BATTLING Barnsley climbed off the Championship basement with a gutsy home victory over Millwall.
Chris Dagnall’s fourth goal in as many games and Jason Scotland’s sweet strike on his debut did the damage as the resurgent Reds leapfrogged fellow relegation-threatened Bristol City and Peterborough.
The impressive Dagnall fired home 11 minutes into the second half and then, having been on the pitch for less then two minutes, new signing Scotland lashed home to make sure of the points.
Boss David Flitcroft had made three changes with Stephen Foster recalled in place of Bobby Hassell, while John Stones replaced Scott Wiseman at right wing-back. Midfielder Jacob Mellis dropped to the bench with Jim O’Brien given the chance to impress.
Marlon Harewood teed Dagnall up in the seventh minute, but his fellow striker shot wide of the left post.
Defender Tom Kennedy was guilty of carelessly giving the ball away to John Marquis and the winger’s cross was volleyed over by the unmarked Andy Keogh.
Stones, who could leave the club in the transfer window, had a shot charged down in the box after former Sheffield Wednesday defender Mark Beevers conceded a corner.
Not long after Kelvin Etuhu burst through the middle of the park, combined well with Stones, and then dragged a right-foot shot wide of the left upright.
A left-foot shot from Harewood flew wide of the right post and then keeper David Forde came to the rescue with a sliding lunge to clear the danger with Dagnall bearing down.
Three minutes after the break man-of-the-match O’Brien was denied by a fine fingertip save from Forde following a surging run, while Dagnall hit the outside of the post from close-range after some solid defending from Liam Feeney.
But eventually the opening came – and it went the right way.
Dagnall was rewarded for his tireless efforts when burst through the heart of the visitors’ defence and picked out the bottom left corner with a clinical finish.
It was Dagnall’s sixth of the season and one which gave the Reds the momentum to bag a second goal 11 minutes later.
Having seen Etuhu attempt an audacious lob from distance, David Perkins pierced the Lions’ defence, picked out Scotland, and the former Ipswich man lashed into the top left-hand corner.
Millwall broke on the counter, but Steele snatched the ball off Marquis in a one-on-one.
Barnsley (3-5-2): Steele 6, Stones 7, Cranie 7, Foster 7, Kennedy 7, Golbourne 6, O’Brien 8 (Mellis 73), Etuhu 7, Perkins 8, Dagnall 8 (Rose 82), Harewood 6 (Scotland 66, 7). Subs: Alnwick, Hassell, Wiseman, Noble-Lazarus.
Millwall (4-4-2): Forde 6, A Smith 6, Shittu 5, Osbourne 5 (Lowry 64, 5), Beevers 5, Henry 6, Abdou 6, Trotter 6, Feeney 5 (Woolford 64, 5), Keogh 5 (Hulse 63, 5), Marquis 7. Subs: Taylor, Wright, Batt, J Smith.
Booked: Marquis (85), Henry (90)
MOM: Jim O’Brien – he pretty much ran the show all night for the Reds.