BARNSLEY’s Andy Gray scored his 100th and 101st career goals to ease the Reds to victory over Coventry City at Oakwell.
It might have been an injury-ravaged Barnsley squad that boss Hill was forced to select from for today’s game, but this was one the former Rochdale manager and his charges will have targeted for a much-needed second win of the season – and a first win at Oakwell of course.
Despite the heat Barnsley opened particularly lively, and McEveley found space after charging down the left, only to fluff his shot spectacularly. Vaz Te also appeared keen to impress on his first Oakwell start as his early passing was crisp and precise.
By the half-hour mark the conditions were beginning to take their toll a little and weary legs were already in evidence, particularly when McSheffrey was allowed time and space to speed in down the Reds’ left before seeing a low cross driven right across the face of goal.
At the other end Butterfield took aim from 30 yards, but this time his effort went high and wide with Murphy not troubled.
Steele was forced into the action again six minutes before the break when he saved from Jutkiewicz, but a minute later the Reds went in front from the penalty spot – and it was GRAY who slotted in his 100th career goal.
The award was hotly contested by the City defenders as Hussey was adjudged to have handled the ball as O’Brien tried to pass him in the right corner of the penalty box.
But Gray remained calm throughout and after the offender had been shown a yellow card, the Reds’ hit-man coolly beat Murphy to make it 1-0.
The Reds came charging out of the blocks in the second half, and after Drinkwater and Vaz Te ahd both tested Murphy from distance, the hosts’ lead was deservedly doubled in the 55th minute.
And it was a brilliantly-worked second goal as Doyle fed O’Brien, who in turn crossed expertly in low for GRAY who slid in to register his second goal of the game.
The Pontefract End went ballistic as Gray celebrated his 101st goal with them in style, but Coventry proved they were still a threat as they forced Steele into a breath-taking save minutes later.
The Reds’ custodian dived full-length to tip away a dipping header from Cameron in brilliant fashion.
In the 71st minute O’Brien teed up Butterfield, but the young skipper saw his shot deflected just over the top and away for a corner-kick which came to nothing.
Once again Foster typified the Reds’ spirit with 12 minutes to go.
With Coventry probing, McSheffrey took a pass from sub Christie, and just as he was about to pull the trigger, there was the Reds’ centre-half who managed to pull off a last-ditch, lunging block.
The Sky Blues were becoming a little desperate and sub Platt headed disappointingly over from just six yards, but no-one could have begrudged the Reds a richly deserved first home win of the season.
For a full report, see the Green’Un.