A comfortable afternoon at Oakwell as the Reds make it back-to-back victories.
Barnsley extended their unbeaten run to three matches after comfortably brushing aside Steve Cotterill’s Birmingham City 2-0 at Oakwell.
Despite an early scare from former Reds captain, Marc Roberts’ close-range header, the Reds were ahead inside two minutes when Harvey Barnes crossed for Tom Bradshaw to slot in from close range.
The Reds pressed the Blues for the majority of the half, going close to extending their lead through Joe Williams and Lloyd Isgrove, with Tomasz Kuszczak making smart saves on both occasions.
Zeki Fryers doubled the lead with a low 25-yard free kick that flew into the bottom corner midway through the second half as the Reds continued to turn the screw.
Jota came close to grabbing a consolation 10 minutes from time with a powerful effort from range, but Adam Davies got everything behind it to keep the visitors out.
George Moncur went close twice in the closing stages with curling efforts that drifted just wide of the target as the Reds move to within six points of the play-offs with a game in hand over most of their rivals.
Facing his former side for the first time since leaving Oakwell, Roberts almost opened the scoring within 90 seconds, heading David Cotterill’s free kick straight at Adam Davies.
A swift attack followed from the hosts and it yielded the opening goal, with the in-form Harvey Barnes breaking down the left and squaring for Tom Bradshaw to notch his ninth goal of the season.
An audacious Brad Potts volley failed to hit the target shortly afterwards following a long spell of Reds possession, with Cotterill bending a low free kick straight at Adam Davies in reply.
Following cries of ‘shoot’ from the crowd following his stunner in midweek, Joe Williams tried to replicate the strike, but only stung the palms of Tomasz Kuszczak.
After the Blues struggled to clear their lines from a free kick, shouts for a penalty from Liam Lindsay’s shot were waved away, before another stunning save from Kuszczak denied Lloyd Isgrove from close range.
Another penalty appeal against Bradshaw this time was turned down midway through the half when he went down under the forceful challenge of Harlee Dean.
Jota almost punished the hosts for not taking their chances with a delicious cross into the centre that was just out of the reach of Lukas Jutkiewicz but the Reds took their advantage into half time.
HALF TIME: Barnsley 1-0 Birmingham City
The second half restarted at a somewhat quieter pace with chances few and far between for either side.
Great work from Zeki Fryers down the left produced a great crossing opportunity that Roberts had to put behind under pressure from Isgrove at the back post.
A swift counter led by Harvey Barnes was halted prematurely as former Red Roberts chopped him down in full flight, picking up a yellow card for his troubles.
The Reds did eventually double their lead on 68 minutes from a free kick out on the left-hand side of the pitch.
After Bradshaw was upended, Fryers bent in a delicious ball that went through everyone and nestled in the bottom corner for the full-back’s first goal for the Reds.
In reply, Jota failed to grab a consolation after taking aim from the edge of the area late on, with Davies getting down well to smother the effort.
It could even have been three for the Reds had George Moncur’s hit the target with two finessed efforts, and Bradshaw was thwarted inside the box by Kuszczak after a superb ball by Potts.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side head off into the international break with another great result to kick off November.
FULL TIME: Barnsley 2-0 Birmingham City
Reds: Davies (GK), Yiadom, MacDonald (c), Lindsay, Fryers, Williams, Potts, Moncur, Isgrove (Hammill, 61’ ), Bradshaw (Thiam, 88’ ), Barnes (Hedges, 78’ ).
Subs: Walton (GK), McCarthy, Ugbo, Bird.
Birmingham City: Kuszczak (GK), Nsue, Roberts, Dean, Grounds, Davis (c), Kieftenbeld, Cotterill (Adams, 68’ ), Jota, Gallagher, Jutkiewicz (Boga, 75’ ).
Subs: Trueman (GK), Gardner, N’Doye, Maghoma, Morrison.