Derby County 2 (O’Connor 68, Tyson 90)
The travelling faithful were disappointed once more as their side failed to cause Derby any real problems at Pride Park and so suffered their third defeat on the bounce – going down 2-0 against the Rams. The Reds could have rescued a point at the death before Tyson put the game beyond doubt but Stephen Dawson blazed over when unmarked from Kennedy's corner.
It was a relatively quiet opening to the first half but Derby were pressing hard and looking to build on their fine victory over Blackpool at the weekend.
Barnsley were working hard to keep the Rams at bay and managed to make a couple of decent breakaways through Etuhu and Dagnall but never really tested Legzdins in the first quarter.
Tomasz Cywka was looking determined to impress his former club and almost found the net on two occasions but fired over each time. Mellis tried his luck from distance on a couple of occasions but ended up with the same outcome as his Polish team-mate – over the bar.
Hughes forced Steele in brilliant save on 35 minutes with a rasping drive from 25 yards after Robinson squared the ball off down the left.
Dagnall was working his socks off in the final third and surely his endeavour would be rewarded with a first league goal at some point.
Wiseman stormed forward and simply couldn’t be caught before sending in Dagnall down the left, his rasping drive was straight at Legzdins so the ‘keeper punched the ball away on 56 minutes.
Coutts fancied his chances from a 22-yard free-kick just past the hour but Luke Steele denied him with an outstanding save. Steele saw it late as it cut through the wall and did tremendously well to deny the midfielder.
Sammon rolled Wiseman on the edge of the box before laying it off to Robinson but he dragged a shot well wide from the edge of the box. Three Reds players saw yellow with Kennedy the last of the trio as he halted a Derby advance. From the resulting free-kick Derby took the lead through James O’Connor with a simply awful goal from Barnsley’s point of view. Poor marking cost the Reds the lead, who have never come from behind to win a match in 18 months. A header struck the post and O’Connor turned home from a matter of centimetres out on the line.
Tomasz Cywka received a warm round of applause as he was replaced by Matt Done for the Reds with little less than 20 minutes remaining.
The Reds made two more changes ten minutes later, Harewood came on as well as O’Brien, the latter bringing some cheer to the travelling faithful with the winger returning from injury.
A glorious opportunity presented itself to Dawson at the far stick when Kennedy picked the Irishman out free in the area from a splendid corner but the midfield cushioned well over from an extremely inviting position. That was surely the chance to rescue a point with two minutes to go.
Right up at the other end it was 2-0 and game over. Nathan Tyson picked up possession on the counter and just smashed in from 22 yards, giving Steele no chance. It was a wonderful strike that was certainly the opposite of O’Connor’s opener.
Dagnall glanced a header at Legzdins from O’Brien’s third quality delivery but even if it had troubled the Rams stopper it would have been too little, too late as the clock ticked away.
Derby County: Legzdins (GK); Brayford, Keogh, O’Connor, Roberts; Coutts (Freeman 90), Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes; Sammon (Tyson 84), Robinson (Jacobs 76).
Subs: Deeney (GK), Buxton, Davies, O’Brien.
Barnsley: Steele (GK); Wiseman, McNulty, Kennedy, Golbourne; Cranie; Cywka (Done 72), Dawson, Mellis (Harewood 79), Etuhu (O’Brien 79); Dagnall.
Subs: Alnwick (GK), Hassell, Foster, Silva.