Barnsley’s resurgence under new manager Lee Johnson continued as they breezed to a most comfortable of wins against lacklustre Walsall.
Stoke loanee striker George Waring was the hero of the day for the Reds, as he scored his third and fourth goals in just three games as his team secured a dream fifth straight win - all completed without conceding a goal.
Only goal difference now separates Barnsley from the Sky Bet League One play-off places following this scarcely believable recent upturn in fortunes.
Waring’s 16th minute goal was all that separated Barnsley and Walsall at half-time, but the hosts had dominated.
Barnsley’s early lead was almost doubled in the 26th minute.
A sweeping move down Walsall’s left culminated with Ben Pearson curling in a super cross for Waring, who slid in but could only divert a low volley inches wide.
The Reds remained firmly on top as Walsall still hadn’t created a chance worthy of note by the half-hour mark.
John O’Sullivan was next to try his luck, though his strike from distance drifted well wide.
Josh Scowen then robbed Saddlers defender Andy Taylor far too easily before seeing his shot comfortably gathered by O’Donnell.
Conor Hourihane then lifted a shot too high from the edge of the box after some smart approach play on the left flank from Milan Lalkovic.
Waring doubled his own and the Reds’ tally in superb style in the 71st minute.
After being neatly teed up by the impressive John O’Sullivan, Waring breezed past a couple of limp Walsall challenges before slotting unerringly past Richard O’Donnell from a tight angle.
The sense of relief around Oakwell was huge as Walsall now looked like a firmly well-beaten side.
It was almost 3-0 minutes later, with O’Sullivan blasting a fine strike just over the crossbar following some super approach play from sub Sam Winnall.
In the closing stages Conor Hourihane and O’Sullivan both forced O’Donnell into super saves, before sub Sam Winnall did make it 3-0 in the 90th minute when he side-footed home O’Sullivan’s cross from eight yards.
BARNSLEY (4-4-1-1): Davies; Holgate, Nyatanga, Cranie, Smith; O’Sullivan, Pearson, Scowen, Lalkovic; Hourihane; Waring.
Subs: Dibble, Ibehre, Berry, M’voto, Winnall, Jennings, Bailey.
WALSALL (4-2-3-1): O’Donnell; Purkiss, Downing, J Chambers, Taylor; A Chambers, Flanagan; Baxendale, Sawyers, Hiwula-Mayifuila; Bradshaw.
Subs: McGillivray, O’Connor, Mantom, Cain, Preston, Bakayoko, Grimes.
Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire).