April 27, 2013
Tykes hit Hull's hopes
Hull squandered a chance to secure promotion to the Barclays Premier League as Barnsley took advantage of the Tigers' end-of-season jitters to boost their survival prospects with a 2-0 win.
It means Steve Bruce's men, now without a goal in three and desperately out of form, hold a one-point advantage over third-placed Watford going into the final round of fixtures, with champions Cardiff heading to the KC Stadium next Saturday.
The Tykes, meanwhile, ended a six-match winless run thanks to early goals in either half from Jacob Mellis and Chris O'Grady, and will guarantee Championship football for next season should they defeat fellow strugglers Huddersfield.
After a dour goalless draw with Bristol City at the KC Stadium last Friday, the Tigers knew their promotion would have been sealed without kicking a ball had Watford lost against either Blackburn or Leicester.
Yet Gianfranco Zola's men recorded back-to-back wins, which meant the 5,900 fans in the away end at Oakwell arrived today with apprehension rather than in celebration.
And that only increased as, in a frantic start, it was the hosts who struck first after four minutes.
Mellis was fed by O'Grady inside the area and, although the angle was against the midfielder, he smashed the ball in via the underside of the crossbar in front of the travelling contingent.
The visitors were rocked and it took them some time to get into their stride, Robbie Brady eventually skewing their first shot on goal just wide.
George Boyd was the next to try his luck as the ball sat up nicely for a half-volley which Tykes goalkeeper Luke Steele easily dealt with.
Hull's frustration was growing and they spilled over just before half-time when Matt Fryatt was denied a free-kick after tangling with David Perkins. The latter squared up to the Tigers striker and the two became involved in a pushing contest in which arms were raised, although referee Chris Foy neglected to use a card of any colour.
The hosts nearly entered the interval two goals ahead when teenager Reuben Noble-Lazarus set off on a driving run from the halfway line which culminated in a weak effort being dragged wide.
Bruce hauled off Boyd for Jay Simpson at half-time, however it was an unlikely source who almost pulled them level with Paul McShane not quite able to make clean contact with his attempt from a free-kick.
Simpson's direct running was stretching the game and Chris Dagnall's deflected cross found the side netting at the other end.
Hull failed to alleviate the pressure, though, and the hosts doubled their advantage five minutes into the second period through O'Grady's sweet strike.
With Dagnall looking for options, O'Grady took the ball off his strike partner's toes and arrowed the ball straight into the bottom corner of the net.
In front of the club's owner Assem Allam, Bruce threw on big-money signing Nick Proschwitz for the ineffectual Fryatt.
But they were left feeding off scraps, Perkins doing well to block Simpson's shot in the six-yard box before Proschwitz somehow failed to connect with a header from a similar range.
The German striker, much maligned among Hull supporters, did manage to get his head on to a Simpson flick-on shortly afterwards but the ball sailed over.
McShane continued to prove a threat from set-pieces and nodded narrowly over from a corner, but Barnsley held on leaving the two sides with contrasting emotions ahead of their respective crunch final fixtures.
|1 Luke Steele||34 David Stockdale|
|33 Thomas Kennedy||15 Paul McShane|
|14 Scott Wiseman||5 James Chester|
|25 Martin Cranie||23 Abdoulaye Faye|
|11 David Perkins||29 Stephen Quinn|
|8 James O'Brien||31 David Meyler|
|21 Jacob Mellis||8 Corry Evans|
|27 Chris O'Grady||27 Ahmed Elmohamady|
|13 Chris Dagnall||37 George Boyd|
|23 Kelvin Etuhu||12 Matty Fryatt|
|24 Reuben Noble-Lazarus||30 Robert Brady|
|12 Ben Alnwick||Eldin Jakupovic 1|
|15 Jim McNulty||Ahmed Fathi 17|
|19 Tomasz Cywka||Jack Hobbs 6|
|18 Andrai Jones||Liam Rosenior 2|
|16 Marlon Harewood||Tom Cairney 14|
|9 Jason Scotland||Jay Simpson 11|
|32 Danny Rose||Nick Proschwitz 33|
|Jason Scotland for Jacob Mellis (68)||Jay Simpson for George Boyd (46)|
|Jim McNulty for Chris Dagnall (79)||Nick Proschwitz for Matty Fryatt (61)|
|Danny Rose for Chris O'Grady (90)||Liam Rosenior for Corry Evans (79)|
|Kelvin Etuhu (15)|
|· Squads: Barnsley | Hull City|