Barnsley 0 Coventry City 1
In normal circumstances, Wayne Andrews would have grabbed the headlines after scoring the winning goal for Coventry City on his debut.
Not many players net with their first touch after a delayed debut due to breaking a leg in pre-season.
However, the talking point from this Championship clash was manager Micky Adams’ showdown with the majority of the Sky Blues’ 1,000 travelling supporters.
The fans’ frustrations had been building throughout a dour match as the visitors went in search of their third league win away from the Ricoh Arena to prove their promotion credentials are not merely a pipedream.
Coventry only had two genuine goalscoring chances in the first-half, when Kevin Kyle’s header went wide and Richard Duffy’s weak shot was easily pounced upon by Nick Colgan when he was one-on-one with the keeper.
Barnsley were not too much of an attacking threat either, with Andy Marshall palming away Sam Togwell’s 25-yard strike and plucking Marc Richards’ shot out of the air.
Adams switched from a 4-4-2 formation in the first half to 4-3-3 at the start of the second half by employing Dele Adebola, Leon McKenzie and Kyle up front.
Within 20 minutes, that was ditched when the ineffective Colin Cameron was replaced by Jay Tabb as Coventry reverted to 4-4-2.
That meant Adebola moving to the right of midfield – leaving McKenzie and Kyle up front – which not many Sky Blues fans would readily imagine is his best position.
Then Adebola and Tabb switched wings as Coventry attempted to prevent Barnsley from adding to their home record of only one win this season.
With time running out, Adams decided to change personnel again by throwing on Andrews to add a bit of the spark which had been sorely lacking up front. McKenzie may not yet have opened his Sky Blues goalscoring account but he has established himself as a favourite with his willingness to run at defenders with darting runs.
The #1 million signing from Norwich was clearly unhappy with his substitution – he and Adams didn’t acknowledge each other as the striker took his place on the bench.
The substitution led to a loud chorus of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ towards Adams from the bank of fans behind the goal.
But within 30 seconds, Andrews twisted past Barnsley captain Paul Reid to curl a lovely shot into the far corner.
Some managers may not have reacted but the no-nonsense Yorkshireman stayed true to his roots by cupping his ears in the direction of the fans.
Then, at the final whistle, he jogged along the touchline and down the tunnel without acknowledging the supporters - and he was in no mood to back down at the post-match press conference.
Adams admitted the criticism he had received had "got to me" and he had a valid point when he said: 'no-one likes to be told they are rubbish at their job'.
Experienced centre-half Robert Page who, along with Michael Doyle, produced another excellent performance, was philosophical about the reaction of the manager and the fans.
"Those decisions are what the manager is paid for," Page said. "He is bold enough to make a decision like that.
"Fans have given him a little bit of stick but he has had the last laugh. He is the manager of a Championship club because he has knowledge of the game.
"That’s not being disrespectful to the fans because I have a lot of time for the fans, but he is in the position where he has to make a decision and the substitution he has made has got us the three points."
While Coventry fans were aggrieved with the quality of their team’s performance, the home contingent were not too enamoured with Doyle’s studs-showing tackle on Togwell five minutes before the break, which they felt should have led to a red card.
And their ire was raised again when they believed Michael McIndoe’s 64th-minute header was already over the line when the ball was hacked clear by Elliott Ward.
Coventry-born Daniel Nardiello could have snatched a point in injury time when his shot flashed wide of the post, but his miss ensured Adams gained the upper hand on his critics.
It is not only Gary McSheffrey who will be interested to find out the reception he will receive when Birmingham City visit the Ricoh Arena tomorrow.
BARNSLEY(4-4-2): Colgan; Hassell, Reid, Kay, Williams; Devaney(Healy 72), Togwell, Howard, McIndoe; Hayes (Nardiello63), Richards (Wright 82). Substitutes: Heckingbottom, Austin.
COVENTRY CITY (4-4-2): Marshall; Duffy, Page, Ward, Clarke (Hall 26); Cameron (Tabb 65), Doyle, Hughes, McKenzie (Andrews 83); Kyle, Adebola. Substitutes: Birchall, Heath.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Scorer: Andrews (84)
Bookings: Barnsley– Howard (foul), Coventry– Doyle (foul)