The Reds’ superb victory at Reading had given them renewed hope of avoiding the drop, but it was imperative they followed up with another positive result in this relegation six-pointer.
But the Glovers’ terrific result at Leicester will have lifted spirits in their camp, so both sides had fourth-bottom Charlton firmly in their sights.
There was a steely determination written across the faces of every Barnsley player but there was a cagey start to the game with tension among both sets of supporters, while the players seemed to be mirroring that as early passes were going astray.
The Reds created the first opening when leading scorer O’Grady managed to find space in the box before spinning and firing a low shot narrowly wide via a deflection.But the short corner-kick routine came to nothing.
However, Kennedy’s timely tackle of danger-man Miller allowed the visitors’ defence to clear the danger.
A whipped-in cross from Kevin Dawson forced Reds’ ‘keeper Steele into a smart move as he nipped just in front of the threatening Duffy.
The hosts went close again when ten-goal leading scorer Miller let fly with a shot which took a deflection off M’voto, before the ball dropped into Steele’s grasp.
O’Grady. on a run of nine games without a goal, latched on to Kennedy’s in-swinging free-kick, but he stumbled when trying to control the ball and the Glovers won a goal-kick.
Seconds later O’Grady produced a better effort - this time glancing a header just wide from Etuhu’s smart cross.
The Red were forced into a substitution. Pedersen had taken a knock in a clash with McAllister, and when he failed to recover he was replaced him with Noble-Lazarus, who was quickly into the action.
He met a neatly-played pass from O’Grady before firing in a shot from the edge of the box which was bravely blocked by Webster. On the half-hour the youngster fluffed a gilt-edged opportunity to break the deadlock.
O’Grady was again the provider, crossing in low for Noble-Lazarus, who flicked a shot wide from 10 yards when he ought to have got the effort on target at least.
The hosts forced a super save from Steele when Kevin Dawson touched the ball to Ralls, but his thunderbolt was superbly saved by the Reds’ keeper when the ball looked destined for the top corner of the net. At the other end Kennedy forced Stech into action, but the ‘keeper kept out a well-hit low drive.
Ther Glovers showed their attacking intent in the opening stages of the second period. Miller ought to have done better when he rose well to meet Edwards’ corner, only to head well wide.
The deadlock was broken by the Reds nine minutes after the restart. Defender Webster attempted a simple header back to ‘keeper Stech, but it was far too short, allowing the predatory O’GRADY to nip in between the two before clipping a shot into the gaping goal.
It was O’Grady’s 12th Championship goal of the season, but would it prove to be the most vital?
Former Doncaster ace Hayter came on to replace Moore for the Glovers, but it was Barnsley who were next to threaten a second goal, Liam Lawrence firing in a shot which Stech saved well down low.
The goal had clearly rocked the hosts, yet even better was to follow for the Reds in the 64th minute as they stormed further ahead.
This time O’Grady was provider, teeing up Liam LAWRENCE who drilled home his first Reds goal from the edge of the box via a slight deflection of loanee defender Duffy.
The travelling faithful celebrated hard - surely this would be enough now.
Just when the Reds were looking comfortable, they conceded with 20 minutes left.
Skipper AYLING gave the hosts hope when he side-footed home McAlister’s cross.
However Barnsley were soon celebrating again when O’GRADY’S 13th Championship goal of the season made it 3-1, coolly beating Stech after racing on to Cywka’s measured through-ball.
There was even better to come. Still 12 minutes remained when JENNINGS made it 4-1 as he left Edwards for dead before drilling home quite superbly past Stech.
So, back-to-back wins for the first time this season give the Reds ever increasing hope of avoiding the drop - again.