Port Vale 0
Reds 1 (Hourihane 9)
Barnsley picked up another big three points on the road at fellow Play-Off hopefuls Port Vale with a hard-fought win at Vale Park.
Conor Hourihane's free-kick was the difference as Barnsley picked up their first win at Vale Park since the famous 1996/97 season.
After Barnsley were awarded a free-kick, a break in play was caused by a coming together between Toney and Duffy. Eventually it subsided with Hourihane whipping in a dangerous delivery that drifted past everyone and into the far corner. It seemed the presence of Roberts put Alnwick off meaning the Reds' skipper's free-kick went straight in.
The Reds were on top in the early stages and were winning the ball back well in midfield. Hammill charged into the box on 14 minutes but got nothing after going down before getting a shot away.
Vale's first threat on the Barnsley goal saw Ajay Leitch-Smith bring a good save from Adam Davies. After the ball was worked into the right-hand side of the box, Leitch-Smith's low effort towards the far corner was turned away by Davies' strong hand.
The game began to stretch as the clock ticked past the half-hour mark, both sides had good counter-attacks snuffed out as the wind howled across Vale Park.
The hosts probably should have levelled the match on 40 minutes when Ajay Leitch-Smith latched onto Grant's ball over the top. The forward scuffed a poor effort straight at Davies when a simple lob would have taken the game to 1-1.
In the closing stages of the half, Barnsley were looking for a second and after once again winning the ball back in midfield, Brownhill saw his cross blocked before he fired a free-kick into the arms of Alnwick.
Just four minutes into the second half saw the Reds almost get in on goal with Brownhill. Fletcher and Toney combined well with the latter slipping a ball into the box for Brownhill to chase but it ran just too far for the midfielder to catch.
At the other end, Barnsley had to clear their lines after Purkiss got the better of Mawson and pulled the ball back into the danger area. Thankfully from the clearance Grant scooped well over the bar.
On the hour mark, Vale fired over a decent chance through Foley after a long throw by Purkiss. The chance came after a break in play where substitute Michael Brown - on the pitch for 30 seconds - shoved Ivan Toney in the face.
Ivan Toney was replaced on 62 minutes by Shaun Tuton for a straight swap up top.
On 69 minutes Tuton charged down the left onto Hammill's ball and saw a good effort deflect wide for a corner. By this point, the game had gone past boiling point with Hourihane having picked up a booking for a 50-50 with Grant.
Just two minutes later saw Ashley Fletcher show incredible feet to evade his man and dance into the area but just as he pulled the trigger Duffy appeared from nowhere to deny him.
Barnsley continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack but it just wasn't dropping for them as they searched for a second goal to secure the points.
The hosts came at the Reds and almost found the leveller on 85 minutes as a pull-back fell Duffy's way but he could only scuff across the face of goal and wide.
Barnsley went up the other end through Williams who put in another dangerous ball for Fletcher to attack, Hammill picked up on his headed attempt but couldn't muster up a chance.
Port Vale were throwing the kitchen sink at the Reds and again came so close through Dickinson after a long punt dropped kindly for the defender. Roberts was staying strong at the back as he repelled every long punt Vale offered.
Four minutes of stoppage time was added as Barnsley looked to hold on to a big three points. Purkiss cracked over the bar as the ball dropped for the full-back on the edge of the area with the clock ticking down.
Port Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss, Inniss (Kelly 75), Duffy, Dickinson, Dodds, O'Connor (Brown 58), Grant, Foley, Hooper (Robinson 58), Leitch-Smith.
Subs: Boot, McGivern, Kennedy, Moore.
Reds: Davies, G.Williams, Mawson, Roberts, White, Hourihane, Brownhill, Scowen, Hammill, Toney (Tuton 62), Fletcher.
Subs: Townsend, Bree, Khan, Nyatanga, McCourt, Chapman.
Referee: S. Duncan.
Attendance: 4,839 (854 Reds)