Barnsley came out on top in a pulsating South Yorkshire derby with a stunning 4-2 victory over local rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday evening.
Early strikes from Devante Cole and James Norwood were cancelled out either side of the break by a Lee Gregory double, but we snatched all three points in dramatic style with Max Watters’ and Liam Kitching’s late goals.
With bragging rights secured on a memorable evening, we extended our unbeaten streak to 12 games and ended the Owls’ fine run of form that stretched to the start of October, completing a league double in the process.
In a typically frenetic start to an eagerly anticipated South Yorkshire derby, the Reds came flying out of the blocks and opened the scoring with just 10 minutes on the clock.
The ball broke kindly for Mads Andersen, who surged forward and slipped a delightful slide rule pass for Cole to race onto and slot between the legs of Cameron Dawson.
Within the blink of an eye, it was two when we won possession back in a dangerous area and Cole fed Norwood who drilled into the bottom corner from 25-yards to an explosion of noise from the raucous Oakwell faithful.
Eventually, the Owls gained a foothold in the game and halved the deficit just after the half hour mark when Michael Smith raced in behind and squared the ball for Gregory to slide in from close range.
Looking to restore our two-goal cushion, Adam Phillips swung a wonderful cross in for Norwood, who planted his header low into the ground and forced a fine save from Dawson down to his left.
Late in the half, Harry Isted was forced into action as he superbly clawed Smith’s header out of the top corner, while Andersen was on hand to bravely block the follow-up to keep our slender advantage heading into the interval.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Both sides began the second half brightly, with Smith testing Isted from a tight angle, while Cole took aim from distance that Dawson gathered comfortably.
Just before the hour mark, we had a glorious opportunity to score a third when Herbie Kane’s cross-field ball found a rampaging Jordan Williams, who in turn cut it back for Norwood, but his near post effort was narrowly off target.
Wednesday slowly began to turn the screw and Gregory had his second of the game from Marvin Johnson’s driven low cross to level the scores with 74 minutes gone.
That goal seemed to spark the Reds back into life following a period of visiting dominance and, after the ball broke kindly in the area, Watters – only on the pitch a matter of moments – showed excellent composure to find the top corner from 12-yards and edge us in front once more.
As time ticked away, the visitors looked to pile men forward, and that naturally left gaps at the back, which we exploited to perfection as Luke Thomas broke at pace and played the ball across to an onrushing Kitching to slam home and seal a superb derby victory.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 4-2 Sheffield Wednesday
REDS XI: Isted (GK), Williams, B Thomas, Andersen (C), Kitching, Cadden (Cundy, 87), Phillips (L Thomas, 61), Connell, Kane (Benson, 80), Norwood (Tedić, 61), Cole (Watters, 80).
Not used: Collins (GK), Larkeche.
OWLS XI: Dawson (GK), Palmer, Vaulks, Iorfa, Adeniran (Dele-Bashiru, 66), Gregory, Bannan (C), Famewo, Johnson, Smith, Flint.
Not used: Stockdale (GK), Brown, Bakinson, Shipston, Hunt, James.