Reds in full har­mony as dis­cord spreads through Sun­der­land

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - AT OAKWELL Email: leon.wob­ Twit­ter: @LeonWobYP Leon Wob­schall

SI­MON GRAYSON had a ticket to see Kasabian on Satur­day evening – although he would have been bet­ter off watch­ing Dire Straits, in truth.

Ear­lier, all the melodic tunes had ar­rived from a Barns­ley side who pro­vided a wel­come rewind to their med­ley of de­lec­ta­ble mo­ments from the first half of last sea­son. It was like lis­ten­ing to one of your favourite sound­tracks.

Al­most 12 months to the day, the Reds had rav­aged a vis­it­ing Rother­ham United side, whose size­able con­tin­gent made their feel­ings known in no un­cer­tain terms at the fi­nal whis­tle – just as Sun­der­land’s trav­el­ling army did on Satur­day tea-time.

The ones that were still there among the 4,249 away sup­port, at any rate. The fact that the Wear­side vis­i­tors jeered their own side’s ef­forts and filled the air with chants of ‘ You’re not fit to wear the shirt’ be­fore sport­ingly clap­ping the hosts off the pitch told you every­thing about the merit on show from Barns­ley.

Summer may have been de­cid­edly chilly for Reds fans, but its last few rays will have felt warm.

On the last oc­ca­sion that the Black Cats vis­ited Oakwell, all the talk was of the ‘Sun­der­land Three’ in ref­er­ence to the fact that play­ers An­thony Stokes, Mar­ton Fu­lop and To­bias Hy­sen missed the team bus to South York­shire and were dis­ci­plined.

Af­ter their lat­est ap­point­ment, it was all about another three. A pun­ish­ing three-goal de­feat, with Barns­ley be­ing full value for their vi­brant vic­tory, which even her­alded a few oles and chants of: ‘It’s just like watch­ing Brazil’ in the sec­ond half.

At the heart of it all was winger Adam Ham­mill, who had a ball on a fun af­ter­noon when many of his co­horts in red were not far too be­hind.

On an af­ter­noon of en­light­en­ment, pos­i­tives stacked up like Bank Hol­i­day traf­fic. Back-to­back wins at home for the first time since De­cem­ber and a first Oakwell clean sheet since Fe­bru­ary 4 be­ing two ob­vi­ous ones.

But per­haps the main one was the fact that Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom made some bold, im­por­tant calls which were spec­tac­u­larly re­warded when they could have eas­ily back­fired.

The Reds chief handed a first home league start to Ike Ugbo in place of Tom Bradshaw, while Har­vey Barnes was brought in for his full de­but ahead of Ryan Hedges – and both moves were vin­di­cated in em­phatic fash­ion.

Chelsea loa­nee Ugbo al­lied pace and a preda­tory threat with a prodi­gious work-rate, while Barnes pro­vided glimpses of qual­ity which showed just why he is so highly re­garded by par­ent club Le­ices­ter City.

Barnes’s won­der­fully-struck vol­ley to make it 2-0 will live long in the mem­ory, while Ge­orge Mon­cur’s strike to seal the points mid­way through the sec­ond half car­ried the im­print of class.

It was Ugbo’s close-range ef­fort that got the Reds go­ing just af­ter the half-hour and the hosts sim- ply did not look back from that junc­ture.

On his first goal for the Reds to crown a ma­ture dis­play, the teenager, 19 next month, said: “It was great to get a win against a big team like Sun­der­land.

“Ob­vi­ously, I am proud to get my first goal and also proud to get three points.

“Now that I have got my first one, it will now give me con­fi­dence go­ing into the next games. It is good to get the first goal out of the way.

“I am still adapt­ing and it is a big jump com­ing from (un­der) 23s foot­ball. It is more in­tense and you don’t get much time.

“But I think I am de­vel­op­ing well as a player and Paul (Heck­ing­bot­tom) is help­ing me as well, in train­ing, to find my feet and form.

“I found out on Fri­day that I was go­ing to start. He said: ‘Just take the op­por­tu­nity, there’s no pres­sure – just en­joy it’.”

The back­drop to Satur­day was of two clubs with own­er­ship is­sues seek­ing to pi­lot a steady path through the Cham­pi­onship.

On the early ev­i­dence, it was Sun­der­land, un­der an ex­pe­ri­enced sec­ond-tier op­er­a­tor in Grayson, who looked the more as­sured. But it proved il­lu­sion­ary.

Af­ter Brad Potts wasted a good headed op­por­tu­nity and Mon­cur’s drive drew a de­cent save from Rob­bin Ruiter, the Reds struck, with Ham­mill to the fore.

He drove deep into Sun­der­land ter­ri­tory and slot­ted in Barnes on the left and his cen­tre was turned in at the far post by Ugbo.

Ham­mill then sup­plied a teas­ing cross which was dis­patched in stunning fash­ion by Barnes, who showed out­stand­ing tech­nique to fire home a su­per hooked vol­ley.

A brief scare at the other end saw James Vaughan go down un­der pres­sure from debu­tant Liam Lind­say as he bore down on goal, but Chris Ka­vanagh bran­dished a yel­low card and not a red, with the vis­i­tors then wast­ing a free­kick right on the edge of the area.

It was that sort of day for Sun­der­land with the game over as a con­test, with Barns­ley see­ing out the sec­ond half well with an adult dis­play which drew right­ful ac­claim from Heck­ing­bot­tom.

There was still time for the Reds to crown a splen­did af­ter­noon when Mon­cur curled home a cracker af­ter en­ter­pris­ing work from Ugbo. Roll on the au­tumn.


UP­LIFT­ING WIN: Barns­ley’s Brad Potts takes aim in the 3-0 Cham­pi­onship vic­tory against Sun­der­land at Oakwell. Inset, teenager and Chelsea loa­nee Ike Ugbo nets his first goal for the Reds to crown a ma­ture dis­play for Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom’s side.

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