OAKWELL was breached as two early goals earned rock bottom Peterborough a deserved victory.
Hopes had been high that the Reds would extend their four-game unbeaten home run, but Posh punished some static defending in a first half which also saw both sides strike the woodwork.
Reds boss Keith Hill made a couple of changes following Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Ipswich Town. Stephen Foster was injured so his central defensive place went to Bobby Hassell. John Stones was also back at right-back in place of Tom Kennedy.
It proved to be a disastrous start to the game as the Reds fell two behind in 10 minutes.
Two minutes in, Shaun Brisley headed Tommy Rowe’s pinpoint cross against the post and midfielder George Boyd was perfectly placed to slide home the rebound.
In the 10th minute there was a further shock for Barnsley when Tyrone Barnett rose to head past Ben Alnwick, with skipper Rose again having floated over a measured cross.
The home fans looked on in disbelief, but at least Chris Dagnall responded when he saw a stooping header saved by Bobby Olejnik. Alnwick got down well to keep out a Michael Bostwick drive, but back came the Reds again as Craig Davies was denied by the woodwork just past the half-hour mark.
He just missed out on a ninth goal of the season when, after being teed up by youngster Stones, he thumped a 25-yard pile-driver against the crossbar.
At the other end Rowe struck the crossbar in first-half stoppage-time with a cracking shot from just inside the box. Three-nil down at the interval would surely have meant it was all over for the Reds.
Hill opted not to make any changes at the break, and his side did begin the second half promisingly with Dagnall going close with an arrowing drive.
The Reds faithful then howled for a penalty twice in a minute. Firstly Davies seemed to be upended by Brisley, then Tomasz Cywka’s shot looked as though it struck Craig Alcock’s hand.
Referee Mr Boyeson wasn’t impressed with either appeal and minutes later there was almost further woe for Barnsley when Barnett found space on the edge of the hosts’ box but could only fire wide.
Subs Marlon Harewood, David Perkins and Matt Done were all thrown on by Hill with time now beginning to run out, but by the 70-minute mark attacking ideas appeared to be drying up a little.
At that point Davies saw a shot blocked after he skipped cheekily past Alcock, but overall the hosts simply hadn’t produced enough in front of goal.
With minutes remaining Harewood charged in to meet Stephen Dawson’s cross, but totally missed the ball.
Barnsley [4-1-3-2]: Alnwick 7; Stones 8, Hassell 5 (Perkins 59, 6), Wiseman 6, Golbourne 6; Dawson 7; Cywka 7, Cranie 6, Mellis 5 (Done 65, 6); Dagnall 7 (Harewood 59, 6), Davies 7. Subs not used: Steele, Etuhu, Rose, Kennedy.
Peterborough [5-3-2]: Olejnik 7; Little 7, Brisley 6, Alcock 7, Knight-Percival 6, Rowe 8; Ferdinand 7 (Zakuani 90), Bostwick 7, Boyd 8 (McCann 88, 5); Barnett 7, Sinclair 6 (Barahino 64, 6).
Substitutes: Day, Swanson, Tomlin, Ntlhe. Yellow cards: Bostwick (48), Barahino (74)