The Yorkshire derby between Barnsley and Huddersfield Town.
Simon Church played a big part in Barnsley’s downfall after turning down a loan move to Oakwell in favour of Huddersfield this week as Jermaine Beckford’s first-half header proved decisive in this Yorkshire derby.
Reading striker Church, who opted for a loan move to Huddersfield instead of Barnsley on Friday, laid on the winner for Beckford, who headed home the Wales international’s pin-point cross in the 36th minute.
Church, a constant threat for the visitors, twice went close himself as Huddersfield climbed back into the top six with a fourth away win in the npower Championship this season, while a fourth straight defeat for Barnsley leaves them two points above the drop zone.
It was the first meeting between the two sides since Barnsley edged past Huddersfield in a League One play-off semi-final in 2006.
Teenager John Stones, fellow defender Stephen Foster and striker Marlon Harewood were back for Barnsley, while former Tottenham and Middlesbrough forward Mido, yet to appear for the Tykes since arriving in the summer, was named among the substitutes.
Huddersfield included Church and recalled right-back Jack Hunt and Beckford.
The first real chance fell to Harewood, who headed a corner from Jacob Mellis just wide in the 15th minute and the former Nottingham Forest striker fired in a 25-yard shot that was comfortably gathered by Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
Prompted by midfielder Stephen Dawson, Barnsley enjoyed the better possession midway through the first half, but it was Huddersfield who broke the deadlock nine minutes before half-time.
Church found space out wide on the left and sent over a fine cross for Beckford, back in the side following a hamstring injury, to head home into the top corner from six yards.
Barnsley’s response was immediate though. Tomasz Cywka arrowed a shot from the left edge of the penalty area just over the crossbar and Dawson’s effort from similar distance was well saved by Smithies.
Barnsley continued to keep hold of the ball for longer periods, but had only Kelvin Etuhu’s wayward free-kick to show for their efforts up until the hour-mark when Huddersfield lost Beckford to injury.
Beckford was replaced by Danny Ward and the visitors then went close to increasing their lead twice in as many minutes.
Striker Lee Novak’s shot from the edge of the area was held by Steele before midfielder Keith Southern headed Ward’s corner inches wide in the 62nd minute.
Tykes boss Keith Hill sent on former Egypt international Mido for Etuhu soon after, but Huddersfield went close again from another Ward corner, this time defender Joel Lynch heading the wrong side of the post.
Hill sent on teenager Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Jim O’Brien for Cwyka and Dawson respectively and the former made an instant impression when he fired a shot over the crossbar.
Church, a constant thorn in Barnsley’s side, forced a smart save from Steele with a 77th-minute shot from inside the box, while the Tykes spurned two golden chances to level in the closing stages but Harewood and then O’Brien both pulled shots wide when well-placed inside the area.
Barnsley: Steele, Stones, Wiseman, Foster, Golbourne, Cranie, Etuhu (Mido 63), Dawson (Noble-Lazarus 68), Mellis, Cywka (O’Brien 68), Harewood. Subs not used: Alnwick, Hassell, Dagnall, McNulty.
Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, P Clarke, Lynch, Dixon, Clayton, Southern, Scannell, Novak (Lee 86), Beckford (Ward 59), Church. Subs not used: Bennett, Woods, Norwood, Gerrard, Hammill.