TWO second half goals for Barnsley saw them beat crisis-hit Portsmouth at Oakwell.
Pompey had feared they may not even be in a position to raise a team until yesterday, but credit to boss Michael Appleton and his staff, they managed to get a game on to please their rowdy travelling support.
The visitors had lost five out of their previous seven games though, and been deducted 10 points just hours before this one.
There was even a scare in the 17th minute when Perkins had to be alert to slide in and tackle Huseklepp as he threatened to charge through unopposed on goal.
Seconds later the visitors missed a great chance. The dangerous Ward stormed down Barnsley’s right before crossing for Norwegian international Huseklepp who screwed a poor shot inches wide from inside the box.
At the other end the hosts rallied and Davies saw a shot deflected for a corner-kick, but the Oakwell faithful were starting to demand a little more from their team.
Kitson was booked for a dangerous high challenge on Foster midway through the first half, but despite being handed a number of promising setpiece opportunities, Barnsley simply struggled to deliver.
The tigerish Perkins was then forced to limp off just before the half-hour mark with what looked like an ankle injury, and prospects weren’t improving for the hosts.
There were one or two stern challenges beginning to fly in as tempers began to fray slightly such was both teams’ frustrations at being able to break one another down, and in the 35th minute there was a lengthy stoppage after Pompey midfielder Ward had been clattered fairly yet strongly.
The atmosphere lifted somewhat five minutes before the break when the visitors were reduced to ten men.
Having already been booked once, Kitson lunged in with a knee-high challenge on Smith and referee Mr Ilderton immediately brandished a second yellow card and a red.
Neither manager saw fit to make a change at the interval, and it was the Reds who created the first chance of the second half.
Smith squeezed a neat ball though to Gray, only for his angled shot to be comfortably saved by Henderson.
Dagnall came on for Gray in the 64th minute as boss Hill took his first real throw of the dice in an attempt to finally break Pompey down, as it had been slow following an encouraging start to the second half.
Still the visiting fans sung their hearts out as their team continued to hang on defiantly.
Ward flew down the right wing before firing in a shot from an incredibly acute angle that Steele had to be alert to beat away at his near post.
Hill made his final substitution with 19 minutes left, throwing on Done for home debutant Golbourne, and that crucial breakthrough finally came quickly after.
Just when it seemed as though Pompey were going to hang on for a point, Smith touched the ball to O’BRIEN and he curled a low shot precisely past Henderson to hand the Reds the lead.
Pompey gamely stuck to their task and as their fans chanted ‘always look on the bright side of life’ Huseklepp and Futacs probed, but the Reds wrapped up victory deep into stoppage-time as sub DONE raced clear before slotting easily past Henderson.
A dominant second-half performance had secured a worthy victory for Hill’s men.