Barnsley 2 Charlton Athletic 2: O’Grady welcomes pressure in bid to lift Reds

BARNSLEY manager David Flitcroft will continue to search for new strikers ahead of the transfer window closure in a fortnight but Chris O’Grady says he would welcome and expect extra pressure on his place up front.

Stephen Dawson, left, celebrates team mate Chris O'Grady, after he scored the first goal of the match.

O’Grady got off the mark with a double in a game which Barnsley should have won and the target man, who made his move from Sheffield Wednesday permanent in the summer, admits it was a relief.

“There were a lot of positives to be taken out of the game as we were dominant for over the first hour really,” said O’Grady.

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“When they scored it just put that bit of doubt in our minds and they got the equaliser which left us disappointed.

“We were desperate to get a win and we panicked a little bit after their first goal.”

O’Grady struck in the 16th minute, forcing the ball home at the far post after strike partner Chris Dagnall had seen his shot blocked out to Scott Golbourne, whose low cross was helped on past goalkeeper Ben Hamer and Michael Morrison by the forward.

O’Grady continued: “I was very relieved to get myself and my team off the mark but my second goal showed us back to our best – it was like we were playing last season and we hope to continue that into our next game.”

That second came 10 minutes after the break when Dagnall sent Jacob Mellis down the left to produce a cross which O’Grady met with a powerful header.

After having drawn blanks against Wigan and Blackpool in their opening two Championship games, O’Grady added: “I’m pleased that I showed what I can do and that goes for the team as well.

“There is bound to be speculation about other players coming in when you aren’t doing so well but you have to rise above that and do your job.

“Today, I’ve got my first goals, we’ve got our first point and so we have something to build on.

“It has been a bit of a strain when you have not quite got the momentum because we are desperate to show what we can do and we did that today.”

O’Grady, who could have had a hat-trick when he went for placement rather than power but lacked accuracy, just hopes Dagnall can break his duck soon, having seen his partner denied by a last-ditch challenge in the 25th minute and then by Hamer after Mellis, playing just behind the front two, had struck the post 
before squaring the ball back across.

“I was happy with the way it went today and determined to get off the mark to show that hard work does pay off and Chris will be just the same, aiming to get off the mark and push on.”

Manager Flitcroft’s decision to employ three central defenders and wing-backs in Golbourne and Jim O’Brien laid the platform for Barnsley’s dominance, which continued even when David Perkins had to be replaced after suffering a dead leg. Kelvin Etuhu came on and fitted seamlessly into his role as Charlton struggled to compete.

To his credit, Charlton chief Chris Powell, whose side won 6-0 at Oakwell four months ago, rang the changes at half-time, bringing on debutant Jordan Cousins into midfield, moving Simon Church to partner Yann Kermorgant up front and switching Callum 
Harriott out left as experienced defender Leon Cort replaced Dorian Dervite, who had been booked.

Their first goal, however, was fortuitous, Luke Steele punching out a 64th-minute cross only to see Cousins strike the ball into the ground and watch it bounce 
over Scott Wiseman on the line.

Charlton were level eight minutes later when Kermorgant hooked the ball forward and former Reading striker Church raced through the middle from halfway.

He knocked the ball past Steele and saw it cross the line as Tom Kennedy, who had failed to track him, vainly attempted to get back and clear.

One lapse of concentration had cost Barnsley dear but Flitcroft preferred to concentrate on the positives.

“We just switched off for a second and that’s all it takes in the Championship,” said Flitcroft of Charlton’s equaliser.

“On the positive side there were a lot of chances created, a lot of positive play, and we completely dictated and dominated the pace and tempo of the play – it was a demonstration of everything we have tried to build for the last six months. At 2-0, I have never felt as comfy and really enjoyed dominating a good Charlton team.

“But that lapse in concentration for the first goal just created an energy for them which they responded to.”

Flitcroft, who has winger Paddy McCourt on trial after his release by Celtic, will take another look at midfielder Gary Dicker, released by Brighton, in a friendly match against Leeds at Oakwell today.

Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman, M’voto, Kennedy; O’Brien, Dawson, Perkins (Etuhu 32), Golbourne; Mellis (Digby 67); Dagnall (Scotland 76), O’Grady. Unused substitutes: Alnwick, McNulty, Cywka, Cofie.

Charlton Athletic: Hamer, Solly, Dervite (Cort 46), Morrison, Wiggins; Church, Gower, Wilson, Stephens (Cousins 46); Kermorgant, Harriott (Evina 77). Unused substitutes: Pope, Green, Sordell, Piggott.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancs).