Derby finally managed to beat their bogey side Barnsley to secure their first back-to-back victories in 24 Championship matches.
The Reds had looked on course to stretch their unbeaten run against the Rams to nine matches, but James O’Connor made the breakthrough in the 69th minute and substitute Nathan Tyson provided the knockout blow in the dying seconds.
O’Connor latched onto Richard Keogh’s header to fire home left-footed from eight yards, and in the 90th minute Tyson despatched a delightful 20-yarder past goalkeeper Luke Steele to give Nigel Clough’s in-form side their third win in four matches.
Defeat left Barnsley looking anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation places after suffering three successive defeats for the first time this season.
Prior to the game Reds boss Keith Hill had hit out at what he perceives as media negativity surrounding the club, but his team are clearly struggling for goals in the absence of injured top scorer Craig Davies. They looked relatively comfortable in a goalless first half but the closest they came to finding the net was a smart shot from former Rams midfielder Tomasz Cywka that home goalkeeper Adam Legzdins did well to turn over the top.
Derby made a confident start and Connor Sammon produced a neat turn and shot 10 yards out but the ball flew over Steele’s crossbar.
Jeff Hendrick brought a fine save from Steele. Cywka was then thwarted by Legzdins, but the Rams roused themselves as half-time approached and Steele had to make a couple of notable stops to deny both Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick.
The first real chance of the second half was created by Barnsley, Cywka’s low drive being deflected into the side netting.
Dagnall’s left-footed shot was well parried by Legzdins before Steele produced a great reaction save to keep out Paul Coutts’ deflected free-kick, but he could not prevent O’Connor from making the breakthrough before Tyson settled the issue with his sublime late strike. Barnsley have now won just two of their last seven games.
Derby: Legzdins, Brayford, Keogh, O’Connor, Roberts, Coutts (Freeman 90), Bryson, Hendrick, Hughes, Sammon (Tyson 84), Robinson (Jacobs 75). Unused substitutes: Deeney, Buxton, O’Brien, Davies.
Barnsley: Steele, Kennedy, Wiseman, McNulty, Golbourne, Etuhu (O’Brien 78), Dawson, Cranie, Cywka (Done 72), Mellis (Harewood 78), Dagnall. Unused substitutes: Alnwick, Hassell, Foster, Silva.
Referee: D Coote (Nottinghamshire).