Ravel Morrison scored his first league goals in England for nearly eight years to give Derby a 2-0 victory over relegation rivals Barnsley.
The former Manchester United midfielder struck twice to end a drought that stretched back to April 2014 as Derby halted a run of three defeats.
Morrison also hit the bar in one of his best displays in a Rams shirt but Barnsley created little after Carlton Morris was denied by Ryan Allsop in the first half.
Barnsley exchanged places in the bottom three with Derby, who closed the gap on fourth-bottom Reading to five points in the Sky Bet Championship.
Derby were boosted by the return of skipper Tom Lawrence after a three-match ban and he set up an early chance that should have seen his side take the lead.
Lawrence’s eighth-minute free-kick bounced off a Barnsley defender and fell to Luke Plange just outside the six-yard box but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Derby went close again when the ball was crossed in from the right and Morrison’s back-post header was blocked by a green shirt.
But the goal Derby deserved for a strong start arrived in the 22nd minute when Lawrence played in Plange, who set up Morrison to dink the ball over Brad Collins from eight yards.
Barnsley came close to equalising four minutes later when Morris got behind Derby’s defence on the right but Allsop saved at his near post.
Morrison produced another moment of quality in the 32nd minute with a shot from the edge of the box that beat Collins but clipped the top of the crossbar.
His next attempt sailed high into the crowd but it had been a good half for Morrison and Derby.
The visitors conceded again two minutes after the restart when a mistake allowed Lawrence to go through on the right and, after his shot came back off the bar, Morrison slammed in the rebound.
Barnsley were making too many mistakes and almost went further behind when Mads Andersen’s loose pass set up Malcolm Ebiowei who curled a shot just wide.
Morris won a free-kick just outside the area and, although he beat the wall, it was too close to Allsop who tipped the ball behind for a corner which was easily dealt with.
Barnsley won another free-kick in a dangerous area in the 79th minute but could not make it count as Amine Bassi sent an effort wide which summed up their afternoon.