BARNSLEY moved to within four points of the play-off places after a hard-fought win over Colchester on Friday night.

In-form Sam Winnall, who has scored eight in his last eight outings, put the Reds ahead early on. His fourth-minute low shot got his side off to the best possible start.

That lead turned out to be short lived, though. Former Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday loanee Sanchez Watt scrambled home for the visitors to pull the sides level after 15 minutes.

Barnsley seized the initiative after the break and took the lead again through top-scorer Conor Hourihane, who converted a penalty after Devante Cole had been impeded in the box.

Hourihane - whose consistent form has seen him become a firm fans' favourite since arriving in the summer - then turned provider when his cross found Peter Ramage who headed in Barnsley's decisive third.

Colchester threatened a nervy finish when Freddie Sears pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation and the Reds came away with a deserved three points.

Their third consecutive win moved Danny Wilson's side up to 11th in the League One standings.

Assistant boss Chris Hutchings said: "It's all about confidence - if you're winning games it breeds that and the things you try often come off.

"Everything's going well at this moment in time. It's another three points towards where we want to go."