Chris Dagnall’s first league goals of the season earned Barnsley a crucial victory over Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.
Dagnall struck twice in the space of three second-half minutes to reward a dominant display from the managerless Tykes and punish a sorry showing from Leeds.
United’s appalling first-half performance forced Neil Warnock into two changes at the break, with Ross McCormack replacing El-Hadji Diouf and Paul Green coming on for David Norris, and Barnsley prior dominance faded initially.
Ross Barkley went close for Leeds with a shot from outside the box and the on-loan Everton midfield was desperately unlucky to strike the underside of the bar with a close-range volley on 57 minutes.
Barnsley had moments of pressure but found chances hard to come by until Sam Byram tripped Dagnall inside the box on 62 minutes. Dagnall kept his cool to send Paddy Kenny the wrong way.
And moments later, the forward latched onto Marlon Harewood’s pass to pull a low finish across Kenny and into the far corner of the net, giving Barnsley their first home win in the league since September 1.
Earlier, Barnsley were denied by the woodwork as the Championship’s bottom side came out fighting in a goalless first half against Leeds.
The managerless Tykes turned in a creditable performance to dominate a one-sided contest Oakwell and outplay Leeds.
Barnsley made a strong and impressive start, with Paddy Kenny denying Jim O’Brien with a two-handed save in the second minute and Stephen Dawson claiming strongly for a penalty after a foul on him on the edge of the box.
Leeds struggled to find their rhythm and they came under pressure again when Kenny dived to parry Dawson’s long-range shot. The visitors were then lucky to see a low effort from Marlon Harewood come back off the base of a post.
United were restricted to a glancing header from Luciano Becchio which bounced wide and they survived again when Rodolph Austin nodded Jim McNulty’s header off the goalline.
Kenny held the line shortly before the break by beating away another O’Brien shot but Barnsley suffered a blow when the lively midfielder was strthered from the field after a full-blooded challenge with Lee Peltier.
Neil Warnock handed starts to Ross Barkley and Michael Tonge at Barnsley after bringing the pair to Leeds United this week.
Barkley made his Leeds debut 24 hours after joining the club on a month’s loan from Everton and Tonge returned to the side having followed up his recent loan from Stoke City with a permanent move to United on Thursday.
Sam Byram and El-Hadji Diouf were also recalled after starting last weekend’s FA Cup tie against Birmingham City on the bench. Scotland international Ross McCormack was named as a substitute as Warnock made a total of seven changes.
Barnsley caretaker manager Dave Flitcroft named an unchanged line-up with fit-again Jacob Mellis on the bench and Scott Wiseman missing out altogether amid growing expectation of a move away from Oakwell.
Barnsley: Steele, Cranie, McNulty, Kennedy, Stones, O’Brien, Dawson, Perkins, Golbourne, Harewood, Dagnall. Subs (not used): Alnwick, Noble-Lazarus, Rose, Mellis, Foster, Hassell, Etuhu.
Leeds United: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Tate, Peltier, Barkley, Austin, Norris, Tonge, Becchio, Diouf. Subs: Ashdown, Lees, Green, Varney, White, Somma, McCormack.