Tom Barkhuizen’s third goal in two games helped send Derby County through to the FA Cup fourth round after defeating fellow League One side Barnsley.
Lewis Dobbin brushed the bar for Derby with a first-half header before James Collins finally opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Matthew Wolfe handled the ball in the box.
Barkhuizen doubled Derby’s advantage with a stunning second-half finish.
A defensive confusion allowed Jason Knight to complete the victory with a late third.
It was a comprehensive win for Paul Warne’s Rams against a side who are just a point and two places behind Derby in the League One play-offs at the midpoint of the season.
Barnsley, who had a seven-game league unbeaten streak – including six wins – ended by Bolton last time out, started strong against a Derby side whose only defeat in 15 games in all competitions was a penalty shoot-out loss. goal against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup in early November.
The chances in the first half were limited for the two equal outfits.
Jake Rooney – cousin of England’s Wayne Rooney and Manchester United’s all-time top scorer, who was Rams boss when the club were relegated amid financial turmoil at Pride Park last season – was the one of Derby’s only two changes for the game.
Korey Smith dropped out through injury, as did David McGoldrick, who was replaced by fellow former Republic of Ireland international James Collins.
Meanwhile, Barnsley keeper Jack Walton was recalled for the Tykes, with his last appearance against Crewe in the previous round, while defender Tom Edwards started on his return from a knee injury.
And the defender was quick to threaten the quickly departing visitors, forcing Joe Wildsmith into an excellent early save with a header near the post from a corner.
Dobbin cut the bar with Derby’s first effort of the game in the 24th minute after encountering a perfectly cut cross from Barkhuizen.
From that point on, the Rams dominated what was left of the half.
Yet it wasn’t until the Tykes lost Edwards to a serious leg injury that the hosts took the lead from the spot, with Collins sending Walton the wrong way after Wolfe netted a corner kick from Barkhuizen.
Barnsley’s failure to eliminate danger at the top of the box on the hour mark allowed the ball to break nicely for Barkhuizen, who turned around at the edge of the box before beating the keeper with a shot powerful.
A disappointing day for Barnsley ended with a defensive error that led to Derby’s third place finish.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing received the ball first, and although Walton did well to keep it clear, the rebound found the striker before he threw a pass for Knight to head home.