Barnsley fans were left chanting "It's just like watching Brazil" as Brazilian Anderson De Silva's stunning strike sent his side on their way to a crushing 4-1 victory at Preston.
When the Sao Paulo-born midfielder, 27, rifled a brilliant low shot into the net from 25 yards after eight minutes, it was just reward for the Tykes' early enterprise.
Danny Welbeck equalised for Preston in the 27th minute after a mistake from Barnsley defender Darren Moore but Mark Robins' men hit back in style and ran out emphatic winners.
They restored their lead four minutes before half-time when Preston full-back Michael Hart diverted Stephen Foster's header into his own net.
Andy Gray added a third with 21 minutes remaining and he then showed intelligence to set up debutant substitute Jay Rodriguez for a fourth in added time.
Barnsley outfought and outplayed Preston throughout and the boos that rang out around Deepdale at the interval and again at the final whistle served as a stark reminder of the task facing North End boss Darren Ferguson.
Ferguson's men had won their previous two matches but they were no match for Barnsley, who on this evidence look the more capable of challenging for a play-off berth.
The Tykes gave a debut to Filipe Teixeira and their crisp passing left Preston chasing shadows at times.
De Silva's eighth-minute opener summed up the early exchanges as the Brazilian dispossessed Richard Chaplow and strode forward unopposed before striking a fierce right-footed shot past Lonergan and into the bottom corner.
The advantage should have been doubled seven minutes later when De Silva's right-wing cross was greeted at the far post by Emil Hallfredsson but the Norwegian's header flashed inches wide.
Preston showed nothing as a creative force in the opening quarter but, after Chris Brown headed a Ross Wallace cross over the crossbar, the equaliser arrived in the 27th minute.
It owed plenty to good fortune as Welbeck seized on a dreadful backpass by Barnsley centre-back Moore, 18 yards from goal, and rifled home past the exposed Luke Steele.
The strike breathed life into Ferguson's men but Barnsley continued to threaten and in the 41st minute Hallfredsson's outswinging corner from the left flank was met by Foster, whose firm header from 12 yards struck Hart and flew into the net.
Two minutes after the break, Steele produced a fine block to keep out Mellor's right-footed volley at the far post but Lonergan was forced to repel Hugo Colace's long-range effort soon after and then Gray headed against a post.
Preston's goal continued to lead a charmed life but it was breached for a third and final time in the 69th minute when Gray expertly controlled Nathan Doyle's long punt upfield and drilled a fierce shot high into the net from 12 yards.
Ferguson threw on new signing Keith Treacy and also introduced former Barnsley trainee Jon Parkin in the second half but it was to no avail as Gray squared for Rodriguez to tap home a late fourth.
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