Big Match Verdict: Barnsley have most to shout about as troubles mount for Sheffield Wednesday

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THE dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

This obscure Portuguese proverb has been memorably uttered in the past by Jose Mourinho and Rangers’ former manager Pedro Caixinha – and one of their fellow countrymen, Carlos Carvalhal, will have appreciated the sentiment on Saturday afternoon.

Goal: Barmnsley's equalising goal from Harvey Barnes.
Picture: Steve Ellis

Goal: Barmnsley's equalising goal from Harvey Barnes. Picture: Steve Ellis

The adage implies that while people may make a fuss, it will not change the situation, and while the boos were clearly audible from some frustrated Wednesdayites, head coach Carvalhal was very much staying on message and is carrying on regardless.

It was the sort of mixed, vexatious day that Hillsborough patrons have witnessed frequently in the past 15 months and even though Carvalhal’s counterpart, Paul Heckingbottom, was left to pick the bones out of a Reds’ performance that was similarly intermittent, the sense of greater satisfaction was his.

Barnsley’s winless streak against their rivals from just down the A61 extended into a ninth match, but given some grim episodes in S6 in recent times, this provided a spot of karma.

The visitors in the Leppings Lane end have not had too much to shout about in the past, but an exquisite leveller from loanee Harvey Barnes set the pulses racing midway through the second half.

His frenzied celebration saw him race three-quarters of the length of the pitch before milking the adulation from the visiting hordes and will be fondly recalled by Reds supporters in years to come.

A player who is far from run of the mill, Barnes followed up his stellar strikes against Sunderland and QPR with another goal of audacious beauty.

After cutting inside Kieran Lee, his sweet curler glided past Keiren Westwood for his third goal of the season as his penchant for the spectacular was again showcased to cancel out Adam Reach’s fortuitous opener.

This fixture had been marred by controversy and five dismissals in the previous three meetings, but much of the post-match conjecture this time surrounded the goals, which lurched from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Wednesday’s 34th-minute opener may have been deserved, but owed much to a fortunate ricochet that left Adam Davies helpless, with Reach’s low, left-foot strike deflecting off his right leg before looping over the helpless Reds goalkeeper.

Barnes’s effort was far more aesthetically pleasing and his exuberant celebrations evoked memories of another famous derby moment for a visiting player when Rotherham United midfielder Darren Garner netted against the Owls in August, 2002.

Barnes’s previous two goals for the Reds were both special, but his latest effort clearly takes pride of place.

Barnes said: “Emotions are high after you score and I just thought I would head over to the fans and celebrate with them. It was a special moment, definitely.

“The player I am, if it opens up from range, I back myself to test the ’keeper and I will always take the shot on. I would say it is the most special goal yet, considering the occasion. It was definitely the best goal of my career. Hopefully, I will get a few tap-ins as well.”

After being handed something akin to a vote of confidence from owner Dejphon Chansiri, who publicly declared his “100 per cent” backing in the week, the sight of Wednesday striving to make things happen in an assertive opening half where the urgency and tempo could not be faulted will have been a welcome one for Carvalhal.

It yielded one goal and should have produced more with a mixture of solid goalkeeping, stout defending, luck and hesitant finishing effectively keeping Barnsley in the game. Former Owls goalkeeper Davies made two important blocks to deny Tom Lees, dominant in the air in both areas, and a post came to the rescue when Lee’s sweet strike from distance just failed to find its target.

The goal, when it came, had a huge element of fortune, but few could deny the merit of the Owls’ reward.

Trailing 1-0 at the break was a minor victory for the Reds, whose one dangerous moment came when Westwood turned away Cameron McGeehan’s free-kick.

Wednesday’s frustrations grew after the break with impressive full-back Jack Hunt going close before sterling last-ditch defending from Angus MacDonald and Andy Yiadom – making his first start since August – denied Wednesday.

Barnes then clipped the woodwork following a virtuoso effort before cutting inside Lee and curling home the equaliser.

The ascendancy swung to the Reds, who possessed the energy and more conviction in the final quarter.

The only thing missing was a winner, although a point will have felt like a minor victory for the Reds, with the Owls’ dissatisfaction at failing to claim three precious points continuing. It has been that sort of season.

Wednesday will assess Daniel Pudil, who came off with a muscular problem, while midfielder Sam Hutchinson is to undergo knee surgery.