Barnsley were beaten 2-1 at Derby County despite a spirited second half display.

The Reds were poor in the first half and trailed 2-0 at the break but much improved in the second half with Josh Benson netting.

The only change from the last league match saw Nicky Cadden, who was out with a calf problem, replaced by Luca Connell.

The hosts almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances in the fourth minute when Conor McCarthy fizzed a pass into the six-yard box for Brad Collins whose poor touch gifted the ball to Louis Sibley eight yards out but the goalkeeper made a fine one-on-one block.

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Collins was at fault for the goal in the eighth minute when former Reds captain Conor Hourihane’s right-wing corner was missed by the goalkeeper then deflected in at the back post. It was credited as a McCarthy own goal.

After a spell of intense Derby pressure, with several corners cleared, Barnsley settled down and began to attack. They should have levelled in the 22nd minute when Josh Benson robbed a defender on the right wing and crossed low to Norwood who was denied seven yards out by former Barnsley goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.

The second goal looked likely to be vital and Derby got it in the 35th minute when a long ball down the left opened up the Reds then Tom Barkuizen was able to play a clever pass to the edge of the box where Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was totally unmarked and fired into the bottom left corner.

Jack Aitchison blazed over inside the six-yard box, when he looked certain to score, after a Connell free-kick was impressively headed back across goal by Norwood.

James Collins should have made it 3-0 but fired wide five yards out from Hourihane’s low left-wing cross.

Instead it was 2-1 when Benson received a pass from Thomas and his 20-yard shot was deflected past the goalkeeper. It was his second goal in four days after a late winner at Middlesbrough in the cup on Wednesday.

The Reds were on top for most of the rest of the game, with substitute Devante Cole firing wide from a Jordan Williams cross.

Mads Andersen headed just wide from a Josh Benson corner in injury-time.

Barnsley (3-4-1-2) Collins; Andersen, McCarthy (Cundy 84mins), Kitching; Williams, Connell (Oduor 84), Benson, Styles; Thomas; Norwood (Cole 63), Aitchison (Marsh 72).

Unused: Walton, Wolfe, Hondermarck.

Goals: Benson 66.

Derby (4-3-3): Wildsmith; Knight, Cashin, Stearman, Roberts; Bird, Hourihane, Sibley; Mendez-Laing, Collins, Barkhuizen (Forsyth 88).

Unused : Loach, Rooney, Thompson, Smith, McGoldrick, Dobbin.

Goals: McCarthy OG 8; Mendez-Laing 35.

AS IT HAPPENED
  • GAME UNDERWAY
  • 3:04pm
    1 Good start for the Reds. A good move on. the left ends. with the ball being crosses to Norwood and it hits him six yards out then he is tackled. For a second it looked as though he would score
  • 3:07pm
    4 Wow. Huge mix. up at the back for Barnsley. McCarthy fizzes a pass to Collins in the six. yard box, the goalkeeper tackles a heavy touch which gifts it to Louis Sibley six yards out but Collins makes a fine one on one block
  • 3:10pm
    GOAL: Derby take the lead, a Hourihane corner is missed by Collins and headed in
  • 3:13pm
    Conor McCarthy has. been credited with an own goal. It was a nightmare moment for Collins
  • 3:14pm
    Derby have had two more corners since the goal. Collins has caught the latest one
  • 3:17pm
    Derby well on top. Their fans are very loud and their team attacking a lot, with Barnsley just trying to hang in there at the moment
  • 3:20pm
    The last few minutes have been better for the Reds. They have had three ventures down the the left wing, none of which have come to anything, but at least they are getting forward a bit more after a tough 10-15 minute spell
  • 3:24pm
    22 Big chance for the Reds. Benson appears to win the ball on the right wing near the Derby box and cross to Norwood but he is denied from close range by the goalkeeper. He had little time to think about it
  • 3:26pm
    Drinks break being taken on this very hot day
  • 3:30pm
    Duff appeared to be telling his players just to calm downed settled down during that. drinks break. He also had a chat with the officials
  • 3:35pm
    Not much has happened since the drinks break but it's an even contest now
  • 3:36pm
    GOAL!
    Nathaniel Mendez-Laing doubles the lead
  • 3:38pm
    Barnsley totally opened up down the left then Barkhuizen picks out Mendez-Laing who is totally unmarked on the edge of the box and smashes into the bottom left corner
  • 3:39pm
    Derby win a corner. They are well on top now suddenly
  • 3:43pm
    That. corner was cleared but it is the hosts who are looking by far the stronger as we approach the break
  • 3:43pm
    Barnsley will just be desperate for half-time now to get in and regroup.
  • 3:46pm
    Two added minutes
  • 3:48pm
    HALF-TIME: Derby 2, Barnsley 0.
  • 4:06pm
    Late tackle by Cashin on Luke Thomas who looks in a lot of pain
  • 4:07pm
    YELLOW CARD
    Eiran Cashin booked
  • 4:09pm
    Huge change for the Reds. A Connell free-kick is headed brilliantly across goal by Norwood but Aitchison blazes over about six yards out when he looked sure to score
  • 4:13pm
    Barnsley have been the better side so far in this half, but they need to take their chances
  • 4:16pm
    Derby win a corner on the left
  • 4:16pm
    57 Hourihane's cross following the corner headed out by Andersen
  • 4:17pm
    First change sees former Barnsley loanee Korey Smith come on for Louis Sibley
  • 4:20pm
    58 Massive miss by the hosts. Hourihane crosses from the left and James Collins slides in to fire wide in the six yard box.
  • 4:22pm
    YELLOW CARD
    Conor McCarthy booked for a foul on Hourihane
  • 4:22pm
    Devante Cole comes on for James Norwood
  • 4:23pm
    GOAL!
    Josh Benson pulls one back!
  • 4:25pm
    Thomas lays the ball off to Benson whose 20 yard shot is deflected in
  • 4:28pm
    Another drinks break
  • 4:30pm
    71 Connell's corner is headed out
  • 4:30pm
    The Barnsley fans are much louder now, they seem more confident on the pitch. They are in this game
  • 4:31pm
    Marsh on for Aitchison
  • 4:35pm
    Barnsley have the momentum now. They are getting forward a lot but haven't created another big chance yet
  • 4:37pm
    78 Williams gets a cross in from the right but it's bit behind Cole who can only divert it well wide
  • 4:39pm
    80 Barnsley win a corner on the right
  • 4:40pm
    81 Connell's right wing corner is headed behind for another corner on the left
  • 4:40pm
    81 Benson corner from the left goes through everyone, but the referee gives a free-kick
  • 4:45pm
    Cundy on for McCarthy and Oduor for Connell who was injured
  • 4:49pm
    The visitors' momentum has been slowed by those injuries and changes but can they find it again?
  • 4:50pm
    Seven added minutes
  • 4:52pm
    Oduor played in and wins corner
  • 4:53pm
    90+2 Big chance for the visitors to level. Andersen heads a Benson corner just away from the top right corner
  • 4:56pm
    Corner is cleared then so are some follow up crosses. Derby hanging on
  • 4:57pm
    FULL-TIME: Derby 2, Barnsley 1. A much better second half from the visitors but they cannot level