TWO goals in three second-half minutes saw Rotherham United slip to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley.
Following an even first-half, Paul Heckingbottom’s side took the game by the scruff of the neck early in the second half when Marc Roberts and ex-Miller Adam Hammill netted decisively before sub Tom Bradshaw and Ryan Kent added further goals in the dying minutes.
Following their hard-fought victory over Brentford last time out, the Millers made just one change to their starting line-up for the short hop to Oakwell.
Brighton loanee Jake Forster-Caskey returned at the heart of the Millers engine room as Tom Adeyemi was absent because of a thigh injury sustained against the Bees.
On the bench, Joe Newell made a welcome return to the fold following an ankle operation while there were a couple of familiar faces in the home line-up as ex-Millers Aidy White and Hammill lined up for the hosts.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when Will Vaulks’ free-kick was only half-cleared into the path of Izzy Brown, who ghosted past the attentions of Andy Yiadom, to drill a ball to the near post, which Danny Ward looked to scuff towards goal but his effort was deflected narrowly wide of the target.
Minutes later, Yiadom left his marker in his wake to drill a dangerous centre which looked inch-perfect for Sam Winnall, but the ex-Scunthorpe striker fluffed his lines when his header failed to trouble Millers ‘keeper Lee Camp despite being just yards out from goal.
Millers skipper Stephen Kelly had to be on his toes to snuff out Hammill’s tantalising free-kick before Angus Macdonald rose highest from another Hammill centre, in the next phase of play, but his header failed to trouble the visitors goal.
Just past the quarter hour, Conor Hourihane’s inswinging free-kick was not dealt with decisively by the Rotherham rearguard and in the ensuing melee, the ball fell kindly for Marc Roberts in the box, but he could drag an effort harmlessly wide of the Millers goal.
Taylor came within a whisker of breaking away when he latched onto Ward’s clipped ball forward but the lively winger ran out of room before Hammill’s worked a yard of space on Darnell Fisher to fire a fierce effort, from just inside the box, which stung the palms of Camp, who parried the ball to safety.
At the other end, Forster-Caskey made something out of nothing to force Adam Davies into a smart save before Dominic Ball’s headed clearance put Taylor in the clear but his cross-cum-shot failed to trouble the target.
With half-time approaching, good work from Kent paved the way for Hourihane to drill a low effort which Kelvin Wilson sliced clear before the Millers ran down the clock with ten men as Ball needed treatment in the dressing room following an aerial clash with Marley Watkins.
Half-time: Barnsley 0 Rotherham United 0
The hosts were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half and Josh Scowen’s incisive run and pass paved the way for Hourihane to try his luck, from just outside the box, but his left-footed effort took a slight deflection off a retreating Millers defender as it flew narrowly wide of the target.
The home side broke the deadlock on 54 minutes when Hammill was sandwiched between Taylor and Fisher as referee Graham Scott awarded a free-kick and Hammill exacted his own retribution with a delightful free-kick into the box which Rotherham failed to clear and Roberts pounced on the loose ball to prod the ball into the bottom corner of the visitors goal.
The visitors responded immediately to the setback and Scowen was fortunate to only see yellow for preventing Ward breaking clear with the use of a hand before Forster-Caskey’s resultant free-kick was deflected wide.
However, the home side took the game by the scruff of the neck in their next attack when Hammill came back to haunt his former club, when he cut inside with menace to unleash a long effort which took a deflection of Wilson and Camp was wrong footed as the ball found the heart of the Millers goal.
Moments later, Taylor latched onto a long ball forward to advance menacingly towards goal but his tame effort was smothered by Davies before Winnall almost put the game beyond the Millers when he turned Kent’s cross goalwards but Camp palmed the ball around the post, although any goal would have been chalked off for offside.
At the other end, Taylor had a shot blocked by a retreating defender before Camp was called into action to firstly parry Kent’s effort before Hourihane fired an effort straight down throat of the Millers ‘keeper in Barnsley’s next attack.
In the dying minutes, sub Bradshaw firstly rubbed salt into Rotherham wounds when he latched onto Yiadom’s deep centre to head back across goal as the ball looped into the Millers net before Kent added a fourth when he flashed an effort from the edge of the box into the roof of the Millers net with Camp a helpless bystander.
Full-time- Barnsley 4 Rotherham United 0
Teams:- Barnsley- Davies, Yiadom, Roberts, MacDonald, White, Hammill (Lee 87), Scowen, Hourihane, Kent, Winnall (Payne 68, Bradshaw 72), Watkins. Unused- Townsend, Moncur, Evans, Tuton
Rotherham- Camp, Kelly, Vaulks, Ward, Forster-Caskey (Yates 65), Taylor (Newell 80), Ball, Wilson, Fisher, Allan, Brown (Forde 83). Unused- Price, Mattock, Wood, Smallwood.
Referee:- G Scott
Attendance:- 15,293 (3,293 away).