BARNSLEY 1 (Hammill 25)
BURNLEY 2 (Guidetti 50, Bikey 54)
Sunday December 26, 2010, KO 3.00pm
BURNLEY turned the game on its head at the start of the second half to snatch all three points from Oakwell as the Reds let it all slip away after a bright opening 45 minutes.
Barnsley manager Mark Robins led his side into action for just the second time in December after games at Doncaster and Millwall fell victim to the weather. With Garry O'Connor ineligible it meant Andy Gray was given the job of leading the line against his former club while Matt Hill returned from injury to take a place on the bench. Victory for the Reds would see the Club become the first to win 1,000 matches in the second tier of English football. Barnsley also went into the game having not lost on Boxing Day since 2002.
Burnley came to Oakwell level on points with the Reds in the battle for Championship glory and were looking to end a winless run in Barnsley stretching back to between the World Wars. The Clarets had not tasted victory at Oakwell since 1932. There were surprises on the Burnley teamsheet as Chris Iwelumo, Dean Marney and Chris Eagles were named on the bench.
Hammill looked to give the Reds some Christmas cheer inside three minutes as he took the ball on and let fly from 20 yards but his low shot smacked into the imposing frame of Andre Bikey. Hammill then turned provider three minutes later as he found Bobby Hassell on the edge of the area but the full back also saw a shot well blocked away.
Burnley were simply not allowed to get going as the Reds threatened to run riot. Hammill and Gray combined well in the area to give Hugo Colace half a chance on eight minutes but an offside flag would have denied the midfielder.
Jim O'Brien was then felled by Clarke Carlisle a minute later as another quick Reds attack threatened to split Burnley open. Hammill's free kick beat a flapping Lee Grant but Carlisle was able to scramble to behind before Colace could pounce.
Despite their total dominance, the Reds should have been behind on 14 minutes when Jack Cork's fine cross gave John Guidetti a simple header at the back post but the striker was denied by Luke Steele's fantastic save. Steele tipped the ball onto the post before recovering his composure to brilliantly parry away Jay Rodriguez' follow up.
Goran Lovre was next to try his luck he hammered one just over the bar on 23 minutes before the midfielder found his range seconds later with an exquisite pass to put Hammill away and in the clear. To be fair Grant did well to parry Hammill's initial shot but could do nothing about his follow up as the ball nestled in the back of the Burnley net.
Burnley again went close on 29 minutes as Graham Alexander's free kick fizzed past Carlisle and through to Steele. The Clarets looked a shadow of the side that had impressed in the second half at Turf Moor earlier in the season although they were still a threat from set pieces as Ross Wallace had the Reds scrambling with a free kick on 35 minutes but his cross fizzed well wide.
Wallace saw one deflect well wide of the mark on 41 minutes as Burnley struggled for ideas in the final third against a resolute Reds defence looking for yet another clean sheet.
A flowing move in stoppage time involving Kieran Trippier, Hammill, Colace and O'Brien ended with Hassell bringing a fine save from Grant with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
Barnsley almost gifted Burnley the leveller just moments into the second half as Hassell lost the ball but Stephen Foster was in the right place to mop up in the centre.
Burnley were level on 50 minutes and again the threat came down the Clarets' right as Wade Elliott crossed well and Guidetti was on hand to beat Steele with a good header.
Lovre clipped the post on 52 minutes as he rose highest to meet Trippier's free kick before the Clarets turned the game on its head two minutes later as Bikey barged his way to meet Wallace's corner and planted an unstoppable header into the roof of the net.
Burnley were through the Reds again on 64 minutes as Guidetti did well to play in Rodriguez but the youngster blazed woefully wide with only Steele to beat. The Reds goal led a charmed life again moments later as Guidetti did brilliantly to dig out a cross against Jason Shackell and Elliott planted a header past Steele but against the inside of the post.
Wallace was next to try his luck against a Reds side who needed a foothold in the contest but his effort flew high over the bar.
Reds boss Mark Robins threw on youngster Steven Bennett on 71 minutes to replace Gray. It was a moment to savour for the Barnsley-born youngster as he made his first team debut.
Burnley went close again on 74 minutes as Rodriguez brought a save from Steele while Nathan Doyle picked up a booking seconds later for a challenge on Wallace.
Jacob Butterfield then did brilliantly to open up Burnley on 79 minutes as his neat play gave Trippier the chance to cross from the right but the midfielder just could not get onto the end of the move to cap what would have been a brilliant goal.
The Reds had struggled to create much in the second half but when Bikey clumsily put Hammill on the ground on 88 minutes it gave the home side a chance from 35 yards. Hammill strode up but his cross evaded Shackell and dropped out of play. It was going to be one of those days.
Burnley's desire to win was epitomised by Elliott in stoppage time as he hammered a drop ball high into the stand rather than give it back to the Reds. There was still time for a half chance for Paul Hayes but the flag would have denied the striker anyway.
BARNSLEY: Steele, Trippier, Foster, Shackell, Hassell, O'Brien, Colace (Butterfield 63), Doyle, Hammill, Lovre (Hayes 58), Gray (Bennett 71).
Subs: Preece, Neumann, Arismendi, Hill.
BURNLEY: Grant, Alexander, Carlisle, Cork, Elliott, Mears, Rodriguez, Guidetti (Eagles 73), Bikey, Wallace, Easton.
Subs: Jensen, Iwelumo, Edgar, Marney, Thompson, Duff.
Colin Webster (Tyne &amp; Wear)
Mark Griffiths (South Yorkshire) and Keith Lawson (South Humberside)
Paul Graham (Manchester)
House Of Fraser Man Of The Match: Jason Shackell
Away Attendance: 2,738
Match Report by Rob Knowles.
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