The evening of Wednesday 8th December 2004 was one of those special nights that will live long in the memory of the 8,000 fans who made the short trip to Sheffield Wednesday for what was the Club’s first visit to Hillsborough in almost 14 years. This was one of those ‘I was there’ moments.
With Hillsborough attracting the biggest crowd of the campaign outside the top two divisions – 28,701 – Barmby twice struck decisively after a Michael Keane penalty had cancelled the early lead on-loan Joey O’Brien had given Wednesday. Jon-Paul McGovern pulled a goal back for the home side late in the first half, but Danny Allsopp responded to confirm the Tigers’ dominance and secure a memorable victory for all of a black and amber persuasion.
The Tigers arrived in South Yorkshire on the crest of a wave, but crowd congestion ahead of kick-off brought a quarter-of-an-hour delay to the start. Wednesday began with a flourish that almost proved productive, Chris Brunt spawning a fifth-minute opportunity. But, just three minutes later, the home side were ahead as Joey O’Brien netted from close-range.
Peter Taylor’s side achieved parity with just 12 minutes played as Keane netted from the penalty spot, before Nick Barmby put the Tigers ahead on 21 minutes when he calmly applied the finishing touch after Stuart Elliott had sliced Delroy Facey’s cross into the path of the former England international.
Then came a moment that none of the black and amber faithful crammed inside Hillsborough that night will ever forget. A long ball forward was flicked into the path of Barmby by Ryan France and the Hull-born veteran provided a world class finish on volley to fire the ball past David Lucas and into the top corner to make it 3-1 at the break.
Jon-Paul McGovern threatened to set up a tense finish by pulling a goal back for the Owls nine minutes from time, but substitute Allsopp sprung the offside trap to restore the Tigers’ two-goal lead and send the away fans singing all the way back to East Yorkshire.
Team: Myhill, Joseph, Cort, Delaney, Dawson, Elliott, Ashbee, Keane (Lewis 87), France, Facey (Allsopp 66), Barmby (Wilbraham 76).
Subs Not Used: Duke, Green.