Notts County 1 (Bajner 90+2)
Reds 1 (Winnall 9)
Barnsley came so close to recording their first win in over a month as a stoppage-time goal cancelled out Sam Winnall's early wonder-strike at Meadow Lane.
It was a bitter pill to swallow considering the Reds had many chances in the first half to put the game to bed and their slender lead was wiped out. But what will appease the Reds faithful and Head Coach Lee Johnson was his side's energy and tempo.
The Reds were on the front foot from the off with Jabo Ibehre muscling his way forward to win a corner in the first 15 seconds. Only 23 seconds later from the resulting corner, Peter Ramage had a free header but couldn't direct it on target.
County responded in the fourth minute with Spencer dancing his way into the box only for the Reds to clear into the path of Jones but the former Tyke saw his thunderous low effort deflect away for a corner.
On nine minutes the Reds blasted their way into the lead with what must be a contender for goal of the season. Sam Winnall played a one-two with Scowen down the right, and the striker latched onto the return pass with a cracking effort into the far corner on the half volley.
It could have been two just a minute later as the Reds piled forward for a second. Smith curled in a peach of a cross but Winnall was just underneath the delivery barely six yards out.
On 16 minutes it definitely should have two for the Reds but Roy Carroll came to his side's rescue. Winnall dinked the ball over for Ibehre to chase and after outmuscling Williams, saw his one-on-one effort saved by Carroll. The big striker was probably too honest as he could so easily have gone down under the attention of the County defender.
County could have levelled on 18 minutes but Gary Jones cracked the post from Spencer's pull-back. Barnsley raced up the other end and only a last-minute challenge from Dumbuya stopped Declan John having a clean strike at goal.
There was a brilliant energy to the Reds and were really pressing the opposition well.
Adam Davies made a routine stop on 35 minutes as he caught Burke's 22-yard free-kick which was awarded for an adjudged foul on Spencer.
It was Barnsley's turn to hit the post on 39 minutes although it was thanks to Roy Carroll's brilliant save. He took his time to pick his spot and curl low but the Northern Ireland international tipped the ball onto the post before it trickled along the line. Moments later, Hourihane shaved the very same post when he was found in the area by Nyatanga. Barnsley were finding the pockets and enjoying plenty of threatening possession but needed to make it count.
Barnsley were nearly architects to their own downfall when Hourihane passed straight to Spencer on the edge of the box although the forward failed to get a shot away. McCourt picked up possession to drill across goal and, somehow, County failed to bundle over the line and Davies cleared on 41 minutes.
Barnsley were looking to pick up from where they left off in the second period and find that vital second goal to give them a bit of breathing space.
A real scramble ensued in Barnsley's box after Alan Smith tricked his way into the area. Thankfully George Smith got a block in to clear and set the Reds on a counter. Conor Hourihane picked up on John's run towards goal and his effort deflected onto the crossbar with 56 played.
It seemed the Reds were happy to soak up pressure and hit the hosts on the break and it nearly paid off on 59 minutes. Scowen's cross for Hourihane allowed the Irishman to lay into the box for Ibehre but Carroll was wise to the pass and smothered before the striker could connect.
On the turn of 66 minutes, Sam Winnall took matters into his own hand down the left and cut inside before unleashing another vicious shot that sailed the wrong side of the post.
The home side had a real chance to level on 69 minutes when Peter Ramage was deemed to have hand-balled on the edge of the area. Former Red Paddy McCourt took a nonchalant run-up put curled harmlessly over the bar.
McCourt had an even easier chance on 71 minutes when the ball broke for him in the area. From barely ten yards out, he seemed to have all the time in the world but blazed over the bar.
Luke Berry was introduced on 73 minutes as he replaced Conor Hourihane in the middle of the park.
As expected, the home side - desperate for points to avoid the drop - were turning up the heat in the Barnsley half, but Davies was rarely being troubled with any real efforts.
A minimum of five minutes was added as the Reds were looking to hang on for all of the points in Nottingham.
County did find the equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time as Bajner bundled the ball home from a hopeful punt into the box. Again the Reds were punished for not taking advantage of their chances.
Ibehre was proving too much for the County defence and was denied a clean pop at goal by Curtis Thompson. Despite Ibehre being set to go through on goal, Thompson was only shown a yellow card for hauling him down on the edge of the box.
The last-minute set-piece was hammered into the wall by Winnall and he was unable to snatch a shot from the rebound.
Notts County: Carroll, Dumbuya, Adams, Smith, Mullins, Spencer (Bajner 78), G. Thompson, Jones (Hayhurst 90), McCourt, Burke (C. Thompson 61), Williams.
Subs: Hollis, Wroe, Edwards, Pilkington.
Reds: Davies, Cranie, Ramage, Nyatanga, Smith (Holgate 79), Pearson, Hourihane (Berry 74), Scowen, John, Winnall, Ibehre (Oates 90+5).
Subs: Dibble, Berry, Bailey, Stewart, Lalkovic.
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Assistant Referees: Thomas Kirk and David Richardson
Fourth Official: Christopher O'Donnell