Cauley Woodrow and Kieffer Moore kept Barnsley's foot firmly on the promotion pedal, before a late injury to Moore marred their 4-1 win at Gillingham.
Woodrow took his tally to 11 goals in 21 games with a brace either side of half-time after Moore's 18th of the season gave the Reds a lead after only 14 seconds.
But Moore had to leave the pitch on a stretcher after a nasty-looking collision with Gabriel Zakuani late in the game and the Reds, who added a fourth at the death through Jacob Brown, will be nervously monitoring his situation.
They will be desperate to keep him fit alongside Woodrow as between them they have scored 29 goals and offer firepower that could easily keep Daniel Stendel's side in the top two.
Their position in the automatic promotion places was consolidated by Portsmouth and Sunderland dropping points.
Moore is lethal at this level and he needed less than 20 seconds to bag his fifth goal in the last six games to give his side the advantage, firing home from close range as the Reds went straight on to the attack.
Woodrow, who earlier missed a glaring chance to double the lead, made amends on the stroke of half-time as he looped in a header from Mamadou Thiam's cross.
The former Fulham man was on the scoresheet again with 19 minutes remaining as he fired in from a tight angle.
Elliott List bagged a consolation for the hosts when he shot through a sea of bodies before there were concerning scenes for the Reds as Moore left the field on a stretcher.
Brown added a late fourth 11 minutes into stoppage time, crashing in off the woodwork as the Reds made it 11 games unbeaten.
Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, Ehmer, Zakuani, Ogilive (Charles-Cook 79), Rees (Parrett 65) Byrne, Hanlan, Burke, King (List 54), Eaves
Subs not used: Hadler,O'Neill, Reilly, Lopes
Barnsley: Davies, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Pinillos, Brown, McGeehan, Mowatt (Dougall 79), Thiam, Woodrow (Bahre 72), Moore (Green 90)
Subs not used: Walton, Fryers,, Hedges Adeboyejo
Referee: Trevor Kettle