FOR the second home game running, Billy Sharp proved the difference as Sheffield United got the better of Barnsley in the south Yorkshire derby.
The Blades captain struck after 17 minutes to deservedly earn the three points for his side on an afternoon when both Leon Clarke and Angus MacDonald were dismissed following an ugly spat.
Referee Tim Robinson also booked six players in a niggly clash in which Barnsley were let down by a poor final ball time after time.
The game’s only goal came via some lovely inter-play out wide on the left flank that ended with Enda Stevens drilling a low cross for Sharp.
Minutes earlier, the Blades captain had been denied from a similar position by Adam Davies but this time he made no mistake.
David Brooks thought he had doubled the home side’s lead in the second half but Davies again saved.
Richard Sutcliffe's Analysis: Clarke and MacDonald shown red before half-time
Neither Leon Clarke nor Angus MacDonald could have any complaint with their dismissals after an innocuous tussle ended with the Blades striker grabbing the throat of the Barnsley captain, who responded by aiming a head-butt.
Referee Tim Robinson may have incurred the wrath of the 25,482 crowd but he got both decisions spot on.
Reaction: Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom unhappy with defeat
"It was disappointing. Compared to the last two performances it was chalk and cheese. The players know that. We started on the back foot and it was a game too far for us."
Reaction: Chris Wilder calls for improvement from Blades attack
"We played well today, we needed to be a little bit more positive in the final third after the last two games. We needed to be better in the final third today and I thought we did that. We are a little bit disappointed we have not put the game to bed."