MATCH REPORT: Barnsley 2 Crystal Palace 1

Let's celebrate: The Barnsley players enjoy the winning feeling with two-goal here Ricardo Vaz Te, centre.'     Pictures: Steve ellis
Let's celebrate: The Barnsley players enjoy the winning feeling with two-goal here Ricardo Vaz Te, centre.' Pictures: Steve ellis
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RICARDO Vaz Te bagged a brilliant brace to fire Barnsley up to eighth in the Championship.

The Portuguese hitman struck after just NINE seconds - the fastest-ever goal record at Oakwell.

And then Vaz Te took his goal tally to six for the season, striking a 77th minute winner.

Earlier striker Jermaine Easter had scored a 33rd minute equaliser for the Eagles, but Vaz Te’s goal made sure the hosts climbed to within two points of the play-offs...that’s four successive league victories.

Reds manager Keith Hill made two changes to his side with Jay McEveley missing with a thigh strain and winger Matt Done dropped to the bench. Vaz Te started in place of Done, while David Perkins filled in for McEveley after left-back.

The decision to include Vaz Te in his starting XI reaped immediate dividends when he gave his side the lead so early on.

Having cut inside Nathaniel Clyne, Vaz Te leathered the ball into the top left-hand corner, giving keeper Julian Speroni no chance.

The Reds were nearly caught out in the 16th minute when Easter squared to skipper Darren Ambrose, but the midfielder curled a shot over.

On-song striker Craig Davies out-muscled centre-back Dekel Keinen moments later, but he too blazed over.

Newcastle United loan striker Nile Ranger then squandered a glorious chance, side-footing past the far post with only Speroni to beat.

Two minutes later Danny Drinkwater kept the Reds ahead when he headed Glenn Murray’s goalbound header off the line. Ambrose had a right-foot strike deflected wide for a corner as the Eagles pressed for an equaliser, which soon came through Easter. Centre-back Stephen Foster was to blame, his soft header back to Steele was intercepted by Easter who chipped the stranded keeper.

The visitors were galvanized and Wilfried Zaha smashed a power shot into the side netting, before Easter dragged a left-foot shot across the face of goal. Ambrose fired over three minutes before half-time, but the Reds could have led if Vaz Te had managed to get something on Jim O’Brien’s wicked ball into the box.

Ten minutes after the restart Bobby Hassell picked out Davies in the box, but the former Chesterfield man saw his left-foot shot on the turn well-saved by Speroni.

Vaz Te blazed over from a long-distance free-kick near the hour mark, while at the other end Ambrose forced a smart block from Steele.

Sub Scott Wiseman nearly scored having been on the pitch for just six minutes but his curler flew wide of the far post.

Then the Reds regained the lead. Skipper Jacob Butterfield tested Speroni with a thunderbolt and the keeper could only parry the ball. Vaz Te was there to beat the offside trap and fire home. Butterfield then tested Speroni with another strong shot, but this time Speroni saved well.

Sub Glenn Murray shot wide of Steele’s right post with 10 minutes remaining, but the hosts held out to keep their impressive charge up the table going.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Steele 6, Hassell 7, Foster 6, McNulty 7, Perkins 7, O’Brien 7, Butterfield 7 (Addison 82), Drinkwater 6 (Wiseman 45, 6), Vaz Te 8, Davies 7, Ranger 6 (Haynes 59, 6) Subs: Preece, Done

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni 7, Clyne 6, Keinen 5 (McCarthy 45, 5), Garnder 5, Ramage 6, Zaha 6, Dikgacoi 5, Wright 6, Ambrose 7, Easter 7 (Martin 59, 6), Murray 6. Subs: Price, Jedinak, Iversen

Booked: Ambrose, Garnder, McCarthy (Palace)

Referee: Tony Bates.

Attendance: 9,524