Barnsley remain firmly in control of their Play-Off Semi-Final against Walsall, leading 1-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate thanks to Adam Hammill’s calm finish.
In an end-to-end encounter, the winger’s close range finish after 18 minutes settled home nerves and gave the visitors a comfortable cushion.
Adam Davies made an unbelievable save to prevent Walsall getting back into the game while Ashley Fletcher and Sam Winnall both had efforts smartly saved by Neil Etheridge.
The Reds stopper again did well to prevent Romaine Sawyers cutting the deficit as the Reds went in at the break firmly on top.
Adam Hammill was the first to test Neil Etheridge after five minutes, bending a luscious effort straight into the stopper’s gloves from the edge of the area.
Conor Hourihane’s eighth minute corner was glanced inches wide of the mark by Alfie Mawson before Hammill was cautioned for a trip on Walsall’s Tom Bradshaw on the edge of the box.
Andy Taylor sent the resulting free kick over the top of Adam Davies’ wall before the Reds extended their aggregate advantage.
Conor Hourihane’s delightful ball in fell to the feet of Adam Hammill and he gleefully rolled the ball into the corner of Etheridge’s goal for a 4-0 lead over the two legs.
Tom Bradshaw fired well wide of the target before an intricate move saw Josh Brownhill’s effort rebound away off Etheridge for a corner, which came to nothing.
Adam Davies worryingly went down injured after claiming Sam Mantom’s 22nd minute corner but was able to carry on to the delight of the travelling fans behind his goal.
An error in the Barnsley rearguard almost let Bradshaw in but the visitors scrambled the ball to safety and Rico Hentry’s low centre was turned just wide by Romaine Sawyers.
Another inviting Hourihane free kick was headed straight at Etheridge by Sam Winnall before acrobatics from Davies helped preserve Barnsley’s clean sheet.
Bradshaw met a cross from the right with power but the goalkeeper produced unbelievable heroics to claw the ball away before Ashley Fletcher’s close range header was kept out well by Etheridge on 33 minutes.
The Manchester United loanee could have doubled the Reds’ tally on the night, firing across Etheridge on 35 minutes but the Philippines international turned his shot away to safety.
Davies got down well to deny Sawyers moments later as the Reds closed out the half with Paul Downing’s booking for a trip on Hammill the final action of note.
Reds: Davies, Scowen, Roberts, Mawson, G. Williams, Isgrove, Hourihane, Brownhill, Hammill, Fletcher, Winnall.
Subs: Townsend, Nyatanga, McCourt, Toney, Tuton, Chapman, A. White.
Walsall: Etheridge, Demetriou, O’Connor, Downing, Taylor, Chambers, Mantom, Henry, Sawyers, Bradshaw, Hiwula.
Subs: MacGillvray, Forde, Lalkovic, Preston, Morris, Cook, Kinsella.