Derby 4-1 Barnsley: Rams secure play-off spot but Tykes are relegated
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/05/18 4:31pm
Derby secured a Championship play-off place in style by thrashing Barnsley 4-1 at Pride Park to condemn the South Yorkshire club to relegation.
Cameron Jerome struck on the break to give Derby an advantage they never looked like losing and Matej Vydra's 21st league goal of the season settled any home nerves.
David Nugent and Tom Lawrence completed Derby's stroll in the sunshine and although George Moncur pulled one back, it was no consolation for Barnsley - who sacked manager Jose Morais immediately after relegation was confirmed.
Derby brought in Marcus Olsson at left wing-back and he created the first chance with a 20-yard shot that forced Jack Walton into a flying save.
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Barnsley's response had Derby in trouble when Connor Mahoney sent a low ball across the face of the six-yard box but Kieffer Moore could not bring it under control at the back post.
Soon afterwards, Derby took the lead. Mahoney lost the ball to Bradley Johnson near the left touchline and his pass sent Jerome clear to drive a 14th-minute opener into the roof of the net.
It was not the start a team that had lost their last five away games needed but Barnsley almost replied three minutes later when Liam Lindsay's glancing header went just wide with Scott Carson scrambling.
Derby thought they had a second in the 25th minute when Richard Keogh's shot came back off the bar but referee Simon Hooper ruled Jerome had handled the ball before he slammed in the rebound.
Olsson went off injured and was replaced in the 38th minute by top scorer Vydra, who sent a free-kick from just outside the area over the bar.
The Rams began the second half intent on finishing the job, with Johnson's 20-yard shot turned behind by Walton before the midfielder played Jerome in but he shot wide under pressure.
Moore almost got his head on a cross but Derby scored again in the 55th minute when Jerome crossed from the right and Vydra beat Walton from six yards.
Barnsley went close again when Oliver McBurnie's shot was deflected just wide but results elsewhere meant they were going down unless they could fashion a remarkable comeback.
However, any hope of that vanished when Nugent replaced Jerome and immediately headed in Vydra's cross in the 68th minute before he ran through on the right and crossed for Lawrence to steer the ball wide of Walton.
Moncur replied with a curling effort from the edge of the area in the 81st minute, but it proved to be no more than Barnsley's parting shot to the Championship.
Gary Rowett: "If you had asked me about the play-offs about eight or nine games ago I would have said even if we get in we're not going to have enough momentum or form to really challenge, although we know they are unpredictable. What I would say now is after the last four games we have performed really well in different ways in all of them. You can see with the players when they train there's a bit of extra zip and a bit of extra belief.
"All the sides in there are good sides and have good quality, us included, and are more then capable of winning the play-offs - and I don't think form is going to have that much bearing on what happens now."
Barnsley chief executive Gauthier Ganaye: "[Morais'] contract was written in a way that relegation would terminate it and we thought it was better to tell the news as quickly as possible. It's a sad day but we can reassure everybody that we have been working hard for the last few weeks.
"We weren't waiting for the end of the season to see how it was going to go, so we have been working hard on two scenarios. We all wanted the Championship but if it was going to be League One we are going to rebuild and come back stronger."