DERBY County finally managed to beat their bogey side Barnsley to secure their first back-to-back victories in 24 npower Championship matches.
The Reds had looked on course to stretch their unbeaten run against the Rams to nine matches, but James O’Connor made the breakthrough in the 69th minute and substitute Nathan Tyson provided the knockout blow in the dying seconds.
O’Connor latched onto Richard Keogh’s header to fire home left-footed from eight yards, and in the 90th minute Tyson, who had replaced Conor Sammon, despatched a delightful 20 yarder past goalkeeper Luke Steele to give Nigel Clough’s in-form side their third win in four matches.
Defeat left Barnsley looking anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation places after suffering three successive defeats for the first time this season.
Prior to the game Reds boss Keith Hill had hit out at what he perceives as media negativity surrounding the club, but his team are clearly struggling for goals in the absence of injured top scorer Craig Davies.
They looked relatively comfortable in a goalless first half but the closest they came to finding the net was a smart shot from former Rams midfielder Tomasz Cywka that home goalkeeper Adam Legzdins did well to turn over the top.
Derby had made a confident start and in the ninth minute striker Sammon produced a neat turn and shot 10 yards out but the ball flew over Steele’s crossbar.
Hill had made four changes from the Barnsley side that lost 1-0 at Hull at the weekend, and one of the men recalled to the starting line-up, striker Chris Dagnall, got on the end of a nice 13th minute break down the left but sent his 12-yard shot narrowly wide.
The Derby fans urged their side forward and after 23 minutes a long-range effort from Jeff Hendrick brought a fine save from Steele.
Cywka was then thwarted by Legzdins, but the Rams roused themselves as half-time approached and Steele had to make a couple of notable stops to deny both Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick.
The first real chance of the second half was created by Barnsley, Cywka’s low drive being deflected into the side netting.
Derby had appeals for a 55th-minute penalty waved away by referee David Coote after Craig Bryson tumbled to the turf and seconds later Barnsley broke to the other end and Dagnall’s left-footed shot was well parried by Legzdins.
Steele then produced a great reaction save to keep out Paul Coutts’ deflected free-kick, but he could not prevent O’Connor from finally making the breakthrough before Tyson settled the issue with his sublime late strike.
Derby: Legzdins, Brayford, Roberts, Keogh, O’Connor, Bryson, Coutts, Hendrick, Hughes, Robinson, Sammon.
Subs: Deeney, Buxton, O’Brien, Jacobs, Davies, Freeman, Tyson.
Subs: Steele, Golbourne, Wiseman, McNulty, Cranie, Kennedy, Dawson, Cywka, Mellis, Dagnall, Etuhu.
Subs: Alnwick, Hassell, Foster, O’Brien, Done, Silva, Harewood.
Read Neil Goulding’s account in tomorrow’s Star.