Barnsley 0, Norwich City 2

PHOTO GALLERY: Midfielder Andrew Crofts took his goal tally to eight for the season when he struck two superb efforts in the first half to give Norwich City a comfortable victory over Barnsley.

It was the Canaries' seventh away success of the campaign and their second Championship double, keeping them right in contention in the promotion race.

Crofts struck first after 33 minutes at Oakwell with a downward header from a cross by full-back Marc Tierney, brought into the starting line-up for only the second time since his move from Colchester.

And seven minutes later Crofts produced a stunning finish, taking Wes Hoolahan's pass with his back to goal and swivelling to beat 'keeper Luke Steele with a superb half-volley.

Barnsley were hampered by the loss of two defenders in the first half, including skipper Jason Shackell, with the ex-Canary off the field receiving attention for a facial injury when Crofts scored the second goal.

And though City were unable to add to their tally after the break, they seldom looked in danger of letting their lead slip.

The closest Barnsley came to scoring was in the 18th minute when goalkeeper John Ruddy made an excellent save from the head of Goran Lovre.

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It was a game that started in wet conditions but finished in bright unshine, to match the mood of well over 2,000 travelling City fans.

The Canaries have now been beaten only twice in their last 20 Championship games.

City boss Paul Lambert made two changes to the team that started the 1-1 draw with Doncaster on Tuesday.

Tierney was preferred to Adam Drury, scorer of an own goal against Doncaster, at left-back.

And Andrew Surman was recalled in midfield for his first start since November, with striker Aaron Wilbraham relegated to the bench with Drury.

Declan Rudd was back on the bench as reserve goalkeeper in place of Jed Steer after missing eight games with a fractured jaw.

Barnsley made two changes after the 3-3 draw at Leeds with injured midfield pair Nathan Doyle and Jacob Mellis replaced by Lovre and Jacob Butterfield.

There was a new face on the bench in the shape of striker Marlon Harewood, signed from Blackpool on loan for the rest of the season.

City reverted to four across midfield with Hoolahan playing just behind Holt in attack.

And it was Hoolahan who provided the first decent effort of the afternoon in the seventh minute when, after having to nudge referee Ilderton out of his path, he let fly from 25 yards and keeper Steele had to dive to his left to push the shot away.

Two minutes later, O'Connor was only just off target with a bobbling effort, and as play switched quickly to the other end, Hoolahan teed up Surman for a shot that was deflected wide for the first corner.

Fox's kick was punched away by Steele but City were soon pushing forward again and Shackell conceded another corner, Trippier this time heading clear from Fox's kick.

With 16 minutes gone, Hoolahan tested Steele again with a stinging left-foot shot from even further out, the 'keeper making a juggling save.

Ruddy made a fine save in the 18th minute to keep City on terms when Lovre got his head in the way of a shot by Arismendi and the deflection was goalbound before the keeper leapt to his left to tip the ball over for a corner.

McShane was booked for a foul on Holt in the 19th minute and the resulting free-kick by Fox forced Steele to save low to his right.

Midway through the half, Barnsley were reduced to 10 men temporarily as right-back Hassell hobbled off, Trippier switching to right-back.

After a short delay, Harewood came on for his debut with Haynes switching to the right midfield role vacated by Tripper's switch to defence.

Harewood's first effort, however, in the 28th minute, was not a memorable one. After Lovre bundled Whitbread out of the way, his low cross put a chance on a plate for Harewood, but he sliced his left-foot shot so badly that it went out for a throw-in.

Holt missed a golden chance to give City the lead in the 31st minute.

Crofts neatly flicked a pass from Fox into his path but he took the ball too far past Steele and, with too tight an angle, shot into the side netting.

Lovre volleyed over at the other end, but in the 33rd minute, the goal City had been threatening duly arrived, Crofts scoring his seventh of the season.

Surman nodded the ball into Tierney's path wide on the left, and the full-back's cross was met with a fine downward header by Crofts that gave Steele no chance.

Ward was in the wars when he followed through and connected with Butterfield as he cleared upfield.

Then Barnsley skipper Shackell needed attention after a nasty clash of heads with Lansbury that left him with a bloody face and he went to the dug-out for further treatment.

Fox blocked an attempt from Butterfield to shoot from just inside the Norwich area, then, with five minutes to go to the break, Crofts struck again with a stunning finish.

Barnsley were still down to 10 men when Crofts took a pass from Hoolahan with his back to goal and McShane behind him, and swivelled to hit a perfect left-foot shot inside Steele's right-hand post.

Two minutes before the break, O'Brien was sent on when it was clear Shackell was not able to return to the action. Barnsley had lost two of their back four before the break.

In first half stoppage time, a foul by Whitbread on Lovre gave Barnsley a free-kick on the right-hand corner of the penalty area, Trippier curling his effort wide.

• HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0, Norwich City 2

A poor pass by Butterfield almost set up City for goal number three 10 minutes after the break as Hoolahan intercepted and played a one-two with Holt, but as Hoolahan went for the return and appeared to be brought down, he was flagged offside.

Fox was just off target with a long-range effort as City continued to dominate proceedings.

With 20 minutes gone in the second half, Crofts was close to completing a hat-trick as he got the better of Haynes and struck a

powerful right-foot drive from 25 yards that whistled past the post.

Harewood managed to get his head to Tripper's cross but his looping effort lacked the power to worry Ruddy.

Ward cut out a low centre from Haynes as Barnsley continued to try to find a way back into the contest.

Whitbread got his head to a Fox free-kick without troubling Steele, and City were angered moments later when Arismendi clearly grabbed Hoolahan and pulled him back on the edge of the Barnsley area but referee Ilderton waved play on.

Ward was left in a heap by a challenge by Lovre that earned the Barnsley man a yellow card as the minutes ticked away.

Steele fumbled a cross from Lansbury but was lucky it fell kindly for his defenders to get the ball clear.

Holt fired just past the post from Lansbury's ball eight minutes from time, though the City skipper appeared to be fractionally offside.

With seconds of normal time remaining, Holt could have made it 3-0 when he went through against Steele, but the 'keeper closed him down well and blocked his shot with his chest.

Russell Martin was booked in stoppage time for a foul on Haynes.

• RESULT: Barnsley 0, Norwich City 2

• Barnsley: Steele; Hassell, McShane, Shackell, Hill; Trippier, Lovre, Arismendi, Butterfield; O'Connor, Haynes.

Subs: Preece, Nouble, O'Brien (for Shackell, 43), Gray (for O'Connor, 77), Branson, Fearnehough, Harewood (for Hassell, 25).

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ward, Whitbread, Tierney; Lansbury, Crofts, Fox, Surman; Hoolahan; Holt.

Subs: Rudd, Drury, Edwards, Gill, Korey Smith, Jackson, Wilbraham.

• Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear)

• Attendance: 12,461 (2,129 visitors)

• Goals: City: Crofts (33, 40)

• Bookings: Barnsley: McShane (19), Lovre (78). City: Russell Martin (90)