Reading 1 (Pogrebnyak pen 20)
Reds 3 (Dawson 16, Noble-Lazarus 53, Jennings 57)
It may seem like a shock but for those who witnessed this one, there was nothing surprising about the result which reflected a brilliant performance by the Reds
The Reds worked the first attempt of the match through Lawrence with little over three minutes on the clock but he dragged his effort wide from the edge of the area.
After being gifted a corner by Gorkss, Dawson picked up the clearance to thunder at goal only for McCarthy to beat away before Lawrence pounced on the rebound only to be denied once more by the 'keeper on eight minutes.
The visitors responded a minute later as McCleary danced past three Reds defenders but Steele denied his low effort one-on-one.
On 16 minutes Barnsley opened the scoring after O'Grady intercepted a poor Gunter back-pass, found Dawson with a pull-back and the captain finished well - into the top corner.
However, the lead didn't last long because Pavel Pogrebnyak went down as Etuhu nicked the ball from his feet but a penalty was given. The Russian stepped up to send Steele the wrong way on 20 minutes.
Former Royal Tomasz Cywka worked himself an opening on 32 minutes, cutting in on his left but fired a couple of yards over from outside the box.
The hosts were in on 39 minutes but Nyatanga got in the way of McAnuff's shot after he drifted in from the left.
In the dying embers of the first half, it was so nearly 2-1 to the Reds as Pedersen teed up O'Grady but he couldn't direct his effort on target.
Danny Wilson made a change at the break with Reuben Noble-Lazarus replacing Marcus Pedersen. Barnsley continued in their bright fashion and saw a deflected effort from Cywka well held by the wrong-footed McCarthy.
Nick Blackman lofted a strike over five minutes into the second half after getting round Nyatanga and latching onto a long ball.
With 53 gone Barnsley found the lead again through Noble-Lazarus and what a finish it was. Lawrence squared for Cywka whose dink to the Academy graduate was exquisite, and he curled home into the top corner.
The home fans were booing because they didn't like it. They didn't like it when Dale Jennings thundered in an unbelievable 30-yard drive into the top corner, either. It was an absolute net-buster for a deserved third goal.
Liam Lawrence had run his socks off and was replaced by Emmanuel Frimpong on 71 minutes in the middle of the park.
With 15 left a deep free-kick from Reading's Obita found the head of Pearce and his attempt seemed destined for the top corner but for Steele's incredible finger-tipped save.
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Pogrebnyak, Drenthe (Robson-Kanu 71), McAnuff, McCleary, Akpan, Gorkss, Blackman (Le Fondre 58), Obita.
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Taylor, Hector, Tanner.
Reds: Steele, Kennedy, Etuhu, M'voto, Nyatanga, Jennings, Lawrence (Frimpong 71), Dawson, Cywka, Pedersen (Noble-Lazarus 46), O'Grady.
Subs: Turner, McCourt, Hassell, Proschwitz, Mellis.
Referee: Stephen Martin.
Att: 16645 (182 Reds)