Blackburn Rovers 5 (Cairney 17. Rhodes 29, 39, King 43, Kane 58)
Reds 2 (Dagnall 13, M’voto s/o 16, Cywka 72)
Barnsley were always facing an uphill struggle at Ewood Park after Jean-Yves M’voto was dismissed early on despite the Reds being in the lead. The sending off proved to be the turning point, prompting Blackburn to go all-out attack. Brave as they were, the Reds suffered a 5-2 defeat, with Tomasz Cywka giving the travelling 1,000 Tykes something to cheer about on an afternoon to forget.
The hosts came out of the traps the quicker of the two and had a couple of pot shots through Cairney and King that failed to trouble Steele.
Golbourne got to the byline just eight yards from goal and pulled the ball back but no red shirt was in sight on ten minutes.
On 13 minutes, rather against the run of play, Chris Dagnall picked his spot from 22 yards – finding the bottom right-hand corner of Kean’s goal with a low drive.
At the other end the Reds gave themselves a real task as M’voto was dismissed for bringing down Rhodes who would have been in on 16 minutes.
The resulting free-kick, right on the edge of the box, was whipped expertly into the top corner by Cairney.
After Steele spilled a cross he did well to recover and deny King at the far post. Moments later Scott Wiseman came to the rescue with his face as he blocked a vicious shot from Lowe.
King, who was by far the busiest of Blackburn’s men, cut inside before drilling wide on 25 minutes.
On 29 minutes the hosts found the net through Jordan Rhodes as he rose highest to meet Judge’s deep cross and looped the ball into the net.
Jacob Mellis was sacrificed for David Perkins as a makeshift Reds XI looked to hang on against the rampant Rovers.
Just after the Reds had enjoyed a little spell on the ball, Jordan Rhodes raced onto a long punt and lofted over the advancing Steele with 39 gone.
Marcus Pedersen came on for the Reds, replacing Chris O’Grady who had received a caution.
It was 4-1 on 43 minutes as Josh King bundled home a Kane cross, leaving the Reds in pieces.
The Reds actually started the second half the better of the two sides, and looked comfortable on the ball but Blackburn would spring an attack and score once more with 58 gone. Kane sprang down the right and unleashed a shot that Steele pushed into the net.
At the other end Pedersen shot low from 20 yards but Kean gathered comfortably on the hour.
Alan Judge cracked a vicious low effort wide of the mark on 62 before Tomasz Cywka replaced Chris Dagnall.
On 72 minutes the Reds faithful had something to cheer about as Marcus Pedersen showed great skill to tee up Cywka who volleyed home from just inside the area.
Barnsley were controlling spells of play, and Perkins let fly from 30 yards which had Kean scrambling but it sailed just wide on 77 minutes.
The possession stats will be a very interesting read because Barnsley were enjoying plenty of the ball in the Blackburn half – Rovers looked happy to sit on their three-goal cushion.
Judge curled over a minute into the three added but the Reds had managed to contain Blackburn for most of the second period.
Blackburn: Kean, Kane, Spurr, Hanley, Lowe (Morris 73), King (Nunes 81), Dunn (Taylor 66), Rhodes, Dann, Judge, Cairney.
Subs: Eastwood, Best, Olsson, Givet.
Reds: Steele, Golbourne, Kennedy, O’Brien, O’Grady (Pedersen 41), Dagnall (Cywka 62), Wiseman, Mellis (Perkins 31), M’voto, Dawson, Etuhu.
Subs: Scotland, Alnwick, McNulty, McCourt.
Referee: Mark Heywood
Assistants: Mark Dwyer and Matthew Bristow
Fourth Official: Michael Salisbury.