Sheffield United 2 (Davies 42, Holt 71)
The Reds saw their unbeaten run brought to an end this afternoon as Sheffield United left Oakwell victorious thanks to goals from Steven Davies and Jason Holt
Oakwell was shaking as this afternoon’s South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United got underway in the sunshine.
The Reds made the best of the good atmosphere and after four minutes they had their first chance when Hourihane was brought down 25 yards from goal.
The resulting delivery from Hourihane was a good one but it was just too long to reach the head of Martin Cranie in the box.
Soon after, the action was down the other end and Joe Wildsmith did well on his Oakwell debut to get down low and keep Chris Basham’s headed effort out.
On nine minutes the Reds found themselves with another free-kick, this time in a perfect shooting position for Hourihane.
Having been deadly from set-pieces earlier in the season, the Irishman was unable to beat the wall on this occasion.
After 25 minutes the visitors came close to taking the lead when Jamie Murphy found room between the defenders to head towards goal.
The resulting effort went just over the top of the goal, possibly clipping cross-bar on its way over.
United continued to press against the Reds but Joe Wildsmith kept up his impressive first half performance.
That was until he was beaten on 42 minutes by a header from Steven Davies in the box as the visitors took the lead.
Finding room in the box as the Reds looked to defend a delivery from the right hand side, Davies managed to climb above the other heads to loop the ball over Wildsmith.
The Reds came out looking keen get themselves back on level terms. Winning a corner after just a minute of the second period, they didn’t have to wait long for their chance but the Blades keeper Mark Howard picked the cross from the air.
Having failed to make any significant impact on the game since the break despite some noticeable effort, Lee Johnson switched his side around not long into the second half, trying to find a way to accommodate Ibehre, Winnall and Stewart in attack.
Cameron Stewart took over set-piece duty for the Reds’ next chance but he too could not get a ball into the box as Mark Howard continued to dominate his own six yard box.
Making a double substitution with a little over 20 minutes left in the game, Jennings and Smith joined the action as the Reds again changed their shape.
The visitors doubled their lead almost instantly after that change following a delivery that was unsuccessfully cleared by the Reds.
The ball was fizzed back into the Barnsley box and Jason Holt volleyed low past Wildsmith to double his side’s lead.
Kane Hemmings joined the action next in place of Jabo Ibehre as Lee Johnson gambled with his final substitution.
Even with the fresh legs, the Reds still couldn’t find a way back into the game as shots on target seemed illusive.
With four minutes of added time there was still long enough left for the Reds to try and create something but Sheffield United held onto the ball well to keep the home side at bay.
Reds: Wildsmith, Holgate, Cranie (C), Nyatanga, John, Scowen, Pearson, Hourihane (69), Stewart (69), Winnall, Ibehre (76).
Subs: Dibble, Berry, Bailey, Jennings (69), Hemmings (76), Cowgill, Smith (69).
Sheffield United: Howard, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Flynn (89), Murphy, Coutts, Freeman, Kennedy, Davies (54), Holt (88).
Subs: Turner, Doyle (89), Scougall (88), Baxter, McNulty, Done (54), McEveley.
Referee: Andrew Madley.
Attendance: 17352 (5372 Away)