Derby County extended their unbeaten league run away from home to seven games with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Barnsley at Oakwell.
Tom Lawrence broke the deadlock with his second goal of the season before the in-form Matej Vydra doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time, with Andreas Weimann wrapping up the points in the second half.
Barnsley have now lost five in a row in the Sky Bet Championship, whilst Gary Rowett’s side continued their strong form on the road since defeat at Bristol City in September.
Vydra was looking to continue his superb form and he went close with a deflected effort with 17 minutes gone after some neat build-up play.
Barnsley started to get into the game midway through the half, with Mamadou Thiam’s shot stinging the palms of Scott Carson, before the Rams number one was forced into a solid stop from Harvey Barnes moments later.
Barnes had another attempt fly just wide and just as the hosts looked to be knocking on the door, Derby went down the other end to take the lead.
Barnsley failed to clear Weimann’s cross and Lawrence made no mistake at the second attempt to stab the loose ball home and give his side the lead six minutes before half time.
It got even better on the stroke of the break, as Chris Baird’s beautifully executed pass released Weimann, whose cross found Vydra unmarked and the Czech buried it for his 12th league goal of the season.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side were brighter after the restart and they almost halved the deficit when Brad Potts’ long-range effort struck the crossbar.
The home side went close with 15 minutes left, but once again Carson proved his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the division with an outstanding stop to keep out substitute Ike Ugbo.
The Rams put the icing on the cake though just three minutes later, as substitute Bradley Johnson found Weimann, who fired home for his first goal of the season.
Sam Winnall came on against his old club and he went close to making it four when he poked over from Johnny Russell’s knock-down, but the points were safe by that point as Derby earned their first win at Oakwell since 2013.
Barnsley: Davies; McCarthy, Pearson, Lindsay, Yiadom; Potts (Hammill, 60’), Williams, Gardner (Moncur, 60’); Thiam (Ugbo, 72’), Bradshaw, Barnes.
Substitutes not used: Townsend, Mallan, Fryers, McGeehan.
Derby County: Carson; Baird, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann, Vydra (Johnson, 72’), Lawrence (Russell, HT); Martin (Winnall, 80’).
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Wisdom, Thorne, Nugent.
Lawrence broke his goalscoring duck a few weeks ago against QPR and he’s looked even more of a threat in front of goal since then, and he provided the crucial breakthrough at Oakwell.
He reacted quickly to a bouncing ball and when his first try was blocked, he stabbed the ball into the net to give Derby the lead that they deserved.
Baird has been solid since he came into the side away at Fulham and it was the same again here, with the added bonus of an attacking threat from the former Northern Ireland international.
His ball down the right-hand side for Weimann was pinpoint and the Austrian went on to set the goal up for Vydra, but full credit must go to Baird for starting the move.
The Rams have back-to-back home games before Christmas, with Aston Villa the first visitors next Saturday (16th December), before Millwall arrive the week after (Saturday 23rd December).
After that point, the festive period will be in full swing. Derby head to Hull City on Boxing Day before a long trip to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town on Saturday 30th December.
Derby will then face Sheffield United in the first game of 2018 on New Year’s Day at Pride Park.