Keith Southern ensured Town hit the right note as they trialled a behind-the-goal singing section.
Bright sun behind the away end at the John Smith’s Stadium – there were 1,973 Barnsley supporters in a tickets-issued 14,256 crowd – meant Town chose the break their normal habit by playing towards the Fantastic Media Stand in the first half.
The lower tier was the designated area for the fans who had expressed a desire to create a kop-like atmosphere at recent meetings with club officials.
And midfielder Southern, making his first start since the 1-0 win at Bolton in early December, gave them something to get excited about with the opening goal – his first of the season – in the 29th minute.
It was turned in from close range as Nahki Wells shot goalwards from a free-kick delivered into the penalty area by Adam Clayton, and Southern smiled: “It wasn’t the best goal I’ve ever scored, but they all count and this was an important one.
“Barnsley began the game well and had a couple of chances early on, but my goal set us on our way, and when Danny Ward scored so soon after, we really got on top.
“It’s a cliche, but goals change games, and after that double, I don’t think they were able to live with our pace, power and desire.”
Hit by injury early in the season, the 29-year-old former Blackpool man has had to make do with only six starts and two further appearances from the bench so far this season.
Out of contract in the summer, he is keen to keep his place after coming in for calf-injury victim Jonathan Hogg.
“The manager told me early last week that I’d be playing, so I made sure I got my head down and prepared properly,” he explained.
“It was a good game for me, high-tempo with lots of tackles going in, and I really enjoyed myself.
“To get five goals, three points and a clean sheet made it a great day all round, and we want to carry this form on at Doncaster this Saturday.”
Regan Booty scored as Town’s Under 18 team won 1-0 in their Professional Development League clash at QPR. Town return to West London on Tuesday, March 18, when they take on Fulham in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup at Craven Cottage (7.00).
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