Barnsley’s dream return to Wembley ended in heartache at Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur.
The Reds fought valiantly and defended admirably in the Carabao Cup fourth round at the national stadium tonight.
But Dele Alli bagged the only goal of the game in the second half to end Barnsley’s cup run.
The Reds secured a wonderful Wembley double two seasons ago when they lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, before sealing their return back to the Championship through the play-offs.
Adam Hammill, who sent Paul Heckingbottom’s side back to their second home for the third time in 18 months, urged the players to create another Wembley memory for terminally ill owner Patrick Cryne in the build-up.
And the Reds gave it a real go, but it was not to be on the night.
Head coach Heckingbottom made five changes to the side who were well beaten against Aston Villa at the weekend.
Summer signing Zeki Fryers and academy graduate Jared Bird were handed their debuts.
Angus MacDonald returned for the first time since being sent off in the league, with Ryan Hedges and Ike Ugbo also returning.
Matty Pearson, Adam Jackson, George Moncur, Hammill and Tom Bradshaw were the quintet to miss out as they started on the bench.
Mauricio Pochettino named a fairly strong line-up, with former Red Kieran Trippier in the side, and had last year’s Premier League Golden Boot winner Harry Kane on the bench alongside Danish international Christian Eriksen.
The Reds competed well but found chances few and far between in the first half at England’s home of football.
Heckingbottom’s men could have been behind just two minutes into the game as debutant Juan Foyth headed wide when he should have done better for the hosts.
After Spurs’ early effort, both sides took their time as the hosts expectedly held a lot of the ball.
Heckingbottom’s charges were penned in their own half as England international Alli tried hard to put his mark on the match with a few efforts from range.
The Reds were given a huge reprieve as Fernando Llorente missed a glorious chance to score on his first Spurs start.
Llorente nodded a great chance over after rising highest from a corner.
Just after the half-hour mark the Reds had their first chance of the game.
It came on the counter as Harvey Barnes burst down the left with Jan Vertonghen making a great tackle before Barnes could let rip.
The Reds almost took a shock lead into half time but Liam Lindsay could only nod Ryan Hedges’ corner wide.
After the break the Reds carved up some decent chances. Moments after the restart Ugbo nearly caught the hosts napping and forced Michel Vorm into a top save.
Down the other end Alli saw his strike deflected for a corner, before Brad Potts fired wide for the Reds.
Adam Davies pulled off a crucial save to keep Harry Winks’ volley out after Trippier’s cross on the hour.
But the resolute Reds were finally broken down in the 65th minute by Alli.
Trippier found Alli inside the box and he easily slotted home the decisive blow.
Hammill was brought on with 20 minutes to go, but even Barnsley’s Mr Wembley could not find an answer.
Alli then nearly doubled his tally as he curled a decent effort past the post.
With 10 minutes left Hammill had a volley deflected wide by one of his own players. Late on Davies kept the Reds in the hunt be snuffling Son Heung-Min’s close-range effort.
Tottenham: Vorm, Walker-Pieters, Foyth, Vertonghen, Trippier, Winks, Dembele (Dier, 79), Son, Alli (Oakley-Boothe, 90), Sissoko, Llorente (Nkoudou, 67).
Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Eriksen, Kane.
Barnsley: Davies, McCarthy, MacDonald, Lindsay, Fryers, Potts (Moncur, 71), Bird, Williams (Bradshaw, 79), Barnes (Hammill, 71), Ugbo, Hedges.
Unused subs: Townsend, Pearson, Jackson, Thiam.
Referee: Tim Robinson