Devante Cole was the two-goal hero as Barnsley gave their promotion ambitions a major boost with a 4-1 home victory over fellow contenders Derby County on Saturday.

Cole and Adam Phillips put the hosts 2-0 up then, after Derby pulled one back, the inspired Cole netted again to make it 3-1 at the end of a frantic first half in which both teams had chances but Barnsley were better and more clinical.

After the break, the Reds controlled the game and Derby barely threatened until the final minutes, before former Derby man Luke Thomas completed the rout.

It was a sixth win in seven games for Michael Duff’s side who overtook their visitors into fifth place. They are now six points clear in the play-off places and nine off the top two.

It was fantastic day for the Reds as their biggest crowd of the season, 17,145, witnessed a deserved win a a potentially massive victory in the promotion chase.

Nicky Cadden returned at left wing-back in place of Ziyad Larkeche having missed the 4-0 win at Cheltenham due to the birth of his son. Oli Shaw was not in the squad.

The Reds had a big chance after five minutes when Cole cleverly flicked Herbie Kane’s pass to Adam Phillips who was through on the left of the box. But his shot went between the bottom right corner and the sliding James Norwood’s outstretched foot.

Bobby Thomas then headed a Luca Connell left-wing free-kick just wide of the left post in the 11th minute.

Derby’s Harvey White saw a 20-yard shot scrambled away by Harry Isted, who made a better save to tip over a Jason Knight volley.

The opening goal came when Cole charged down a clearance by Craig Forsyth and Norwood was tackled in the box with Phillips challenging aerially then the ball rolling towards goal for Cole to tap in for his ninth of the season. Derby wanted offside but Cole appeared to be level with Forsyth throughout the scramble.

Cole almost got another within seconds as he was played through on the right of the penalty area by a long pass but his shot from a tight angle was punched away by Joe Wildsmith.

Derby almost levelled when Tom Barkhuizen’s header from a right-wing corner looped onto the crossbar. David McGoldrick then saw a free-kick tipped wide by Isted.

The second goal began with good passing in the Reds half before Kane’s excellent ball from the left to Norwood on the right wing who laid it back to Jordan Williams to square for Phillips to find the bottom left corner from the edge of the box. It was his eighth goal of the season in all competitions.

McGoldrick made it 2-1 almost instantly when Conor Hourihane’s pass was missed by Mads Andersen and Bobby Thomas to put the striker through to dink the ball over Isted.

Cole charged down goalkeeper Wildsmith and blocked the kick with his head, the ball curling just wide of the goal and Cole requiring treatment.

Barnsley made it 3-1 just before the break. Cole brilliantly beat two players with a run from his own half then swapped passes with Norwood, who produced a wonderful back heel flick, before Cole found Williams on the right. The wing-back crossed low to Norwood whose first attempted shot was blocked high into the air then his overhead kick turned into an assist for Cole who fired in from close range.

In the second half, Barnsley contained their visitors who had most of the ball but struggled to create chances. Forsyth blazed over from just inside the box late on then Isted made a tremendous double save from close range with a third effort being fired wide from close range by Lewis Dobbin in the 89th minute.

Substitute Luke Thomas finished Derby off in injury-time with a shot from outside the box into the empty net after he was gifted the ball.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Isted; B Thomas, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Kane (Martin 81mins), Connell, Phillips (Russell 81), Cadden; Cole (L Thomas 73mins), Norwood (Tedic 73).

Unused: Searle, Cotter, Larkeche.

Yellow cards: B Thomas, Kitching.

Goals: Cole 21, 43, Phillips 33, L Thomas 90+3.

Derby (4-2-3-1): Wildsmith; Smith, Cashin, Forsyth, Sibley (Roberts 78mins); Hourihane (Springett 78), White (Collins 61mins), Knight; Mendez-Laing, McGoldrick, Bartkhuizen (Dobbin 61). Unused: McGee, Thompson, Davies.

Goals: McGoldrick 35.

  • 3:04pm
    Adam Phillips wins a big tackle after 15 seconds and the home fans love it. Great atmosphere in here
  • 3:06pm
    No attacks really in the first four minutes, a couple of aimless long balls at both ends. Teams just settling down
  • 3:08pm
    5 Big early chance for the hosts. An excellent Cole touch put Phillips through on the left of the box and his shot is wide of the bottom right corner with Norwood sliding in but not touching it home
  • 3:10pm
    Good start for the Reds. They've put the home defence and goalkeeper under pressure with good pressing and put some testing balls into the box
  • 3:12pm
    Still Barnsley with most of the ball. A far better opening ten minutes than in the last top six clash against Bolton
  • 3:13pm
    11 Barnsley free-kick on the left. 25 yards out. Connell takes and Bobby Thomas heads it wide of the left post about 12 yards out
  • 3:15pm
    13 Derby's first attack ofd note leads to Williams turning a cross behind for a corner
  • 3:16pm
    14 Derby corner on the left by Hourihane, caught by Isted
  • 3:17pm
    15 Joe Wildsmith fumbles behind for a corner. after aConnell found Norwood whose cross was deflected
  • 3:18pm
    16 Barnsley players all stand at the back post for the Cadden corner then sprint into different positions. A new tactic but it is cleared
  • 3:20pm
    18 Derby have their first shot. Harvey White takes aim from outside the box and his. low effort is straight at Isted who does not look comfortable but scrambles away with his legs
  • 3:21pm
    19 Much better save by Isted. A cross from the right is deflected and drops for Jason Knight just inside the. box.The dipping volley is tipped over
  • 3:22pm
    The corner is cleared to Knight who fires well over
  • 3:23pm
    Devante Cole opens the scoring
  • 3:24pm
    A really scrappy one tapped in on the line
  • 3:26pm
    Derby almost level but Tom Barkhuizen heads a right wing cross onto the bar
  • 3:27pm
    Cole had almost made it 2-0 seconds after the goal, going through on the right but seeing a shot from a tight angle saved
  • 3:28pm
    Isted also saved from a free-kick. A frantic few minutes
  • 3:29pm
    Connell corner on the left, headed out
  • 3:33pm
    Derby having a bit of pressure but. Barnsley clearing everything
  • 3:35pm
    A bit more clarity on the goal. Cole initially won the ball with great pressing then it pinball around with Norwood and Phillips involved before Cole tapped in. Derby wanted offside but it does not look off on replay
  • 3:35pm
    Adam Phillips doubles the lead!
  • 3:37pm
    He finds the bottom left corner from the edge of the box from a Williams assist
  • 3:37pm
    David McGoldrick pulls one back
  • 3:39pm
    He runs onto a Hourihane pass and clips the ball over Isted when one on one
  • 3:39pm
    This game is absolutely breathless
  • 3:41pm
    Thomas' long throw on the right is headed out for a corner
  • 3:41pm
    Thomas' long throw on the right is headed out for a coprnefr
  • 3:41pm
    40 Cadden corner on the right punched away by the goalkeeper
  • 3:43pm
    Andersen currently hobbling off injured
  • 3:44pm
    Andersen back on. Barnsley corner on left
  • 3:44pm
    Connell corner headed towards goal by Thomas but the referee spots a foul
  • 3:46pm
    Cole, who has been an absolutely nuisance for Derby all game, charges down a goalkeeper kick and it hits his head, almost goes in but just flies wide. He's now down getting treatment. That was a real whack to the head from a few yards.
  • 3:47pm
    Five added minutes
  • 3:49pm
    Devante Cole gets another!!!
  • 3:52pm
    An absolutely brilliant move involving Cole and Norwood in the middle. The ball is eventually played into the box and after another bit of scrambling by the rattled Derby defence, Cole is there again to net from close range
  • 4:10pm
    HALF-TIMEL Barnsley 3, Derby 1
  • 4:11pm
  • 4:13pm
    That first half was totally frantic with loads of chances. Barnsley were the more clinical and better team. Can they control the rest of the game a bit better now and try to put it beyond doubt?
  • 4:14pm
    David McGoldrick is put through on goal but the offside flag is up
  • 4:18pm
    Scrappy start to the second half. Derby trying to force the tempo but not creating anything yet
  • 4:18pm
    Great work by Kane to play Phillips in the box, He turns but it is put behind for a corner
  • 4:19pm
    54 Connell corner on the left headed out then Kane brilliantly stops a counter attack with a sliding tackle
  • 4:22pm
    Norwood. superbly wins a free-kick on the right after chasing down a lost cause. Duff telling his players to calm down
  • 4:23pm
    57 Free-kick on the right wing taken by Connell low to Phillips 25 yards out but he scuffs it and it's cleared
  • 4:24pm
    Barnsley will be happy with the second half so far. They are the more attacking team and Derby have not really had a sniff of making it 3-2. Still more than 30 minutes left though
  • 4:25pm
    Norwood again works hard to chase a ball down and win a corner. He's been fantastic
  • 4:26pm
    60 Cadden corner on the left cleared then volleyed well over by Williams
  • 4:26pm
    Derby bring on James Collins and Lewis Dobbin for Harvey White and Tom Barkhuizen
  • 4:27pm
    Two up front now for Derby. Collins has six goals in nine meetings with the Reds
  • 4:30pm
    A spell of pressure for Derby but Barnsley are defining well. Thomas has just cleared a cross then seconds later sees the ball out for a goal kick
  • 4:33pm
    Bobby Thomas booked for a foul on Derby's left wing
  • 4:34pm
    68 Hourihane's free-kick is a good one but no one can turn it in in the six yard box and it goes out for a goal kick
  • 4:36pm
    Liam Kitching now goes in the book for cynically ending a Derby break on their right. Free-kick on wing
  • 4:37pm
    Kitching heads out the free-kick
  • 4:37pm
    Tedic coming on and Luke Thomas
  • 4:39pm
    Tedic and Thomas for Norwood (who has been superb, chasing lost causes all afternoon and playing a part in every goal) and two-goal hero Devante Cole. The strikers have put in a wonderful shift and look spent as they come off.
  • 4:41pm
    Herbie Kane booked for diving about 30 yards from his goal on left wing
  • 4:41pm
    Free-kick from right is caught by Isted
  • 4:42pm
    Very little of note has happened this half. It has been: Barnsley player booked, resulting free-kick dealt with, repeat.
  • 4:43pm
    Derby bring on Tony Springett for Hourihane and Haydon Roberts for Sibley
  • 4:45pm
    Russell and Martin coming on for Barnsley when ball goes out
  • 4:46pm
    Kane replaced by Martin and Phillips by Russell. Another two heroes of this Barnsley performance go off.
  • 4:48pm
    82 Russell concedes a corner on the left. Derby take it short and it's pulled back to Forsyth who blazes well over from just inside the box. First real chance of the half
  • 4:51pm
    'Stand up for the Barnsley' chant the home fans
  • 4:52pm
    Derby have been poor in this half. Loads of the ball but just aimless crosses which have been easily caught or cleared. Credit to the Reds for their defending as well
  • 4:55pm
    Big Derby chance. But Harry Isted makes a wonderful double save then the third attempt is fired wide. Great keeping
  • 4:56pm
    Four added minutes 3-1
  • 5:00pm
    Luke Thomas completes a wonderful win!
  • 5:02pm
    Curls in from 25 yards against old club after gifted ball
  • 5:02pm
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 4, Derby 1. Magnificent