Last season’s final-day survival drama back at Huddersfield seemed like a million years ago, and rather than unbridalled joy and general pandemonium around the stadium before the kick-off today, the atmosphere - particularly around the home enclosures - was much more subdued.
Flitcroft’s Reds had endured a miserable 2013/14 campaign thus far and been thumped twice in the last week, while the Terriers were flying high under Robins.
While the hosts were still desperately seeking a first win of the season and seemed to be in disarray, Huddersfield had won four and drawn one of their last five games since their opening day defeat at Nottingham Forest. A win today would secure a best start to a campaign for some 30 years.
In Vaughan they also had a striker in devastating form with seven goals already, but it was the hosts who threatened first after two minutes.
Dawson wriggled expertly clear of his marker before crossing in for O’Grady, though he couldn’t quite control the ball first time and keeper Smithies charged off his line to make a save.
A minute later O’Grady tried to turn provider as he crossed in low from the left, only for Smithies to again make a save at his near post.
The burley Reds striker wasn’t to be denied in the seventh minute, however, as the Reds surged into an early lead.
Wiseman crossed in from the right, Pedersen touched the ball inadvertently to O’GRADY, and the big man rifled home his third goal of the season low in the right-hand corner.
Barnsley certainly didn’t look in disarray in the opening 10 minutes today, and soon after the lead was almost doubled.
The sun was now beating down at Oakwell as Etuhu shook off two would-be challengers before teeing up O’Grady, who curled a shot narrowly over the top.
Maybe the manager’s stern words in his programme column was having the desired effect.
The Terriers were having trouble simply breaking out of their own half, and when they did, the Reds’ back three of Wiseman, M’Voto and Kennedy were proving formidable obstacles.
Danger-man Vaughan was scarcely seeing the ball, and when he flung over a cross which drifted harmlessly out for a goal-kick, his frustration was clear.
The battling Reds continued to press and M’Voto headed straight at Smithies, before the 21st minute saw the Terriers finally register their first serious effort on goal.
It came from midfielder Norwood, who curled a shot a foot or so wide from 20 yards.