A CLINICAL first-half performance from Barnsley blew Nigel Clough’s in-form Rams away.
The visitors simply couldn’t live with the rampant Reds in the opening half hour as they stormed into a 3-0 lead.
The victory swiftly wiped away the bitter memory of their disappointing home defeat against Millwall last time out.
Only two of the Reds’ new boys made it into Keith Hill’s starting 11 last night.
While permanent captures Scott Golbourne and Stephen Dawson didn’t make it, in came loan midfielders Michael Tonge and Korey Smith for their debuts.
The Reds certainly didn’t miss outgoing leading scorer Ricardo Vaz Te early on as they opened the scoring after just 11 minutes to rapidly dent the Rams’ recent record of three straight clean sheets.
And it was a simply worked strike with Craig Davies playing a slide-rule pass into Matty Done’s path as he steered a low drive comfortably past Frank Fielding.
It got even better 12 minutes later as some sloppy Rams defending was punished with a second goal.
With Done chasing David Perkins’ long ball into the corner of the penalty box, he was clumsily shoved by John Brayford, leaving referee Mr Woolmer to point immediately to the spot. Andy Gray coolly slotted home the resulting penalty.
Just past the half hour mark the hosts amazingly stretched their lead still further with Scott Wiseman latching onto Smith’s pass before deftly lifting a shot over Fielding for his first Reds goal.
It was turning out to be a miserable return to Oakwell for ex-Barnsley skipper Jason Shackell, who trudged off at half time with boos from both sets of fans ringing in his ears.
The Rams did respond to what must have been a stern talking to from Clough at the interval and upped their tempo, but still they lacked potency to get past centre-backs Rob Edwards and Stephen Foster.
That was until the Rams finally did strike with 20 minutes to go.
A needless free-kick was conceded by the Reds some 25 yards out and Jamie Ward, formerly of Sheffield United, wasted no time in belting it home superbly past a stunned Luke Steele.
Thankfully the mini-revival didn’t last, but the Reds didn’t help themselves by missing two decent chances to restore their three goal cushion.
Firstly Done scuffed a shot from just inside the box, then Davies found himself in acres of space before smashing an effort crudely wide.
Ward responded with a shot which whistled inches past the angle of the post and crossbar, while the Rams bench were screaming at the referee after Callum Ball tumbled under a challenge in the box from Foster before Tom Carroll did pounce for a stoppage time second goal for the visitors, but the Reds held on to secure a well deserved victory.
BARNSLEY (4-4-2): Steele 7; Wiseman 7 (Hassell 86, 6), Foster 8, Edwards 7, McNulty 8; Tonge 6 (Doyle 66, 7), Smith 7 (Noble-Lazarus 78, 6), Done 8, Perkins 7; Gray 8, Davies 7.
Subs not used: Preece, Dagnall.
Goals: Done 11, Gray (pen) 23, Wiseman 31
DERBY (4-5-1): Fielding 6; Brayford 5, Barker 7, Shackell 5, Roberts 7; Hendrick 5, Carroll 7, Ball 6, Noble 4 (Tyson 58, 6), Bryson 5; Ward 7.
Subs not used: Legzdins, Buxton, Davies, Bailey.
Goals: Ward 70, Carroll 90+3)
Referee: Andy Woolmer