WATFORD 1 (Eustace 1)
A goal after only 41 seconds from Hornets skipper John Eustace was the difference between Watford and the Reds despite Barnsley bossing the majority of the match. Today's encounter was just about a carbon copy of the Reds' last home game with QPR.
Stephen Foster came back to partner Jason Shackell in the heart of defence following Paul McShane's return to Hull City. Bobby Hassell was named on the bench after recovering from a troublesome calf problem at the expense of the injured Alastair Taylor.
GOAL - 1 minute: After only 41 seconds, John Eustace's effort from less than a yard out opened the scoring.
It was a glorious afternoon in Hertfordshire and the Reds faced an uphill struggle after only 41 seconds. An early corner was forced home by Watford skipper John Eustace after&nbsp;Deeney's free header clipped the underside of the crossbar.
The opening minutes saw the Reds concede several corners that all flashed across the face of goal.
Just over ten minutes were on the watch as Matt Hill's goal-bound header was cleared for a corner. The fullback then had another left-footed effort blocked a minute later from&nbsp;12-yards.
Trippier showed excellent skill down the right on 12 minutes and his expert delivery was begging to be nodded home but it just evaded the head of Gray.
The Reds were now and top, and Butterfield's clever volley caused Loach to fumble but he gathered at the second attempt.
It was then Andy Gray who had a great chance on 17 minutes following Haynes' nod down but the striker's attempt was thwarted by a terrific last-ditch Watford challenge.
The Championship's top-scorer, Danny Graham, thought he was in on 22 minutes but Jason Shackell's challenge in the penalty area was perfectly-timed to deny the forward.
With twenty minutes of the first-half to play, Harewood flashed an attempt just wide - the Blackpool loanee was showing his Premier League class, pulling a chance out of absolutely nothing.
Barnsley were certainly controlling the game, in particular the middle of the park, with Butterfield and Mellis dictating the pace of play.
Jason Shackell was harshly penalised for a foul on Graham outside the penalty area - thankfully Cowie fired his free-kick straight into the wall on 34 minutes.
Deeney saw a terrific, improvised volley fly just wide of Steele's left-hand upright on 37 minutes, the forward was cleverly found by Taylor's header from a Watford corner.
Gray had another effort on target after nipping in behind the Hornets' defence, the former Forest man's header was powerful but straight at Scott Loach on 42 minutes.
It should have been 2-0 on 44 minutes as Sordell headed over with only Steele to beat. It came following Graham's surging run and subsequent delivery down the right.
The Reds made a change at the break, bearing in mind the imminent South Yorkshire derby clash with Doncaster on Monday - youngster Noble-Lazarus had a chance to show off his skill as he replaced Marlon Harewood in attack.
Haynes had a half a chance that seemed to be destined for the bottom corner but was deflected wide for a corner six minutes after the break.
It was then Watford's turn for their first attempt of the second-half and it came in the shape of full-back, Doyley. After cutting in from the left his right-footed drill was a couple of yards wide of Steele's near post.
Mellis received the first booking of that match for a fifty-fifty challenge with Danny Graham. The midfielder was then replaced by Bobby Hassell for the Reds' second change.
A minute past the hour and Loach was at his best to deny Haynes from six yards, but the forward should have done better as he met Hill's splendid delivery.
There was an onslaught on the Watford goal 65 minutes in but the Reds just couldn't find a way through. Noble-Lazarus, Doyle and Butterfield all saw efforts blocked by the Hornets.
Noble-Lazarus fancied his chances from a full 35-yards and the 17-year-old's attempt wasn't too far wide of Loach's top-left-hand corner. Haynes was then denied by the stopper once again after Foster found the forward in the area on 69 minutes.
Haynes was making a habit of popping up in the area as on 71 minutes he saw his early attempt well blocked by Doyley from 16-yards.
A scuffed 18-yard attempt from Weimann drifted just wide as Graham looked to steal in on 81 minutes but Steele saw the ball out for a goal-kick.
Frustration set in amongst the home fans following Barnsley's bossing of the closing stages. The only thing lacking a creative Reds display was an away goal.
Noble-Lazarus just couldn't force home after the ball was caught under his feet and straight up at the other end Drinkwater tested Steele with a fierce low drive on 91 minutes.
Another long-distance drive from Noble-Lazarus flew just over from 25-yards just before Scott Loach was booked for time-wasting.
The full-time whistle ended yet another bright display from the Reds with nothing to show despite bossing the opposition.
Watford: Loach, Hodson, Eustace, Taylor, Mariappa, Cowie, Deeney, Graham, Doyley, Sordell (Weimann 53), Mingoia (Drinkwater 75).
Subs not used: Gilmartin, Buckley, Bennett, Massey, Thompson.
Barnsley: Steele, Shackell, Doyle, Foster, Haynes, Harewood (Noble-Lazarus), Trippier, Mellis (Hassell 57), Butterfield, Gray (Clark 82), Hill.
Subs not used: Preece, McEveley, O'Brien, Arismendi.
Referee: Danny McDermid
Assistant Referee: Phillip Knight &amp; Mike Blackledge
Fourth Official: Mike George
Attendance: 14,098 (623 away)