Devante Cole bagged a brace as Barnsley registered a fifth straight league win with a 2-0 home victory over Burton Albion on Saturday.

Cole opened the scoring before the break then added another midway through the second half, taking his tally to eight this season.

The game was far from a classic but Reds were in control throughout against their relegation-threatened visitors.

Barnsley now have the most points after 20 games in a league season since 1980/81.

They are fourth with 36 points, four clear of the sides outside the top six and nine off the top two.

Michael Duff made three changes from the last game at Peterborough 15 days earlier. Tom Edwards and Adam Phillips dropped out of the squad with illness, with Matty Wolfe starting on his return from a three-month injury break and Robbie Cundy also starting. James Norwood came in for Jack Aitchison. Joe Ackroyd had been recalled from loan to Guiseley for cover in midfield and was on the bench.

After a quiet first 15 minutes, Jordan Williams fired high and wide from a tough chance at the back post after excellent work from Norwood who won a header then sent in a fine cross.

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Two minutes later the Reds broke from a Burton long throw with Norwood impressively touching the ball to Wolfe who sprinted about 40 yards then played in Herbie Kane on the left of the box but his weak shot was saved.

Kane also shot well wide from distance then Nicky Cadden blazed over on the left of the box 15 yards out.

At the other end, Burton appealed for a penalty for an alleged foul on former Barnsley striker Victor Adeboyejo who turned Cundy and fell to the floor.

The Reds took the lead in the 36th minute through a fine team goal. Liam Kitching’s excellent crossfield pass from the left was controlled by Williams on the right of the box and he cleverly passed to the onrushing Wolfe who crossed low for Cole to flick in.

Connell tried to make it 2-0 from almost 30 yards but his powerful strike went just wide of the top right corner.

After very little happened for 20 minutes after the break, Burton defender Corrie Ndaba’s shot went well over from outside the box. Seconds later, Brad Collins had to make his first save of the game, springing to his left to easily keep out a header by Sam Hughes after a scramble in the box.

It was 2-0 on 74 minutes when Cadden brilliantly beat a man on the left of the box and sent in a low cross which Cole tapped in almost on the line.

Kane almost scored an own goal but his clearance just missed the bottom left corner then another Hughes header brought another simple save out of Collins.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Collins; Cundy, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Wolfe (Aitchison 58mins), Connell, Kane, Cadden; Norwood (Jalo 75), Cole (Martin 89).

Unused: Walton, Moon, Ackroyd, Larkeche.

Yellow cards: Connell.

Goals: Cole 36, 74.

Burton (4-5-1): Garratt; Brayford, Hughes, Ndaba (Borthwick-Jackson 76mins), Hamer; Kamwa (Smith HT), Taylor, Oshilaja, Onyango (Carayol 76), Dodoo; Adeboyejo. Unused: Sinisalo, Butcher, Mariappa, Keillor-Dunn

Yellow cards: Taylor.

  • 3:04pm
    2 Long throw set. up by Tom Hamer but played short and Burton cannot cross it in
  • 3:06pm
    4Another long Burton throw, cleared and the first shot of the game is taken by Tyler Onyango but he shoots well wide from 20 yards
  • 3:07pm
    5 Herbie Kane wins a corner on the left after a decent passing move
  • 3:08pm
    6 Connell corner from the left. It leads to a scramble with Wolfe's header blocked
  • 3:09pm
    Wolfe has usually been a defensive midfielder for Barnsley but he's playing in a more attacking role today with Connell anchoring
  • 3:11pm
    Barnsley have had most of the ball ion the last few minutes and are passing it well
  • 3:13pm
    It's been a flat start really to this game overall, both on the pitch and in the stands
  • 3:15pm
    Burton have settled pretty deep here and are asking Barnsley to break them down. They try a long ball to Adeboyejo but Andersen gets there first and heads back to Collins
  • 3:16pm
    Burton win a corner on the right after a poor pass. by Wolfe and an attack on the right wing
  • 3:17pm
    14 Right wing corner by Terry Taylor, whistle goes I think because the ball has gone out of play but Corrie Ndaba heads over anyway
  • 3:18pm
    15 Good work by Norwood, wins a header then gets it back from Cadden and whips a cross in from, the left which Cole just misses then Williams fires high and wide at a very tight angle at the back post
  • 3:20pm
    Big chance. Great counter attack by the Reds from a Burton long throw. Norwood brilliantly touches it to Wolfe who sprints about 40 yards with it then plays in Kane on the left of the box but his shot is weak and easily saved.
  • 3:24pm
    Nearly halfway through this half. Barnsley definitely the more threatening and dominating the ball
  • 3:25pm
    23 Kane shoots from about 25 yards. It trickles well wide of the left post with the goalkeeper not moving
  • 3:28pm
    Barnsley are playing all the way out from the back. today with no pressing from the visitors
  • 3:29pm
    The game has just gone into a bit of a lull again after a decent period of Barnsley pressure
  • 3:31pm
    28 Burton want a penalty after Victor Adeboyejo receives a low cross from the right and tries to spin Cundy then goes down. Referee Andy Haines says no
  • 3:32pm
    Another Reds chance. Cadden is. played in on the left and blazes well over from about 15 yards
  • 3:35pm
    Luca Connell is having a. good game, winning the ball regularly and trying to drive Barnsley forward. He does sop again and gives it to Norwood but the return pass is underhit
  • 3:36pm
    As I type that, Connell stays down with an injury. Another midfielder hurt is the last thing the Reds want
  • 3:36pm
    Connell is up now and hobbling to the side
  • 3:37pm
    Connell is OK and rejoins the game
  • 3:38pm
    Devante Cole
  • 3:39pm
    Williams brings down a crossfield ball on the right and cleverly plays it to the onrushing Wolfe on the right of the box and his low cross is flicked in by Cole for his sixth of the season
  • 3:42pm
    It's not been a good game but Barnsley probably deserve that for being on top most of the time
  • 3:43pm
    41 Burton corner on the right headed out
  • 3:45pm
    43 Luca Connell strikes from almost 30 yards and it goes just wide of the top right corner
  • 3:50pm
    HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1, Burton 0. Devante Cole's goal the difference
  • 4:07pm
    Burton bring on Jonny Smith for Bobby Kamwa
  • 4:07pm
  • 4:10pm
    Luca Connell first name in the book for a foul on the left wing
  • 4:10pm
    Free-kick is cleared. then Deji Oshilaja smashes well over from long range
  • 4:13pm
    Norwood tries to cross from the left, it's blocked, he sends in another good cross an d the goalkeeper claws it away
  • 4:14pm
    Devante Cole's goal today means he is Barnsley's top-scorer in 2022 with eight, moving ahead of Carlton Morris
  • 4:16pm
    Not a great deal has happened this half but the Reds look comfortable
  • 4:17pm
    Break here for a Burton injury
  • 4:18pm
    Back under way
  • 4:20pm
    Barnsley take off Wolfe for Jack Aitchison. Wolfe has put in a good shift on his return from injury and must be pretty tired
  • 4:22pm
    Burton win a corner on the left
  • 4:23pm
    60 Burton play. the corner short then the cross is headed out by Connell . Norwood leads a counter with several men. over but gets the pass wrong and played it behind his frustrated team mates
  • 4:26pm
    Almost 20 minutes into the second half and Burton are. yet to create anything resembling a chance. Barnsley haven't either after the break but still look in control
  • 4:28pm
    65 Cundy loses the ball and Williams has to concede a corner on the left
  • 4:28pm
    66 Burton's left wing corner is headed out by Cundy then Corrie Ndaba shoots over from outside the box
  • 4:31pm
    68 A cross from the left results in some head tennis and Collins has to make his first save of the game, diving to his left to catch a Sam Hughes header
  • 4:34pm
    Burton coming back into this a little bit. Barnsley have looked less in control since bringing on Aitchison and changing system.
  • 4:36pm
    Devante Cole doubles the lead
  • 4:37pm
    Sensational work by Nicky Cadden on the left of the box. Bamboozling a defender then whipping in a low cross which Cole tapped in from almost on the line
  • 4:39pm
    Devante Cole now has as many goals against Burton today as he managed in 16 games for them in 18/19. He really has stepped up this season when the Reds needed him
  • 4:39pm
    Fabio Jalo came on for Norwood just after that goal
  • 4:41pm
    78 Nearly an own goal by Kane as he slides into clear a low corner from the left and almost finds the bottom left corner
  • 4:44pm
    81 Collins again saves from Sam Hughes, easily catching after a cross from the left is headed by the defender
  • 4:47pm
    9423 (172 from Burton).
  • 4:50pm
    Josh Martin comes on for Devante Cole
  • 4:52pm
    Four added minutes
  • 4:53pm
    Terry Taylor booked for flooring Connell
  • 4:56pm
    This game has petered out a bit but the Reds are heading for a comfortable win
  • 4:56pm
    A third save of the second half for Collins as Brayford heads straight into his lap
  • 4:57pm
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 2, Burton Albion 0. A fifth straight league win for the Reds