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Liam Rosenior delighted as Derby defeat Barnsley in League One

Liam Rosenior’s Derby edged Barnsley on Saturday (Nigel French/PA)
Liam Rosenior’s Derby edged Barnsley on Saturday (Nigel French/PA)

Delighted Derby boss Liam Rosenior saluted his battling side as they dug deep to beat Barnsley 2-1 in the battle of last season’s relegated clubs.

Conor McCarthy’s own goal and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s strike did the damage as the Rams triumphed at Pride Park.

But Josh Benson’s 64th-minute really put the cat amongst the pigeons as the Tykes roared back to cause the hosts plenty of headaches in this League One clash.

“We played really well in the first half, then showed a lot of fight in the second half,” reflected Rosenior.

“Barnsley are a very good team at this level. I have a lot of time for Michael Duff and the way he works.

“It is a difficult one when you are 2-0 up at half-time. The opponents have nothing to lose and can throw caution to the wind, and we have something to defend, so it’s difficult to play in the same way.

“They threw the kitchen sink at us at the start of the second half.

“But we missed a big chance then they got the deflected goal. Credit to the defence. Every player gave 100 per cent and you can’t ask any more.

“They showed great character to dig in at the end when they were tired.”

The Reds started very nervously, with a mix-up between McCarthy and goalkeeper Brad Collins in the six-yard box seeing Louis Sibley denied from close range by the stopper.

The same two players will be disappointed with the opener after eight minutes as Collins totally missed a corner by former Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane and the ball appeared to bounce in off McCarthy.

James Norwood was denied one-on-one by home goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith but Derby made it 2-0 when Tom Barkhuizen set up unmarked Mendez-Laing to smash into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box.

Barnsley’s Jack Aitchison blazed over a golden chance then James Collins fired wide at the other end when he looked sure to score.

Benson’s deflected 20-yard shot made it 2-1 midway through the second half then Mads Andersen headed a Benson corner wide of the top-right corner in added time.

And Rosenior was quick to praise Hourinhane against his former club.

“He’s a beautiful player,” praised Rosenior. “Good crosses and set-pieces. We have needed a set-piece taker for a while and he’ll bring a lot to the team.

“He set up the first goal and should have had another assist.”

Tykes boss Duff could not fathom how his side found themselves two goals behind before the break.

“I don’t know how we were 2-0 down at half-time,” said Duff. “I thought we more than matched them.

“We switched off on a set play. You can’t come to a place like this and give them a leg up. Then the second goal is a good finish but it comes from us playing a bit too much.

“But we had some really good chances between the two goals.

“They took a little bit more information in at half-time in terms of setting the press and I thought we were totally dominate in the second half.

“I am not sure how we’re leaving with nothing. That was the first thing their manager said when we shook hands and that tells you everything. It means nothing, but if you are going to get beat, that’s the way to get beat.

“The press was good, the physicality was good and the quality was good.

“I can’t ask much more from the players other than being a little bit more clinical and winning the game.

“We’re still a new group and learning. There are definite signs of improvement from when I walked in the door.”

But Duff was not happy with missed chances that went begging, adding: “I don’t think we’ll keep missing chances like we have been all season.

“We have hit the under side of the crossbar. We have missed two pretty much open goals.

“But I don’t want the forwards getting paranoid. Law of averages says one will go in. I would be more disappointed if we weren’t creating chances, and we have in every game.”