Barnsley are in the hat for Saturday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round draw after they saw off hosts Scunthorpe last night.
A much-improved second-half display paid dividends for the Reds as they ended what had been a busy transfer deadline day in fine style.
Lewin Nyatanga and Marley Watkins provided the firepower as Lee Johnson’s men bounced back from Saturday’s dismal league defeat at Rochdale purposefully.
Only one of the Reds’ three deadline day signings made last night’s starting line-up - goalkeeper Nick Townsend (strike pair Harry White and Michael Smith hadn’t registered in time) - and it was the visitors who started brightest at Glanford Park.
Barely two minutes had passed when Watkins crossed in for the recalled Sam Winnall, and he glanced a header narrowly wide.
However, the game then entered something of a lull as both sides merely probed for an opening.
The Iron were next go close when the tricky Hakeeb Adelakun found space in the box before seeing his shot smartly saved by Townsend.
Finally the Reds re-awoke from their slumber midway through the first period.
Dan Crowley fizzed an effort a whisker past the post, before Watkins was then guilty of an awful miss when it had looked easier to score.
After nipping in to intercept Sean McAllister’s weak back-pass, former Inverness man Watkins rounded Luke Daniels, only to then dither and allow the Iron ‘keeper to somehow scramble back and save on the line.
It was a stunning miss from Watkins, and the Iron almost made the Reds pay a handsome price for the error minutes later when Tom Hopper fired a strike narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
The final chance of a largely disappointing first half fell to the Reds in stoppage-time.
After Joe Rothwell had been crudely fouled 30 yards from goal, Crowley took aim from the free-kick, only to see the ball drift harmlessly over the top.
There was a lengthy hold-up at the start of the second period after Iron ‘keeper Daniels and Kadeem Harris clashed, but the pair recovered and the hosts set about trying to up their tempo.
Midfield man Kyle Wootton did well to find space and whip in a cross for Scott Wiseman, but the stretching former Reds’ wide-man couldn’t quite guide his effort towards goal.
The Reds finally broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute.
It was George Smith who provided the spadework, steadying before crossing for Nyatanga, who glanced home a neat header to register his second goal of the season and send the 400-strong travelling arm into raptures.
It probably was just about deserved for the Reds, and they nearly followed up with a second strike minutes later as Winnall nodded narrowly wide.
Winnall appeared determined to make his mark at his old stomping ground, and he came agonisingly close to a second goal after 73 minutes.
The Reds front-man picked his spot with a well-struck effort, only for Daniels to produce a superb one-handed save to keep the Iron in contention.
The Reds grabbed their second goal with just 14 minutes remaining.
This time Watkins atoned for his first-half howler when he drilled through the legs of Daniels to clock his second goal of the embryonic campaign.
Charlie Goode tapped home deep into stoppage-time for the Iron, but the Reds had pretty much cruised to well-deserved progression at the expense of former boss Mark Robins’ side.
Scunthorpe: Daniels, Wiseman, King (McSheffrey 66), Goode, Laird, Adelakun, McAllister, Bishop, Wallace, Hopper (Madden 68), Wootton (van Veen 72). Subs not used: Anyon, Syers.
Barnsley: Townsend, Wabara (Bree 56), Mawson, Nyatanga, Smith, Harris, Rothwell (Digby 81), Crowley (Wilkinson 86), Scowen, Watkins, Winnall. Subs not used: Hourihane, Roberts.
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire).