Coventry City 1 (Platt 90+2)
Barnsley's miserable record in the City of Coventry continued as Clive Platt nodded home a stoppage-time winner after an uneventful 90 minutes which saw neither goalkeeper barely troubled.
The Reds were staying patient and seemed to have plenty of the time on the ball, eventually allowing Smith - who was operating down the right - to cross, and his curling delivery had Murphy worried and almost crept in.
Nimley volleyed over before Tonge forced Murphy into his first save of the match on 15 minutes and had to gather the vicious 20-yard strike at the second attempt.
Hill's men looked organised with Dawson on his debut working hard around Tonge who was dishing out the passes. But as the half unfolded, both sides got a little bit careless and neither seemed to be able to keep hold of the ball, although the surface wasn't helping.
A glorious opportunity fell for Nimley who went one-on-one with Steele but the Man City loanee could only drag his effort wide with the left boot.
Michael Tonge almost found a way through in the dying embers of the first half but Coventry got back and crowded the Stoke loanee out.
Both sets of supporters were hoping for a more exciting encounter when the teams emerged for the second half.
Tonge and Golbourne were replaced just past the hour with Done and Cotterill coming on in a bid to add some width. The hosts were turning up the heat and Barnsley were having to stay switched on.
Clarke got a strike away after the pacey Nimley managed to tee up his colleague on 66 but Steele was equal to hit down to his right. Barely three minutes later and a glancing header from Platt almost crept in after a lovely delivery from the right.
Oliver Norwood curled a 25-yard free-kick wide in the final ten minutes but the match seemed destined to end goalless. Although in the 85th minute, only some desperate defending kept the Sky Blues at bay, with Edwards the shining example of throwing his body quite literally on the line.
The luck of the Reds seemed to have disappeared when a stray shot fell very kindly for Nimley, his shot deflected into the path of Platt but the big centre-forward could only scuff his eight-yard effort at goal which Steele managed to scramble across his six-yard box and collect.
And, just as you would expect, Platt scored. For all of Barnsley's ease dealing with City, they came undone in the last minute. The big striker just had to nod home after Nimley dinked into his path.
It could have been two had McSheffrey's strike not hammered the crossbar following a counter-attack, but it didn't matter as Thorn's struggling side scraped the victory.
Coventry City: Murphy, Keogh, Baker (Bell 57), McSheffrey, Deegan, Crainey, Norwood, Nimley, Platt, Clarke, Christie.
Subs: Dunn, Clingan, McDonald, Cameron.
Reds: Steele, Wiseman, McEveley, Edwards, Foster, McNulty, Smith, Tonge (Cotterill 61), Dawson (Gray 76), Golbourne (Done 61), Davies.
Subs: Dagnall, Preece.
Referee: Andy D'Urso
Assistant Referees: D. Eaton & C O'Donnell
Fourth Official: M Blackledge
Attendance: 13,928 (922 Reds)