing his 100th Tykes ap­pear­ance, of blame for the opener.

“Adam knows what he should have done,” he added. “But I never have a go at any­body for mis­takes.

“I ask play­ers to do things that will stretch them, make them bet­ter. It’s only nat­u­ral they’ll make er­rors along the way.

“I was more an­gry that we didn’t drop crosses right on their keeper, which is what we’d worked on all week. That’s what I ham­mer peo­ple for, not in­di­vid­ual er­rors.”

Dec­i­mated by the sales of key play­ers in Jan­uary, Heck­ing­bot­tom’s side have now won just one of their last 11 matches.

This, though, was a dis­play that sug­gested re­cov­ery isn’t far away. In­spired by the ef­fer­ves­cent Ham­mill and un­der­pinned by the graft of Josh Scowen, the Tykes con­trolled both tempo and pos­ses­sion.

Owls boss Car­los Car­val­hal ar­gued – with a de­gree of jus­ti­fi­ca­tion – that the home side lacked gen­uine chances, but a sharper striker than Tom Bradshaw would have made merry with the crosses that rained into the Wed­nes­day box.

Ham­mill had a limp header saved, Mac­Don­ald an­other cleared by Jor­dan Rhodes. Barns­ley’s at­ti­tude was summed up by full-back Andy Yiadom, who played for half-an-hour with a dis­lo­cated shoul­der.

So they must have been sick to see Win­nall – bizarrely hit by a Peppa Pig launched from the home end in the first half – wheel­ing away in cel­e­bra­tion fol­low­ing Davies’s blun­der.

“I didn’t re­alise un­til I heard the noise from our fans that it was him,” said Heck­ing­bot­tom. “Some don’t cel­e­brate, some do. Sam can do what he wants.”

In fair­ness to Wed­nes­day, their back four dug deep, with West­wood sav­ing su­perbly at the feet of sub­sti­tute Arm­strong. Tom Lees – de­scribed by Car­val­hal this week as Wed­nes­day’s own Ger­ard Pique – also lived up to his billing.

But their re­sis­tance fi­nally crum­bled when Ham­mill’s deep de­liv­ery was met by Mac­Don­ald’s down­ward header. The away side were then in­debted to sub David Jones, who cleared Arm­strong’s goal-bound ef­fort off the line with West­wood beaten.

“The play­ers gave their max­i­mum and we tried to win,” said Car­val­hal. “But we lost con­cen­tra­tion in one cru­cial mo­ment in ex­tra time. The pos­i­tive – OK, it is a small pos­i­tive – is that we de­pend on us. Even though we lost points, we still de­pend only on us to make that sixth place.”

TAKE HIM ON: Barns­ley’s Ryan Kent tries to out­wit Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s Jack Hunt

PIC­TURES: Of­fTheBenchMe­dia

EQUALISER: Barns­ley’s An­gus Mac­Don­ald heads his team level late on and, in­set, cel­e­brates

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