In front of just under 3,000 supporters, Bobby Hassell was the star of the show at Oakwell on Saturday.
‘Sir Bobby’ as he’s known by many Reds’ fans, celebrated his 10-year stay with Barnsley FC by leading out Lee Johnson’s side against his first club, Mansfield Town.
And Hassell also got on the scoresheet, netting from the penalty spot as the Reds won 4-3.
For most of the match Hassell was joined by players from Johnson’s current squad – including the two loan arrivals from Manchester United, Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell, as well as trialist David Ball who scored a sublime goal – but in the closing stages Bobby’s former team-mates, mostly made up from the 2006 League One play-off final success, joined him on the pitch and Daniel Nardiello, now at Bury with ex-Reds manager David Flitcroft, popped up with the decisive fourth goal.
“It was a great way to say goodbye in a proper manner,” said 35-year-old Hassell, who made nearly 300 appearances in a decade at the club.
“I was a bit apprehensive before and I hadn’t kicked a ball for six weeks. I didn’t know what my touch was going to be like but it came back to me straight away.
“I dedicated my career to the club and the town, so to be able to say a proper goodbye was a special day.”
Hassell, wearing the captain’s armband, was presented with a framed shirt by Reds owner Patrick Cryne prior to kick-off.
And Hassell opened the scoring with a well-taken seventh minute penalty after Josh Scowen had been brought down in the box.
However, Green brought Mansfield level almost immediately, and then Lambe put the visitors ahead.
Barnsley pulled it back to 2-2 in sensational fashion, eight minutes before the break. New centre-back Alfie Mawson dinked a fine pass over he top of the Mansfield rearguard and trialist Ball brought it under control before producing a sublime lob over the stranded ‘keeper from the edge of the penalty area.
Loan signing Rothwell put the Reds 3-2 up in the 67th minute, after tremendous work down the right by the highly-rated James Bree.
Three minutes later the whole Barnsley team was replaced by the ‘legends’.
And goalkeeper David Preece pulled off an astonishing save ar his near post 11 minutes from time.
Nardiello nodded home Barnsley’s fourth goal, from a fine Neil Austin cross, in the 83rd minute, before Mansfield made it 4-3 through Craig Westcarr three minutes later.
Barnsley: Davies, Bree, Mawson (Templeton, 63 mins), Nyatanga, Smith, Scowen, Hassell (Roberts, 30), Rothwell, Pearson, Ball, Wilkinson. Subs: Dibble, Maris.
Ex-Reds: Preece, Austin, Reid, Foster, Heckingbottom, Kay, Devaney, Shuker, Howard, Nardiello.
Referee: David Coote.
Attendance: 2,984 (with 196 from Mansfield).