It could have been different as youngster John Stones - making only his second appearance - flashed a header centimetres wide of the far post in the dying seconds of the game.
The Reds started brightly and Danny Rose twice almost connected with a teasing Scott Golbourne delivery after some fantastic flowing football. Jim O'Brien turned exquisitely before flashing just wide from 25 yards on 15 minutes as Keith Hill's side really took the game to the Seagulls.
On 20 minutes it seemed young striker Danny Rose was in on goal but a deflection just took the ball away from his feet as he advanced into the area. Brighton's first attempt on goal finally came in the 28th minute when Barnes spurned a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock as he lashed wide from a matter of yards.
With half-an-hour gone Gonzalez was worried as he scrambled and stretched across goal to cover a Wiseman cross that seemed to be dipping in but went just wide. Before the interval, Brighton forced Button into two smart saves as the Seagulls started to show some form of threat. Button's second save was one to shout about - a vicious Dicker effort that the Tottenham loanee tipped over.
Eight minutes after the break saw Craig Davies drag wide from 18 yards before Bobby Hassell was introduced to a standing ovation as he made his first appearance since January.
Danny Rose was showing no fear and he again tried his luck from distance only to hammer wide as the Reds searched for an opener. The young striker made a great run into the area minutes later bu O'Brien had threaded a different ball forward.
O'Brien then tried it for himself on 65 minutes when he met a cleared corner with a neat volley but Gonzalez was equal to it away to his left. Scott Golbourne, back in the side after injury, was constantly marauding down the left flank and his pull-back for Davies was clipped wide by the striker.
The football was flowing from Keith Hill's side, and when O'Brien cleverly flicked through for Hassell to stand up a cross but, agonisingly, nobody was there to finish. Although the tempo has slowed, Barnsley were well in control with Davies working hard up top and allowing Perkins to let fly from 20 yards but his effort went the wrong side of the top corner on 80 minutes.
Into the dying seconds of the game came the moment for John Stones to really make a name for himself when O'Brien's free-kick found the youngster six yards out but the Under-18s skipper flashed his header a matter of centimetres wide in front of the Ponty End.
Reds: Button, Wiseman, Foster, McNulty, Golbourne, O'Brien, Dawson, Perkins, Clark, Rose, Davies. Subs: Gray, Stones, Hassell, Done, Cotterill.
Brighton: Gonzalez, Mattock, Dunk, Al-Abd, Barnes, Mackail-Smith, Calderon, Vicente, Dicker, Bridcutt, Buckley. Subs: Navarro, Sparrow, Assulin, Ankergren, Vokes.
Referee: Colin Webster Assistant Referees: Jonathan Hunt & Kevin Mattocks.