Watford 5 (Deeney 7, Faraoni 17, Forestieri 43, Murray 68, Anya 80)
Barnsley were simply outclassed by a Watford side that are, more than likely, going to be playing Premier League football next season.
It was a poor start from Barnsley and they allowed one of the most dangerous strikers in the league a free run at goal as Troy Deeney beat the offside trap down the left on seven minutes and finished tremendously past Steele.
Another seven minutes passed and it was the Reds’ turn to have their first real chance and they took it, too. Jason Scotland showed great strength before powering the ball in off the post from the edge of the box.
On 17 minutes there was another goal and it was for the visitors. A punt to the far stick found Faraoni completely unmarked and he volleyed home from a couple of yards.
The game hit a bit of a lull until the 32nd minute when Steele had to palm away a Forestieri header at one end before Mellis drilled a long-range drive wide at the other.
With two-and-a-half minutes to the break Watford doubled the deficit through Fernando Forestieri who had the simplest of tap-ins as he turned home Anya’s cross.
The Reds made a double change for the second period as Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Jim O’Brien replaced Stephen Dawson and Tom Kennedy.
Noble-Lazarus cracked in a free-kick that deflected and looped towards the far post on 50 minutes with the rebound from Etuhu being plucked from the air by Almunia.
After a lengthy break in play due to an injury to Lewis McGugan, Jacob Mellis was replaced by debutant Paddy McCourt on 58 minutes.
The calming yet creative influence of McCourt really made a difference and great build-up from the right with Scotland to Perkins and O’Grady saw the latter have his edge-of-the-box effort deflect wide. Moments later Almunia pulled off a quite unbelievable save from Martin Cranie on 62 minutes – the Reds were upping it.
On 68 minutes Watford added another and it came from absolutely nothing. Sean Murray took aim from 25 yards and zipped in low to Steele’s left.
From the scraps of an O’Brien delivery, Noble-Lazarus lined up a volley from 25 yards but Almunia gathered to his right on 76 minutes.
With the Reds chasing the game Watford found another gap and it was from Ikechi Anya who sprinted practically the length of the pitch before despatching for 5-1 and less than ten minutes left.
The last five minutes was exhibition football from the Hornets whose passes were greeted with cheers by their travelling fans.
The match was summed up in stoppage time as Jason Scotland latched onto Reuben Noble-Lazarus’ excellent pull-back but he fired wide with the whole goal to aim at 12 yards out.
Man of the match sponsored by Napoleon’s: Jason Scotland
Attendance: 9850 (846 away)
Fourth Official: Mark Griffiths
Assistant Referees: Paul Hodskinson & Nigel Murphy
Referee: Richard Clark
Subs Ekstrand, Acuna, Pudil, Fabbrini, Bond.
Watford: Almunia, Angella, Deeney, McGugan (Battocchio 74), Forestieri, Doyley (Belkalem 65), Murray, Faraoini, Anya, Iriney, Cassetti.
Subs: Dagnall, Cywka, M'voto, Rose.
Reds: Steele, Ramage, Kennedy (Noble-Lazarus 46), Cranie, Dawson (c) (O’Brien 46), Scotland, O'Grady, Perkins, Wiseman, Mellis (McCourt 58), Etuhu.