Sheffield Wednesday were left to rue missed first-half chances in the Championship as they drew 1-1 with Barnsley at Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon.
Everyone connected with the club was aware of the significance of Wednesday's two home matches this week after a run of poor form. They put in a very impressive first-half performance and deserved to take the lead through Adam Reach.
However, Barnsley were far better in the second-half and were able to equalise through a superb strike from Harvey Barnes.
Owls dominate first-half at Hillsborough
Joost van Aken was drafted into the Owls' starting line-up for this one due to Glenn Loovens being suspended following his dismissal in the 2-0 defeat to Derby County last weekend. Carlos Carvalhal opted to stick with the same forward line as both Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher retained their place in the side.
Wednesday could have taken the lead very early on but Tom Lees could not divert his header from Ross Wallace's corner on target. Despite the home side dominating the opening 10 minutes of the game, they almost gifted Tom Bradshaw the opening goal following a misplaced pass from Kieran Lee but his shot was well blocked.
The hosts continued to create numerous opportunities but the away side managed to survive an intense period of pressure. Steven Fletcher had a great chance to open the scoring but fluffed his lines following a great cutback from Reach.
However, Barnsley did still look a threat on the counter. They could have taken the lead midway through the first-half but Kieran Westwood was able to tip Cameron McGeehan's free-kick around the post. Despite a bright spell from the Reds, Wednesday came within inches of taking the lead as Lee's long-range strike hit the inside of the post.
The Owls did manage to take the lead just minutes later through Reach. He found himself with time and space on the edge of the box before his scuffed shot somehow found a way into the back of the net to make it 1-0. Adam Hammill was having a lively game for the away side but was lucky to escape with just a yellow card following a poor challenge on Fletcher.
Barnes stuns Hillsborough with sublime strike
The hosts came out for the second-half and continued to dominate proceedings. Lee and Jack Hunt combined well in the penalty area to set up a chance for Fletcher but his shot was blocked. Barry Bannan then came agonisingly close to doubling Wednesday's advantage but his chip over Adam Davies was cleared off the line by Andy Yiadom.
However, Barnsley could have equalised around 15 minutes into the second-half after Barnes went on a superb solo run before hitting the underside of the bar. Wednesday were eventually able to clear but it was a warning that the Reds were still very much in the game.
Wednesday were punished for not dealing with Barnes' threat minutes later as he made it 1-1 with a sublime strike. He was given space to cut in from the left-hand side before curling his shot into the bottom corner with Westwood left helpless. Despite Wednesday's first-half dominance, Barnsley improved as the second-half progressed and arguably deserved their equaliser.
Hooper had a glorious chance to restore his side's lead with around 15 minutes to play but he could only direct his header straight at Davies from Hunt's cross. Both sides went on to have chances to win the game in the latter stages but neither were able to find a winner.