Ipswich 4 Barnsley 2: Reds hit by Ward hat-trick
Barnsley's return to the Championship after a two-year exile ended in defeat as Ipswich sub Grant Ward bagged a smart second-half hat-trick.
The Reds found themselves 3-1 behind and battled back with Marley Watkins flicking home, but the brilliant Ward finished off the Reds as he completed a dream debut.
Seven Wembley play-off final winners were in the Reds’ starting line-up at Portman Road, with Aidy White returning to the XI and Andy Yiadom, Tom Bradshaw and Ryan Kent making debuts.
It was a hugely satisfactory goalless first half from Paul Heckingbottom’s men.
At the back Marc Roberts and Alfie Mawson were solid throughout, while at the other end they created a number of chances.
Sub Watkins - on for early injury victim Sam Winnall - crossed in for Bradshaw, whose powerful header was superbly saved by Bartosz Bialkowski.
Adam Hammill saw a trademark curling effort fizz narrowly wide, while Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich responded with Freddie Sears testing Adam Davies.
At the end of the first period, Bradshaw was again by another smart Bialkowski save as the Reds were in charge.
However, within 30 seconds of the restart the Reds fell behind.
And it was sub Grant Ward who pounced, registering a debut goal less than a minute after coming on to replace Kevin Bru.
The Reds weren’t behind for long. Four minutes later Conor Hourihane volleyed home to make it 1-1 after being tee’d up by Watkins.
Ward restored Ipswich’s lead on the hour mark, before David McGoldrick made it 3-1 two minutes later, slotting home from the spot after Yiadom had upended Daryl Murphy. Ipswich (4-4-2): Bialkowski, Chambers, Webster, Berra, Knudsen, Bishop (Ward 46). Skuse, Bru (Grant 46), Murphy, McGoldrick (Pitman 82), Sears.
Subs not used: Gerken, Smith, Douglas, Digby.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies, Yiadom, Roberts, Mawson, White, Hammill, Scowen, Hourihane, Kent (Payne 73), Bradshaw (Moncur 73), Winnall (Watkins, 4). Subs not used: Townsend, Nyatanga, Lee, Bree.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Ipswich scorers: Ward 46, 61, 83 McGoldrick (pen) 63.
Barnsley: Hourihane 49, Watkins 74.