Tom Barkhuizen’s third goal in two games helped send Derby County through to the FA Cup fourth round after defeating fellow League One side Barnsley.
Lewis Dobbin brushed the bar for Derby with a first-half header before James Collins finally opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Matthew Wolfe handled the ball in the box.
Barkhuizen doubled Derby’s advantage with a stunning second-half finish.
A defensive confusion allowed Jason Knight to complete the victory with a late third.
It was a comprehensive victory for Paul Warne’s Rams – who will now host West Ham – against a side who are just one point and two places behind Derby in the League One play-offs at the midpoint of the season.
Barnsley, who had a seven-game league unbeaten streak – including six wins – ended by Bolton last time out, started strong against a Derby side whose only defeat in 15 games in all competitions was a penalty shoot-out loss. goal against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup in early November.
The chances in the first half were limited for the two equal outfits.
Jake Rooney – cousin of England’s Wayne Rooney and Manchester United’s all-time top scorer, who was Rams boss when the club were relegated amid financial turmoil at Pride Park last season – was the one of Derby’s only two changes for the game.
Korey Smith dropped out through injury, as did David McGoldrick, who was replaced by fellow former Republic of Ireland international James Collins.
Meanwhile, Barnsley keeper Jack Walton was recalled for the Tykes, with his last appearance against Crewe in the previous round, while defender Tom Edwards started on his return from a knee injury.
And the defender was quick to threaten the quickly departing visitors, forcing Joe Wildsmith into an excellent early save with a header near the post from a corner.
Dobbin cut the bar with Derby’s first effort of the game in the 24th minute after encountering a perfectly cut cross from Barkhuizen.
From that point on, the Rams dominated what was left of the half.
Yet it wasn’t until the Tykes lost Edwards to a serious leg injury that the hosts took the lead from the spot, with Collins sending Walton the wrong way after Wolfe netted a corner kick from Barkhuizen.
Barnsley’s failure to eliminate danger at the top of the box on the hour mark allowed the ball to break nicely for Barkhuizen, who turned around at the edge of the box before beating the keeper with a shot powerful.
A disappointing day for Barnsley ended with a defensive error that led to Derby’s third place finish.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing received the ball first, and although Walton did well to keep it clear, the rebound found the striker before he threw a pass for Knight to head home.
‘The Derby take a lot of confidence from winning’ – reaction
Derby County boss Paul Warne:
“I thought for the first 15, 20 minutes Barnsley were superior to us, they won every second ball and Joe really took us out with a save from a corner which kept us in the game.
“As the game went on we got better and the midfielders got a grip, and I think in the second half we were really good, we had real energy around us and the guys should get a lot of confidence from the game.
“I don’t think the scoreline flattered us, however, it’s a good warning sign. It’s always great to win and to learn, and what I think we’ve learned in the dressing room is is that we were just a little complacent in our debut.”
Barnsley manager Michael Duff:
“We lost every duel, every header and gave up bad goals, so it’s not a good combination, that’s why we got beaten.
“They have good players, we have good players, but when you are beaten and overtaken, that’s the result that happens.
“There are extenuating circumstances. We have a problem with the penalty, we think the second goal was offside, then we give them a third goal – but they got past us.”
- 3ForsythReplaced byDaviesat 85′minutes
- 6CollectionReplaced byPilotat 85′minutes
- 17SibleyBooked at 69 mins
- 8BirdBooked at 49 minutes
- 4HourihaneReplaced byThompsonat 78′minutes
- 18dobbinReplaced byRobertat 78′minutes
- 7BarkhuizenReplaced byMendez-Laingat 73′minutes
- 3EdwardsReplaced byBensonat 45′minutes
- 5CookBooked at 68 mins
- 48ConnellBooked at 27 minsReplaced byMartinat 62′minutes
- 33WolfReplaced byPhillipsat 62′minutes
- 9norwoodReplaced byAitchisonat 76′minutes
- Sunny Sukhvir Gill
Match ends, Derby County 3, Barnsley 0.
Second Half ends, Derby County 3, Barnsley 0.
Corner, Barnsley. Corner conceded by Jake Rooney.
Foul by Max Bird (Derby County).
Liam Kitching (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Derby County) right footed shot to the left of the six yard box is blocked.
Failed attempt. Josh Martin (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Foul by Liam Thompson (Derby County).
Herbie Kane (Barnsley) gets a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Derby County. Corner conceded by Robbie Cundy.
Replacement, County of Derby. Curtis Davies replaces Craig Forsyth.
Replacement, County of Derby. Richard Stearman replaces Eiran Cashin.
Foul by James Collins (Derby County).
Jordan Williams (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Liam Thompson (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Craig Forsyth (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Devante Cole (Barnsley).
Aim! Derby County 3, Barnsley 0. Jason Knight (Derby County) shoots with a right footed shot from the center of the penalty area to the center of the goal.
Attempt saved. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Derby County) left footed shot from the center of the box sees his shot blocked.
Replacement, County of Derby. Haydon Roberts replaces Lewis Dobbin.