Goals from Callum Styles and Cauley Woodrow ensured Barnsley secured a hard-fought victory over newly promoted Wycombe Wanderers at Oakwell.
Styles’ low finish across goal from inside the box just after the half-hour mark gave the home side a deserved lead, but Joe Jacobson equalised from the spot for the Chairboys within five minutes of the restart.
However, the scores were not level for long, as Barnsley were awarded their own penalty less than 12 minutes later for a foul on Luke Thomas, and top scorer Woodrow duly stepped up to convert.
It was an otherwise largely uneventful battle between one of the longest-serving managers in the EFL in Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth, and one of the shortest in Valérien Ismaël.
Styles made his presence felt as the visitors began to be penned back following an even start, and he set up Callum Brittain to fire a shot narrowly over in the 25th minute in the first real chance.
The Reds continued to dominate until the break, and could have doubled their lead were it not for Woodrow’s fierce strike being palmed away by visiting goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Ismaël had yesterday predicted this contest could be decided by set-pieces given Wycombe’s defensive nature, and he was proved right as penalties were exchanged and scored to begin the second half.
Wycombe showed flashes of threat as time wore on, with Jack Walton claiming a through ball that substitute Fred Onyedinma would otherwise have run onto.
However, the home side reasserted their dominance to close the match out, and were unfortunate not to extend their lead in the final ten minutes, as they again forced Allsop into action.
He first denied substitute Dominik Frieser from close range, before claiming Herbie Kane’s 25-yard free kick as the three points were rubber-stamped.
Barnsley were good value for their victory, and will now head into Saturday’s derby with Sheffield Wednesday full of confidence.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers
REDS XI: Walton (GK), Sollbauer, Halme, Andersen, Brittain, James (Kane, 64), Mowatt (c) (Palmer, 82), Styles, Thomas, (Frieser, 64), Woodrow, Chaplin (Adeboyejo, 64).
Not used: Collins (GK), Oduor, Helik, Miller, Schmidt.
WYCOMBE XI: Allsop, Grimmer, Jacobson, Gape, Wheeler (Bloomfield, 84), Kashket (Onyedinma, 75), Knight, Horgan (Samuel, 84), McCleary, Akinfenwa (c) (Mehmeti, 84), McCarthy.
Not used: Stockdale (GK), Pattison, Freeman, Adeniran, Parker.