A fantastic first half performance helped Barnsley to a 3-2 win at Port Vale on Boxing Day despite a spirited comeback from the hosts.

The rampant Reds raced into a 3-0 half-time lead as Adam Phillips opened the scoring then John McAtee netted twice in five minutes.

Vale were much improved after the break and got two goals back but were unable to stop the Reds getting the win which kept them seventh, two points off the top six and six off the top two with games in hand on most of those above them.

The only change to the 11 from Saturday’s win over Stevenage saw Nicky Cadden come in for the benched Nicky Cadden at left wing-back.

Vale began on top, with Alfie Devine’s long-range strike going just over, but it was the visitors who netted with their first real attack on 17 minutes.

Herbie Kane’s superb lofted pass over the defence was headed home by the onrushing Phillips across the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner. The move had started when Kane’s deflected pass put McAtee in the clear then he hesitated in the box and completed the one, two.

Liam Roberts tipped over a powerful 20-yard strike by Ethan Chislett but Barnsley doubled their lead on 32 minutes. Devante Cole ran onto Jamie McCart’s pass down the left and easily beat former Barnsley transfer target Jesse Debrah then surged into the box before pulling the ball back for McAtee to finish from close range.

Alex Iacovitti nearly pulled one back but headed over after Roberts could not get to a corner from the right wing.

The third goal saw Mael de Gevigney win the ball back in the Vale half then McAtee magnificently lobbed the goalkeeper from 35 yards.

McAtee tried to complete a first half hat-trick in injury time but his 20-yard shot was easily saved after good work by Kane and McCart.

Corey O’Keeffe was very close to a fourth on the stroke of half-time but his close-range flick header from Kane’s left-wing corner went straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.

Vale started well in the second half and had the ball in the net when Chislett was played through and found the bottom left corner but the flag was up for offside.

Kane tried to outdo McAtee with a quick shot from a 50-yard free-kick but the goalkeeper caught easily then, at the other end, Roberts held Devine’s 30-yard effort.

Chislett was played in again on the left of but blazed across the face of goal then, at the other end, the ball broke to Kane in a fine position on the edge of the box but he scuffed his shot to the goalkeeper.

Chislett pulled one back on 72 minutes with a fine finish into the bottom right corner 20 yards out after cutting in from the left.

Home substitute James Wilson saw a weak 15-yard shot kept out of the bottom left corner by Roberts on 88 minutes. Wilson looked certain to score seconds later when a cross from the left was volleyed back across goal but his header was somehow caught on the line by Roberts.

Young substitute Jack Shorrock headed in a right-wing cross on 94 minutes but Barnsley just held on for the win.

Port Vale (3-4-2-1): Ripley; Debrah, Iacovitti (Shorrock 76mins), Lowe; Massey (Lomax 76), Garrity, Walters (Ikpeazu HT), Grant; Chislett, Devine; Loft (Wilson HT). Unused: Leutwiler, Balmer, Smith.

Yellow cards: Iacovitti, Garrity, Ikpeazu.

Goals: Chislett 72, Shorrock 90+4.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Roberts; Williams, de Gevigney, McCart (Lopata 67mins); O’Keeffe, Phillips, Connell (Russell HT), Kane, Cadden; Cole (Cosgrove 64), McAtee (Jalo 64).

Unused: Killip, Cotter, Styles.

Yellow cards: Connell.

Goals: Phillips 17; McAtee 32, 37.

  • 3:04pm
    Jamie McCart loses two heads to Ryan Loft in the first minute. Now Vale win corner on right
  • 3:04pm
    Williams heads out for another corner
  • 3:04pm
    Jamie McCart loses two heads to Ryan Loft in the first minute. Now Vale win corner on right
  • 3:05pm
    Second corner scrambled. out
  • 3:08pm
    Bright start for the hosts. They are trying to play a. lot of balls behind the Reds defence., No chances as yet
  • 3:08pm
    Long throw from Jesse Debrah on the right wing. Headed out by McCart
  • 3:10pm
    McAtee through but offside. Shoots anyway but gets away with no yellow card
  • 3:11pm
    First shot of the game. Alfie Devine has a go from. 30 yards. It dips and Roberts dives but it goes over
  • 3:12pm
    Barnsley have started games slowly recently. This is another one. But they. have avoided conceded in the first five minutes as they have done four times in the previous seven matches
  • 3:15pm
    Luca Connell. booked having to bring down an attack after Williams clumsily loses the ball
  • 3:15pm
    Resulting free-kick is cleared by Barnsley
  • 3:17pm
    Barnsley starting to put a few more decent passing moves together but not breaking through the home defence
  • 3:18pm
    Decent move on the right. involving O'Keeffe, Phillips and Williams leads to a corner on the right
  • 3:19pm
    17 Connell corner on the right. Headed out
  • 3:20pm
    Adam Phillips opens the scoring!
  • 3:22pm
    Cool goal. Kane's deflected pass. puts McAtee through to run into the box but he stops and plays it back to Kane whose outstanding dink over the defence is headed home by the onrushing Phillips. Touch of class after a very quiet start
  • 3:24pm
    De Gevigney heads away a Vale corner on the left then McCart clears the next cross
  • 3:26pm
    Vale shot from the edge. of the box just tipped over b y Roberts. Decent response to the goal
  • 3:26pm
    Williams heads the corner away
  • 3:28pm
    Cadden cross causes chaos is box but is eventually cleared
  • 3:30pm
    Debrah throw on right. Goes short. Kane wins it then Cadden win a corner. Barnsley battling here
  • 3:33pm
    Half an hour gone. Vale have probably had most of the play but trail to the game's one moment of class
  • 3:34pm
    John McAtee doubles the lead
  • 3:36pm
    Another classy goal. Barnsley pass it around in their half for a long while, waiting for the press, then McCart's simple pass down the left to Cole who beats Debrah so easily and he drives into the box before pulling it back to McAtee who finishes nicely from close range
  • 3:37pm
    'We want seven' chant the away end
  • 3:38pm
    Chance for the hosts. Roberts doesn't get to a left wing corner and Alex Iacovitti heads over the bar
  • 3:40pm
    John McAtee adds a third from at least 30 yards
  • 3:42pm
    De. Gevigney (we think) wins the ball back high up the pitch and McAtee once again sent a superb dipping shot over the goalkeeper. Magnificent. Collins really celebrates on the sidelines. Away ends goes mad. Vale fans walk out in front of me
  • 3:46pm
    A wonderful afternoon so far from the Reds. Three shots and three goals. but some top football
  • 3:47pm
    Lovely move down left and Cole just misses when through but the flag was up
  • 3:48pm
    Four added minutes
  • 3:49pm
    McAtee goes for his hat-trick from outside the box after fine work. by McCart and Kane. Easily saved
  • 3:51pm
    Cole wins corner o n the left
  • 3:52pm
    Kane corner from the left. Nearly a fourth but O'Keeffe's flick header is straight at the goalkeeper
  • 3:53pm
    HALF-TIME: Port Vale 0, Barnsley 3. A superb first half by the Reds.
  • 4:08pm
    Vale take off Loft and Walters for Uche Ikpeazu and James Wilson
  • 4:09pm
    Barnsley bring off Connell for Russell.
  • 4:09pm
  • 4:11pm
    Assume Connell coming off is to rest him during this busy schedule. He was also booked early on
  • 4:13pm
    Vale had started the second half quite well but no chances
  • 4:15pm
    Vale shoot over from distance
  • 4:16pm
    Vale have the ball in the net but the flag is up for offside against Ethan Chislett who is played through then finds the bottom left corner
  • 4:20pm
    Kane takes a quick free-kick in centre circle and shoots. But it's an easy catch for the goalkeeper
  • 4:21pm
    Vale win a corner on the right
  • 4:22pm
    Corner is easily cleared
  • 4:24pm
    Devine's 30-yard shot easily saved by Roberts
  • 4:25pm
    Vale attacking a lot here and the crowd getting behind them. They had to do something after that first half. Barnsley defending pretty well but will want to get on the ball more
  • 4:27pm
    Jalo and Cosgrove coming on
  • 4:27pm
    McAtee and Cole coming off
  • 4:29pm
    Barnsley win a free-kick on the right
  • 4:30pm
    Kane's right-wing free-kick is played square to Phillips who blasts well over
  • 4:31pm
    Another chance for Chislett who is played in on the left of the. box but shoots over
  • 4:31pm
    Lopata on for McCart
  • 4:32pm
    Big chance for 4-0 as. the ball breaks for Kane who shoots from the edge of the box but it's scuffed straight to the goalkeeper
  • 4:34pm
    Vale corner on the left
  • 4:35pm
    Phillips tries a shot from about 35 yards but it's sliced well wide
  • 4:36pm
    Ethan Chislett pulls one back
  • 4:37pm
    Deserved to be fair as they've played quite well second half – especially Chislett. Barnsley just need to see this out and not make it nervy
  • 4:38pm
    Chislett supplied a good finish from about 20 yards out on the left into the bottom right corner
  • 4:39pm
    Alex Iacovitti booked for a foul on Cosgrove
  • 4:40pm
    Massey and Iacovitti off for youngsters Ben Lomax and Jack Shorrock
  • 4:41pm
    Ben Garrity booked for a foul on Kane
  • 4:44pm
    Approaching the last ten minutes here. Vale have been on top this half but yet to create a big chance for 3-2
  • 4:44pm
    Lopata down getting treatment
  • 4:45pm
    Lopata up. He blocked a powerful shot with his head. But he'll continue
  • 4:47pm
    Williams blocks for a corner after he gave the ball away
  • 4:48pm
    The corner is cleared and Barnsley win a throw on halfway
  • 4:49pm
    Another couple of Vale attacks come to nothing. An attacker goes down in the box but the flag was up for offside.
  • 4:50pm
    O'Keeffe concedes a corner o n the left
  • 4:51pm
    Corner played short and worked. into the box to James Wilson whose low shot is saved by Roberts down to his left
  • 4:52pm
    What a save. James Wilson looks sure to head in from a few yards out but Roberts somehow gets across to catch on his line.
  • 4:53pm
    Now Vale head over from a right wing corner
  • 4:54pm
    Seven added minutes
  • 4:57pm
    Jack Shorrock makes it a nervy finish
  • 4:59pm
    A cross from the right is headed in from close range by the substitute. A couple of minutes left here
  • 5:00pm
    Phillips wins a corner on the right and celebrates in front of the away end like it's a goal
  • 5:02pm
    Ikpeazu booked. for kicking Lopata's face
  • 5:03pm
    FULL-TIME: Port Vale. 2, Barnsley 3.