Reds 2 (Dagnall 49, Mellis 73)
Wolves 1 (Sigurdarson 7)
The Reds are flying – the whole town now believes that their team can get out of trouble. The Reds overturned a Wolves lead to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Chris Dagnall and Jacob Mellis. They showed guts, character, grit and creativity to defeat a team that, on paper, should be sat near the top of the table
Wolves got off to the better start and forced an early corner which was well defended by Marlon Harewood at the near post.
On seven minutes Wolves found the lead, and it was Bjorn Sigurdarson who latched onto a neat through-ball before rounding Steele and tucking into the empty net. It had been coming, with the Reds hardly having a kick of the ball, and Wolves typically hungry for their first win under Dean Saunders.
From one end to the other, both sides thought they had scored within the space of 20 seconds. Jamie O’Hara curled in a great 25-yard strike that hit the bar and bounced to safety, then Chris Dagnall fired inches wide from a right angle after a splendid threaded ball down the right from O’Brien on 17 minutes.
On 25 minutes Jim O’Brien’s lethal cross was begging to be turned home as it teased Ikeme from the right but no Red shirt was there to finish it off.
The game was stretching from end to end and Perkins had to block an edge-of-the-box strike as Ikeme kept one out at the other end from O’Grady on the spin.
Harewood should have pulled the Reds level on 35 minutes but mistimed his jump as he leapt to nod down O’Brien’s terrific cross eight yards out.
Sako tested Steele at his near post on 38 after teasing Wiseman down the Barnsley right. As the first-half clock ticked down when Harewood turned the Wolves defenders inside out and fired across the face of goal, Oakwell held its breath – unbelievably no player was there to turn it home.
Chris Dagnall had the last effort of the half and, remarkably, it failed to find the net – only the outside of the post – after Harewood did well to retain the ball in the box.
Just four minutes into the second half and the Reds hauled themselves level through that man Chris Dagnall who just can’t stop scoring. Rory Delap whipped in a tasty cross and Dagnall battled to get the side of his head to the ball and squeeze it home from six yards.
The Reds had started the second period like Wolves stared the first – the better of the two sides – and had the visitors penned in with 15 minutes gone.
The Reds made a double change on 64 minutes with Jim O’Brien and Marlon Harewood making way for Jason Scotland and Jacob Mellis. Wolves made one change with Davis replacing O’Hara.
If Ebanks-Blake’s shot was as good as his turn on Foster it would have seen Wolves take the lead on 68 minutes but he bent his shot well wide of Steele’s right-hand post after cutting in from the right. Moments later a good advantage by the referee allowed Scotland a run at goal and his shot from the edge of the box had Ikeme scrambling to the left but his right-foot effort drifted just wide of the post.
Steele made an outrageous save on 70 minutes to keep the score level after Sigurdarson took down a cross in expert fashion before finding himself one-on-one with Steele 10 yards out.
It was now Jacob Mellis’ turn to step up to the plate and he duly delivered from 15 yards. Dagnall danced his way into the box down the left and Scotland just couldn’t get a shot away but O’Grady teed up Mellis who could get his shot away and tucked into Ikeme’s left-hand corner on 73 minutes.
Following a tremendous display of strength and unselfishness, Chris O’Grady was replaced by Jimmy McNulty as the Reds looked to maintain their lead.
Four minutes of added time as the Reds closed the game out with the Ponty End in full voice.
The final whistle came after a goal-mouth scramble in the Barnsley box, their defending was resolute and the final whistle was greeted with a roar of sheer relief and, above all, belief.
Reds: Steele, Kennedy, Wiseman, Foster, Cranie, Perkins, O'Brien (Mellis 64), Delap, Harewood (Scotland 64), Dagnall, O'Grady (McNulty 73).
Subs: Alnwick, Hassell, Cywka, Rose.
Wolves: Ikeme, Edwards (Hammill 76), Ebanks-Blake, Henry, Sako, Sigurdarson (Cassidy 84), Robinson, Gorkss, O'Hara (Davis 64), Batth, Foley.
Subs: De Vries, Ward, Johnson, Doyle.
Referee: Darren Sheldrake