THERE is a scene in Coming To America where a beverage seller at a New York basketball game bumps into Eddie Murphy’s character – the prince of Zamunda.
Stay with me here. It comes as quite a shock to said beverage seller – the otherwise unrecognised prince is in civvies waiting for the toilet with other fans – but, having announced he is a ‘loyal citizen of Zamunda’ himself, proceeds to describe it as the greatest day of his life.
He flashes a huge, beaming, unrelenting smile.
As good as it was, Barnsley head coach Jose Morais will, of course, never say Saturday’s derby win over Sheffield United marked his greatest day.
Yet the brilliant, almost permanent smile he wore in the post-match press conference certainly brought similarities with the joy brought during that classic 80s comedy moment.
There may have been a few Barnsley fans just like him, too; this was their first home win in six months after a record 12-game losing streak at Oakwell.
But, more importantly, as they prepare to head to Ipswich tomorrow, it gave them genuine belief they can pull out of the Championship relegation zone.
Wales international Tom Bradshaw came off the bench to head the 88th-minute winner after the Reds – 1-0 ahead at half-time – had looked like being over-run in the second period.
John Fleck equalised for promotion-chasing United with a fearsome left-foot drive in the 57th minute, the quality Scottish midfielder slipping captain Leon Clarke through soon after for the striker’s 17th league goal this term.
From there, most people expected the increasingly confident visitors to drive on to a convincing win especially as troubled Barnsley had picked up just two victories in their last 25 outings.
Today it’s gone our way but over the past few weeks it didn’t. We’re just thankful the hard work paid off.Gary Gardner
However, with some heroic defensive displays from the likes of Liam Lindsay and Adam Jackson, they dug deep to stem the flow against them and produced an unlikely equaliser when Simon Moore could only parry Adam Hammill’s long-range shot to the waiting Oliver McBurnie in the 74th minute.
Then the club’s leading scorer Bradshaw – playing from off the bench again – arrived to head home Kieffer Moore’s quality delivery to utterly stun their rivals.
How did it feel to pull off such a recovery?
“I think that’s football; it’s 90-plus minutes for a reason and you have to go to the end,” said Barnsley midfielder Gary Gardner, who initially put them in front with his first goal for the club, a thunderous 20-yard drive in the 25th minute.
“Today it’s gone our way but over the past few weeks it didn’t. We’re just thankful the hard work paid off.
“We deserved that win; we showed great character to come back from 2-1 down and we need that for the rest of the season.
“It doesn’t stop here. We’ve already said in there (the dressing room) that we have to go win again at Ipswich on Tuesday or this won’t mean anything.
“That’s another massive game. Every one is like a cup final now we have to get as many as possible.”
With the way they passed the ball so confidently in the first half, and then defended so vigorously when under intense pressure at times in the second, Morais’s influence is undoubtedly beginning to show.
It was just the Portuguese’s second win since taking over after Paul Heckingbottom’s exit to Leeds United in February but Gardner – the 25-year-old on loan from Aston Villa – said: “The gaffer has worked with some of the best players in the world.
“He’s come in and given us a different style of play. At home we’ve dominated games as you can see and had some good results.
“He’s been really good to work with and I believe he’s the man to keep us up.”
In fairness, it was United who dominated for a big chunk of that second period but could not capitalise on swathes of possession.
Blades manager Chris Wilder knows he has started to sound like a broken record mentioning his squad’s inability to kill off teams.
They have now won just once in their last seven outings, including four draws that look set to wreck their hopes of finishing in the play-off spots.
United are down to ninth, four points off sixth-placed Middlesbrough, whom they host in a critical game tomorrow night, with five matches remaining.
“It’s happened too many times this,” bemoaned Wilder.
“They were hanging on. When you get an opportunity to be clinical and go for the jugular and really go take the game away from the opposition, the big teams –and teams that will achieve and get out of the division or play the bigger games this season – will do that.
“And we just haven’t got that ability. We heap pressure on ourselves. For the amount of chances we’ve had, for the majority of the season, if you’ve watched us, we should be comfortably in the play-offs.
“We are not and we’re chasing and that’s baffling at times.”