Sean Dyche’s Burnley march on ominously towards the Premier League as they showed plenty of class in getting the better of sinking Barnsley.
The Reds’ position is now looking increasingly precarious with just six matches remaining, though Danny Wilson will at least take some heart from the way his side enjoyed a good share of possession against such high quality opponents.
It’s on the road again next, to much more beatable mid-table opponents Bolton, but no goals from back-to-back home fixtures will be a huge concern with time running out fast.
Boss Wilson was forced into a couple of changes following the weekend’s goalless Oakwell draw with Brighton.
Liam Lawrence was out injured and Kelvin Etuhu was suspended following his two yellow cards on Saturday, so in stepped fellow midfield pair Jacob Mellis and Martin Woods.
Skipper Stephen Dawson - arrested last Thursday by the National Crime Agency following spot-fixing allegations - continued at the heart of the Reds midfield.
All four sides of the stadium were busy as the automatic promotion-chasers were in town, and it was the Clarets who got themselves off to a dream start after just seven minutes.
A quality strike opened the scoring, with Michael Kightly whipping in a superb cross for Ashley Barnes, who dived in with menace to power home a header at the near post.
Barnes ought to have doubled his tally in the 20th minute when he glanced an effort wide from just a couple of yards, but by that time the Reds had created a couple of half-chances of their own. Dale Jennings darted in from the flank before firing just wide, while Mellis found himself in plenty of space, only to shoot disappointingly over the top.
The second quarter of the game saw the Reds gain a foothold in proceedings, yet still without creating a clear-cut opportunity.
The best came when Chris O’Grady expertly teed up the unmarked Jennings, but he blazed a shot high and wide from just inside the box.
Neither boss made a change at the break. Wilson was presumably content that his side were still in contention, though Kightly almost put clear daylight between the two sides when he guided an angled shot wide from 15 yards.
Luke Steele then came to Barnsley’s rescue when he superbly tipped Kightly’s effort wide of the far post after the Clarets’ wide-man had surged clear.
The Reds were becoming more and desperate for a goal with drop rivals Millwall and Charlton both leading, but Woods frustrated the home faithful when he drove a shot hopefully wide from the edge of the box.
At the other end Kightly almost dished out the ultimate punishment when forcing Steele into another smart stop, and as the 70-minute mark passed, the Clarets began what turned out to be a cruise towards the finishing line.
Barnsley: Steele 8; McLaughlin 6, M’voto 7, Nyatanga 6, Kennedy 7, Mellis 4 (Noble-Lazarus 60, 6), Dawson 8, Woods 5 (McCourt 81, 6), Jennings 7, Cywka 5, O’Grady 6. Subs not used: Turner, Proschwitz, Hassell, Hunt, Frimpong.
Yellow cards: Mellis (29), O’Grady (48).
Burnley: Heaton 7, Mee 6, Duff 7, Shackell 8, Baird 7, Kightly 8, Marney 5, Jones 6, Arfield 7, Barnes 8, Ings 7 (Treacy 87, 6). Subs not used: Cisak, Wallace, Long, Trippier, Stock, Edgar.
Yellow cards: Marney (83).
referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)