June 20, 2024

Josh Windass notched the only goal of the game to send the Owls into bedlam and seal a Championship return after two years away

Barnsley boss Michael Duff has suggested Sheffield Wednesday were not the better team in a keenly-fought League One play-off final.

A tense, tight South Yorkshire derby was settled when Josh Windass popped up to score a bullet header with virtually the last kick of the game.

It had until that point looked destined for penalties but Windass had other ideas. Barnsley played the vast majority of the second half a man light after Adam Phillips was shown a straight red for a lunge on Lee Gregory. VAR, in operation for the final, upheld the decision by referee Tim Robinson.

Just moments earlier Gregory escaped a penalty appeal from Barnsley after his risky challenge on Liam Kitching in his own area. Again, VAR sided with the Owls on this occasion.

Duff, understandably, rued those calls.

He said: “I couldn’t ask for anymore. They ran themselves into the ground. They gave me absolutely everything. Credit to Darren and his team. They were probably the third best team but I don’t think they were the best team today.

“We’ve not had a penalty all season. I’ve not seen it back but I’ve been told it’s a penalty and I’ve been told it’s not a red card. To get beat like that, there’s no guarantee we’d have won on penalties but it’s tough for a young group.

“They gave absolutely everything so it’s tough to take.”

Pressed further on the red card for Phillips, Duff said: “I don’t think he’s gone to ‘do’ the lad at all. I think he’s gone to hit the ball and the lad (Gregory) has just toed it away from him. It’s hard to talk about it without seeing it back. I can only go off other people’s reactions. It’s a bugbear because I think we’ve had ten penalties against us but we’ve not had one.

“We thought it would be eradicated by VAR but it obviously hasn’t.”

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