Stoke City hammered Barnsley to go two points clear of the Championship's bottom three and leave their fellow strugglers four points off safety.
A resounding win meant hosts Stoke - who started the day in the bottom three - rose to 18th, while Barnsley remain 23rd after bottom side Luton Town lost 5-0 to Reading.
The Potters raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening ten minutes with Sam Vokes rising to head home a Sam Clucas corner, before Tyrese Campbell tucked home James McClean's cut-back with a clever backheel.
Campbell scored his second in the 38th minute through a well-worked corner routine, side-footing McClean's low cross beyond Barnsley keeper Jack Walton.
The visitors created very few chances and Stoke rounded off the victory with a fourth late on when substitute Tom Ince curled in a powerful strike off the underside of the bar.
Stoke sparkle to stop slump Stoke had been the only club in the bottom six yet to taste victory since football resumed after the coronavirus outbreak.
The Potters had taken one point from their three games back, and defeats by relegation rivals Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough had seen them slip into the drop zone.
Boss Michael O'Neill took drastic action, making five changes from the side beaten by the Latics in midweek - and replacing three of his back four.
A clean sheet justified the defensive shuffle but it was his forwards who caught the eye, stunning the visitors with two goals inside the opening ten minutes.
Full-back Kilian Ludewig went close to halving the deficit for the Tykes, stinging the palms of England international keeper Jack Butland with a fierce strike just before the first-half drinks break.
But O'Neill's side hosts continued to look the better side, deservedly nabbing a third goal through Campbell and only being denied a fourth on the stroke of half-time when a Vokes header was kept out by Walton diving low to his right.
Gerhard Struber's Barnsley had enjoyed a resurgence following lockdown, travelling to Staffordshire just two points behind Stoke, having been seven points adrift of safety when the season was suspended.
Yet the Tykes, who had the better of the possession, looked a shadow of the side that had taken seven points from a possible nine and barely threatened in the second half, with Ince adding a fourth home goal to seal a stylish win late on.
Stoke manager Michael O'Neill: "I am delighted with the result.
We had the right intensity in our play, that was the message we hammered home during the week.
"We have done a lot on set-pieces and we capitalised on that.
We deserved to win the game.
"We were pleased with our play; it was a great result after a difficult week.
It is a step in the right direction but nothing else.
"We had a higher intensity to our play and scored some very good goals.
We need to carry this forward over the next five games, or we will be in the relegation zone.
" Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber: "When they got the second goal, we lost our plan and it affected the mindset of the players.
Stoke had a big advantage and we were not clear and ready at this moment.
"Against this massive opponent you cannot make so many mistakes.
Today we did not show the face of the last three games and I hope we can get a very big reaction.
"The boys are down.
This is our responsibility and we need to have the right mindset in a game like this.
The attitude was not right, especially after 10 minutes.
We did not have the belief we needed.
"We have to get the belief back and that is down to me to sort.
We were not ready today and we have to change that against Luton (who Barnsley face on Tuesday).