Barnsley 1 Sheffield United 0: Colace cause for double celebration

ARGENTINIAN Hugo Colace was left to celebrate with jelly and cake after hitting the goal trail again at Oakwell.

"It's just like last year and I'm so happy," he beamed as he dashed away from the ground for a special celebration with his hero status restored after a quiet start to the current campaign.

For Colace had scored his first goal in British football last season in December after making daughter Felicitas mascot against Scunthorpe United and he struck for her again on her second birthday on Saturday, lifting his top to reveal a t-shirt with the message 'Feliz Cumpie Hija' after hitting the derby winner in front of the Kop.

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Former Argentina Under-20s captain Colace went on to score another seven goals last season and take the player-of-the-year award at Oakwell and is hoping lightning strikes twice.

The former Newells Old Boys midfield player said: "I'm very proud of today's goal but the three points is the more important.

"This was a very good win, very important. We played very well and the confidence grows every time you win.

"The manager told me to get more into the box like I did last season and I did and it paid off. It was a very big game for the fans but more importantly for the players to get into the top ten."

Colace's match-winner came in the 37th minute, racing in unmarked to convert Jim O'Brien's driven cross from the right after Kieran Trippier had quickly taken a throw which the Blades were still disputing as the ball went in the net.

It was enough to secure the Tykes' first win over Sheffield United in nine attempts, their first since a 2-0 home victory in 1999, and extended their unbeaten record to five Championship matches, lifting them to ninth.

It was a result which left Barnsley with hopes of having a crack at the play-offs and left the Blades firmly locked in a relegation battle.

A delighted Robins said: "It's been a long time coming. It's 11 years since we last beat them and I agree that we were good value for it.

"They set their stall out to make it difficult for us. Gary Speed's pre-match comments were it would be a war of attrition and they set they their stall out for it to be a game like that.

"For us, it gave us a little bit of a route to try and pass the ball and we got out pretty well. To switch the play like we did and pass like we did in a local derby when you're under that kind of pressure I thought was testament to us.

"The only thing that let us down, I thought, was not adding to the first goal.

"It was good to see Hugo breaking into the area, which was something he used to do last season and what we've been missing this campaign. He's done that today and made up for the times this season where he hasn't actually ventured that far up the field."

More good news for Barnsley is that Scotland striker Garry O'Connor will be joining them on a short-term contract until the end of the season in January. His second loan spell ended after Saturday's game and he must now take an enforced break until his contract with Birmingham City runs out at the end of the year.

Robins added: "We signed Gary O'Connor for the rest of the season and that is testament to the ambition of the board and myself and everybody connected with this club. We need to try and kick on. We need to get the coffers filled a bit more. We are trying to entice people in but we know how difficult times are."

Of O'Connor, he added: "He has shown already that he is one of the best centre-forwards in this division. He's well capable of handling it and has some real quality. He has a few weeks break from match action now and so we will just get him right for the start of January now. It's a great help to us to bring someone like him in and he's repaying us with his performances. I'm just pleased to have him on board.

"But for us, for the supporters, who sung their hearts out today, it's another derby win for us and we're delighted.

"The part the supporters play cannot be under-estimated. I think it's a vital thing at home."

A sign of the harsh economic times, however, can be gauged by the fact that although it was the top gate of the season, it was still under 13,000 with the Blades mustering a support of 2,003.

The visitors had little to cheer about and by the 75th minute were reduced to singing: "One shot, we've only had one shot."

That was down to the fact that injuries and suspensions had left them with only one striker in Ched Evans but he was well-shackled by Jason Shackell and Stephen Foster and the only threat to Barnsley came from left-winger Mark Yeates, who went close with a first-time volley which landed on the bar.

He was starved of possession after the break but almost rescued a point in stoppage time with a shot which the largely redundant Luke Steele did well to beat away at the far post.

At the other end, O'Connor produced a great display of solo front-running but the Blades defence deserved credit for not cracking again after Colace's strike even after losing Richard Wright (thigh).


Hero: Garry O'Connor

The Scotland international striker certainly earned his Christmas off with a tremendous display of powerful solo front-running against quality centre-backs in Kyle Bartley and Nyron Nosworthy.

Villain: Richard Wright

A derby encounter should surely have had someone more villainous than a Blades goalkeeper who upset home fans with delaying tactics before withdrawing injured.

Key moment

37th minute: Hugo Colace hits his first goal of the season – a fine move from Barnsley's viewpoint, sloppy defending from the Blades' perspective.

Ref Watch

Michael Jones: The Cheshire official had a shaky spell around the hour mark but otherwise kept everything under control.


After taking 10 points from 12, Barnsley must wish they had a Yorkshire derby every week – the Blades look set for a long, hard struggle.

Quote of the day

It's very important to bring in revenue to assist Patrick Cryne (owner) and what he already does as he is our sole benefactor. Along with the supporters, he is the lifeblood of the club.

– Barnsley's Mark Robins on the need to get fans through the gate.

Next game

Saturday, Championship, Millwall v Barnsley, Sheffield United v Swansea City.

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