Reds 2 (Scotland 15, Dagnall pen 64)
Brighton 1 (Ulloa 59)
It was all about hitting the right spot on this freezing Oakwell night as Luke Steele denied the Seagulls a share of the spoils with a tremendous late penalty save.
Jason Scotland fired the Reds into a first-half lead on his first start for the Reds, with Chris Dagnall’s penalty kick sandwiching Ulloa’s header to give David Flitcroft’s Tykes another vital win.
The Reds started the brighter of the two sides and pressed well but the first proper chance fell for Buckley when the ball dropped kindly on the edge of the box but he struck well wide with the right boot.
Scotland replied for the Reds in five minutes after drifting in from the right but he dragged wide from 22 yards.
On 15 minutes Jason Scotland found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper after a defensive mistake, the striker simply doesn’t miss from 15 yards as he powered low into the net.
Confidence was now with the Reds after their decent start although Etuhu fired over from 30 yards after doing well to win the ball in midfield.
At one end Scotland headed at goal from Delap’s cross and at the other Buckley dragged wide from a fairly tight angle after a great ball over the top on 28 minutes. Barnsley were certainly looking the more cohesive of the two units in the opening period.
O’Grady was distraught when he wasn’t awarded a penalty on 38 minutes when he was being hauled all over the shop in the box.
Just as one minute of stoppage time was indicated, Jacob Mellis fizzed in a vicious 25-yard free kick that deflected just wide.
The Reds picked up where they left off and were searching for a second goal. Perkins stung the palms of Kuszczak only seconds after Etuhu saw his 20-yarder blocked following O’Grady’s strong play on 53 minutes.
It was Steele’s turn to be tested on 55 minutes and again a minute later – the second chance was the better of the two with Orlandi only managing to hit the chest of Steele when one-on-one after Buckley’s effort was tipped around the post.
Both sides made a change before the hour with Lualua and Dagnall coming on for Brighton and the Reds, respectively.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Brighton found the leveller when Ulloa popped up from behind the Reds’ defence to head home Lualua’s wicked cross on 58 minutes.
A penalty was awarded to the Reds on 63 minutes when Dagnall was denied any chance of making a connection with O’Brien’s cross when he was hauled back by El-Abd.
Dagnall himself stepped up and took responsibility in front of the Ponty End and tucked into the bottom corner.
Steele was called into action on 68 minutes when Lualua cut inside and smashed towards the near post but the Barnsley skipper got incredibly strong hands behind the ball and did well to hold onto it.
With just over 15 left to play Tomasz Cywka came on for Jim O’Brien who had put in another hard shift out wide.
Lualua was by far the busiest of the Brighton players and again he cracked in another fierce drive but it sailed wide of Steele’s left-hand upright.
Rory Delap was replaced by Bobby Hassell on 78 minutes, with the club stalwart slotting in at centre-half and Wiseman switching to right-back.
A lifeline was handed to Brighton on 82 minutes when they were awarded a penalty following a Perkins trip on Calderon. The striker stepped up but could only find the strong hands of Luke Steele who hammered the ball away.
O’Grady was leading the line incredibly well for the Reds as four minutes of stoppage time was added and Barnsley held on to deny the high-flying Seagulls a share of the spoils.
Reds: Steele, Cranie, Wiseman, Delap (Hassell 78), Kennedy, Perkins, Mellis, Etuhu, Scotland (Dagnall 58), O'Grady, O'Brien (Cywka 74).
Subs: Lidakevicius, Tunnicliffe, Dawson, Harewood.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor (Crofts 61), Hammond (Barker 78), El-Abd, Orlandi, Calderon, Ulloa, Upson, Lopez (Lualua 57), Bridcutt, Buckley.
Subs: Ankergren, Greer, Dicker, Forster-Caskey.
Attendance: 7,869 (away 379)
Referee: Mark Heywood