Derby 2 (Hendrick 34, Russell 42)
Reds 1 (Proschwitz 80)
The Reds put in a real shift at Derby but left it too late in their search for points to survive meaning only a minor miracle can save their Championship status.
The hosts piled on the pressure from the off and went fairly close on seven minutes to opening the score. Hendrick latched onto a decent through-ball but Steele was equal to his effort.
Ward then made forced Steele into another save, although it was a comfortable one on eight minutes, after exchanging passes with Thorne.
It was all Derby in the opening ten minutes as Hendrick curled over from the edge of the area with Barnsley penned into their own third.
The Reds did hit back with a short spell on the ball in attack and won two corners but M'voto couldn't convert at the far stick on 16 minutes.
Tomasz Cywka worked the ball onto his left foot with 17 played and forced Grant into a decent save low to his right, turning the ball round for a corner.
After McCourt worked the short corner into the area, the ball eventually fell for M'voto and after taking the ball past his man he fired over from a tight angle.
The best chance for Derby came for Russell after a neat one-two saw the midfielder break into the area on 20 minutes but he sliced his effort wide when one-on-one.
Just as Barnsley had eased themselves into the game, Derby took the lead on 34 minutes when Jeff Hendrick took aim from 30 yards. Steele must have thought it was heading wide as he allowed it to find the bottom corner.
On 42 minutes and, obviously, without any luck, Barnsley conceded a second as Russell's shot deflected over Luke Steele and into the net after he struck from 22 yards.
Barnsley started the second period with a change as Jacob Mellis replaced Paddy McCourt in midfield.
Chris O'Grady did well to rob his man of the ball and was brought down on the edge of the area. Kennedy bent in the resulting set-piece and Grant had to tip over on 47 minutes.
The Reds weren't offering what they were in the first half in the second, with attacks rare and pedestrian.
The Reds' second change saw Reuben Noble-Lazarus enter the field for Tomasz Cywka on 68 minutes. Nick Proschwitz then came on for the injured Liam Lawrence with 18 left.
The hosts almost added a third but M'voto cleared off the line from Forsyth's header after Dawkins sent in a cross on 78.
On 80 minutes Barnsley pulled one back as Proschwitz calmly finished when he latched on to Nyatanga's head down.
At the other end the referee raced towards the penalty area and pointed to the spot when Sammon went down under M'voto's challenge. Russell stepped up but Steele denied his powerful effort away to his left.
After a mostly dull second half, the final 10 minutes really kicked off with end-to-end action.
Jennings cracked in a 25-yarder that Grant did well to hold on 86 minutes whilst at the other end Steele made a brilliant stop to deny Bryson.
Four minutes of stoppage time was added and Barnsley needed a goal but it didn't come.
Derby: Grant, Forsyth, Bryson, Keogh, Hendrick, Martin (Sammon 78), Ward (Dawkins 65), Russell, Buxton, Wisdom, Thorne (Eustace 63).
Subs: Hughes, Legzdins, Whitbread, Bamford.
Reds: Steele, Nyatanga, Kennedy, M'voto, Cranie, Cywka (Noble-Lazarus 68), Jennings, McCourt (Mellis 46), Lawrence (Proschwitz 72), Dawson, O'Grady.
Subs: Turner, Woods, Frimpong, Proschwitz, Hassell, Noble-Lazarus.
Referee: Graham Scott.