Funny game today, scrappy and sleepy for the first half, not much from the traveling support, then scrappy and hectic in the second. We definitely upped our game after half time, and needed to because we hadn't produced enough up til that point. Unsurprisingly we looked far more effective once we switched to 4-4-2, and Manset had his best cameo so far (not so much the goal, but a great shot from outside the area well saved, and several decent knock-downs). Long grafted as usual and won the game for us with his persistence that caused the defensive error and then composure to feed the beast. After the goal Barnsley took back all the momentum and we looked flustered, though threatening on the break.
We really we should have had 2 or 3 today with Church missing a great chance and their keeper making some decent stops, including one from a rangy Howard shot. McCarthy only had one serious effort to save, which he pushed round the post athletically. Good performers; Long, Karacan, and the centre-backs. Not so great; Church (confidence shot), Howard (produced little despite being given the freedom of the park, especially second half), Gunnarson somewhat off his best too.
With the results elsewhere, a big day. And to go to Barnsley with their decent home record and get a result with 6/7 of your first 11 out is commendable, however you do it.
Shame about Church.
Only 4 minutes on the clock and a peach of a ball from Howard left him one on one with the keeper but you just knew he would not score. Church is not a winger and he looked out of place there particularly in the first half. Better in the second but never a goal threat. Sadly he aint up to it and we looked more threatening once he had gone off - mind you, going 4-4-2 made a big difference (is he really going to be playing for Wales against England next week?).
As mentioned already, Howard did well in a five man midfield and nearly scored with a great shot to the top corner. Cannot see the logic of letting him go when we have an injury ravaged squad.
In defence, McCarthy had another excellent game making three good saves with exemplary catching and no kicks into touch. Ingimarsson started badly, Harewood beat him every time in the air, he was slow and got caught out of position. However, after the break he was so much better as were most of the players.
Karacan put in a good shift in midfield, as did Tabb but he does get pushed off the ball too easily. Jimmy did his usual bit of running but no real end product. Antonio played better today and a nice piece of work at the end set up Manset for a shot at the far post.
The beast looks a great buy but we need to see him on the pitch for 90 minutes. Shane was superb, his sprint to pressurise and dispossess the defender turned the match and set up the goal.
Barnsley were mediocre but what was almost a second string Reading team did the business. Good to see Obita on the bench.
Back in Sheffield on an amazing day in which every result went our way and we picked up a valuable win.
The first half was one of the worst halves of football I've ever seen, with lots of hoofball, a huge lack of control and just general shittiness.
Second half, we played a lot better - looking like the only team that could win it.
Was a bit disappointed with the amount of chances we screwed up, and how after scoring we got dominated for about 10 minutes solid.
But all in all, a great victory which has left me feeling delighted. We won the game thanks to our midfield.