FULL TIME: Barnsley 0 Wanderers 1
NEIL Danns bid farewell to Wanderers with a sweet second-half winner at Oakwell to get Dougie Freedman’s side back on track in the Championship.
The midfielder, on loan from Leicester City, curled home brilliantly in the 64th minute to settle a game that could easily have gone either way.
The Whites struggled to get going in the first half and had Andy Lonergan to thank for a string of saves from Jim O’Brien, Chris O’Grady and Peter Ramage.
Just before the interval Tim Ream had a powerful header saved well by Luke Steele, with Darren Pratley’s follow-up blocked en route to goal by David Perkins.
But that proved the only meaningful chance before referee Andy Haines blew his whistle to a chorus of discontent from 1,800 travelling fans.
Barnsley had been desperate to give Danny Wilson a winning start in his second spell in charge but they lost impetus after the break, giving Wanderers their route into the game.
Darren Pratley had been pushed further forward and with Chris Eagles and Mark Davies – making his first start since damaging his cruciate ligament in January – starting to pull the midfield strings, there was suddenly a bit of tempo about the Whites’ play.
Steele pulled off a world class save to push over Zat Knight’s close range header and also pushed away a fizzing shot from Tim Ream.
There was nothing he could do to prevent Danns from scoring his fourth goal for Wanderers with a superb right-footed effort that had the travelling fans calling for Wanderers to “sign him up.”
Barnsley tried to rally and called for a penalty when Scott Wiseman collided with Danns on the edge of the box.
Kevin McNaughton, who also returns to Cardiff after a successful loan spell, also made a fine late challenge to prevent Chris O’Grady from scoring in the final few moments.