Defeat at Oakwell.BCFC
Daryl Dike’s goal four minutes into the second-half was enough to separate the teams in a game of few chances at Oakwell.
Aitor Karanka made four changes to the team that collected a point at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday. Yan Valery and George Friend came into a back five, with Gary Gardner returning to the midfield. The final switch saw Scott Hogan brought into the attack to partner Lukas Jutkiewicz.
The game’s first chance fell the way of Blues from a free-kick with six minutes played after Valery was scythed down on the right flank. But Harlee Dean could only head Gary Gardner’s inviting delivery wide as Karanka’s players looked to get amongst the play-off chasing Tykes.
Barnsley responded by recording an attempt of their own through Cauley Woodrow, with their leading marksmen dragging his effort wide of Neil Etheridge’s goal.
Dean then had another header from a Gardner set-piece, though again this did not have the direction to test Brad Collins in the home side’s net.
And to complete some first-half symmetry, the last effort of the opening period saw Woodrow miscue an audacious half-volley.
Half-time: Barnsley 0 Blues 0
After the break, it was one of Barnsley’s other forwards who broke the deadlock in the 49th minute. When a freakish ricochet opened the game up, the ball was worked to Dike whose powerful strike found the top corner.
Both Jeremie Bela and Ivan Sanchez were deployed from the bench with 20 minutes remaining after a period of little goalmouth action at either end since the opening goal.
And the home team clearly recognised the threat, with Aapo Halme cynically bringing Bela down the first time he picked up possession.
Sam Cosgrove was also introduced and caused some moments of alarm in the Barnsley backline but Blues could not hit an equaliser with Sanchez pulling a last-gasp opportunity wide.
Having restricted the in-form Reds before the interval, Dike’s thumping shot soon after half-time proved the difference in South Yorkshire and secured all three points for Barnsley.
The result means Blues have 35 points from as many matches played.
Barnsley (3-4-3): Brad Collins, Michael Sollbauer (Toby Sibbick 71), Michal Helik, Mads Andersen, Callum Brittain, Romal Palmer (Aapo Halme 58), Alex Mowatt (captain), Callum Styles (Jordan Williams 46), Cauley Woodrow, Dominik Frieser (Carlton Morris 46), Daryl Dike.
Substitutes not used: Jack Walton, Herbie Kane, Conor Chaplin, Clarke Oduor, Victor Adeboyejo.
Booking: Halme 70 and Brittain 95.
Blues (5-3-2): Neil Etheridge, Yan Valery, Marc Roberts, Harlee Dean (captain), George Friend (Ivan Sanchez 69), Kristian Pedersen, Rekeem Harper (Jonathan Leko 84), Ivan Sunjic, Gary Gardner, Lukas Jutkiewicz (Jeremie Bela 70), Scott Hogan (Sam Cosgrove 84).
Substitutes not used: Andres Prieto, Maxime Colin, Jake Clarke-Salter, Adam Clayton, Alen Halilović.
Booking: Friend 33, Harper 72.
Referee: Graham Scott.
Blues have a clear midweek before welcoming Bristol City and Reading in successive home games on Saturday and Wednesday. March then ends with a trip to Watford ahead of the international break.