Barnsley 6 Rochdale 1: Winnall hat-trick in Reds' six of the best
Barnsley continued their march up the Sky Bet League One table as they bagged a fifth win in their last six games, this time at Rochdale's expense.
Sam Winnall was the star of the show again for the rejuvenated Reds, scoring a brilliant second-half hat-trick as his side registered an emphatic Roses victory.
The Reds had been good value for their 1-0 half-time lead at Oakwell.
They went in front after just eight minutes, with centre-back Alfie Mawson glancing home a header from Adam Hammill’s in-swinging free-kick to register his sixth goal of the season.
Hammill then produced a spectacular half-volley from almost 30 yards that only just cleared the crossbar.
Keith Hill’s Rochdale responded with Callum Camps seeing a goal-bound effort hacked almost off the line by George Williams. while at the other end Marley Watkins dragged a low drive just drive just wide from just outside the Dale box.
Sam Winnall almost finished a brilliant Reds team move just before the interval, but his strike lacked power and Josh Lillis saved.
Dale were on top in the early stages of the second period, and Ian Henderson was denied by a good near-post save from Adam Davies.
However, in the 53rd minutes the Reds doubled their lead with a breakaway goal.
Hammill charged menacingly down the left flank before crossing in for Winnall to side-foot home his 13th goal of the season.
With 25 minutes left Rochdale halved the deficit with a rather scruffy goal as sub Nathaniel Mendez-Laing headed home Michael Rose’s cross, but the Reds soon re-instated their two-goal advantage.
Winnall made it 3-1 in the 69th minute, tapping home his second goal of the day after meeting sub Ashley Fletcher’s perfectly-weighted cross.
Marley Watkins made it 4-1 with five minutes to go - smashing home from 12 yards after being played in expertly by main man Winnall.
Winnall completed his dream treble in the 90th minute, heading into an unguarded net after Fletcher’s handy knock-down.
Still there waa time for another goal, with Kevin Long heading home Hourihane’s cross to complete a magical SIX for the rampant Reds.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies; Bree, Long, Mawson, G Williams; Isgrove, Hourihane, Brownhill, Hammill; Winnall, Watkins. Subs: Townsend, R Williams, Roberts, Fletcher, Scowen, H White, Templeton.
Rochdale (4-1-4-1): Lillis; Cannon, Lancashire, McNulty, Rose; Camps; Lund, McDermott, Vincenti, Henderson; Andrew.
Subs: Diba-Musangu, Rafferty, Bennett, Noble-Lazarus, Mendez-Laing, Allen, Bunney.
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham).