HONOURS were even in today’s South Yorkshire derby as Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday failed to reacquaint themselves with the win column after harsh winters.
It was a scoreline that many fans of both clubs may have expected ahead of kick-off, with the point likely to have been more well received to the visitors than the hosts at the final whistle.
The main substantive for the hosts - with caretaker boss Paul Harsley in temporary charge - was a fine full debut from Oliver McBurnie, who scored a wonderful equaliser in the 21st minute to cancel out a controversial penalty awarded four minutes earlier for Wednesday.
Atdhe Nuhiu coolly converted his fifth goal of the season, with the spot-kick awarded by Lee Probert after Lucas Joao went down under pressure from Andy Yiadom. It was Wednesday’s first away goal of 2018.
Nine minutes after the break, at the same end, the Wiltshire official stood his ground after Adam Hammill went down in the area close to the byline following a challenge from David Jones, with home players incensed that a penalty was not awarded.
Barnsley made just two changes from Paul Heckingbottom’s final game in charge, with Lloyd Isgrove and McBurnie coming in for George Moncur and Kieffer Moore, with Reds keeper Nick Townsend starting his first game at Oakwell since October 2015.
Wednesday, again missing a team of senior players, handed starts to David Jones, Ross Wallace, Jordan Thorniley and Joao, with youngster Connor Kirby, from nearby Worsbrough Common, among the subsitutes.
It was two of the players recalled by the Owls who were involved in the breakthrough on 17 minutes.
A brisk start full of decent tempo from both sides yielded a breakthrough when Probert pointed to the spot, after a brief moment’s thought, after home captain Yiadom caught Joao, who had been played in by a superb pass from Wallace, who profited after a mistake infield by Tom Bradshaw.
The call looked a tight one, with Joao going down after getting on the wrong side of Yiadom, who caught the Owls forward.
Nuhiu assumed spot-kick duties and fired an emphatic penalty past Townsend before celebrating enthusiastically with the Owls’ big following, with his celebrations eventually yielding a booking.
To their credit, Barnsley dusted themselves down impressively and forged a leveller just four minutes later and had the better of the reminder of the half, with McBurnie and Isgrove excelling in particular.
None moreso than McBurnie who received the ball just inside the Owls half and proceeded to slalom past the challenges of Joel Pelupessy, Frederico Venancio and Liam Palmer before firing a clinical low shot past ex-Reds loanee Joe Wildsmith.
It was a quality goal with the Pontefract Road end soon saluting their new hero in song.
The Reds went close to a second 12 minutes before the break with fine wingplay from Isgrove saw his shot latched onto by Bradshaw, whose instinctive first-time volley was tipped over splendidly by Wildsmith.
Barnsley had the better of the first twenty minutes of the second half, before Wednesday had a spell of mini-pressure before the end.
McBurnie headed a decent early chance over before home fans were incensed after no penalty was awarded after Jones’ challenge on Hammill, which looked a decent penalty shout.
Wildsmith later did well to turn away McBurnie’s effort before a fine curler at the other end from Wallace whistled wide.
Wednesday went close to a late winner with Pelupessy’s effort flying just off target.
Barnsley: Townsend; Yiadom, Mills, Lindsay, Pinillos; Isgrove (Mahoney 63), Gardner, Williams, Hammill; Bradshaw, McBurnie (Moore 63). Substitutes unused: Davies, Pearson, Mallan, Moncur, Thiam.
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer, Venancio, Thorniley (Stobbs 68), Fox; Wallace, Pelupessy, Jones (Nielsen 81), Reach; Joao, Nuhiu. Substitutes unused: Dawson, Hunt, Rhodes, Boyd, Kirby.
Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire).
Attendance: 16,858 (4,500 Sheffield Wednesday supporters).