Swindon 2 (Rossi-Branco 15, Swift m/p 39, Gladwin 85)
A disappointing afternoon in Swindon saw the Reds leave with nothing as they failed to take any of their rare but great chances.
Ross Turnbull made three brilliant saves - including a first-half penalty - and was unfortunate to concede two goals.
After a very quiet opening, the hosts fired the first shot of the match in on six minutes after George Smith was forced off to receive treatment on a bust nose. Kasim came down Barnsley's weakened left-hand side and teed up Byrne but he hammered the side-netting from inside the area.
The Reds responded in the ninth minute with an effort of their own which forced a corner. Waring battled to win the ball and allow Lalkovic to break, his square pass was laid off to Digby by Pearson but he saw his effort from the edge of the box blocked by Stephens.
The home side took control of the game from the 12-minute mark and the Reds had Nyatanga and Cranie to thank for a block and a clearance, respectively, but there was nobody on hand to prevent the opener on 15 minutes.
John Swift was allowed to dribble into the area from the left and his deflected cross dropped for Ross-Branco who duly swept home from inside the area.
Barnsley should have equalised when Martin Cranie placed a well-threaded ball in-between two defenders for Lalkovic to chase, but he shot straight at the 'keeper when one-on-one on 22 minutes.
When Pearson pressed in the final third and won the ball from Swift, Lalkovic was sent away into the box again but couldn't dig out a cross or a shot on 29 minutes as he lost his footing.
On 38 minutes Swindon had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 from the spot after Paul Digby tripped John Swift in the box. Ross Turnbull denied Andy Williams from the spot, however, with a dive to his right.
Ross Turnbull made an even better save than his penalty denial as Byrne was slipped into the box in first-half stoppage-time. The 'keeper parried away the winger's effort, but there was still time for yet another chance 20 seconds later.
Jordan Turnbull planted a free header wide of the post from barely seven yards out, the Reds' goal was living a charmed life.
The Reds made a double change at the break and it seemed Martin Cranie was withdrawn through injury. Paul Digby also came off for Dale Jennings and Conor Hourihane.
Hourihane got straight into the action from the left and sent in a decent ball for Pearson to attack but he dragged his effort wide of goal on 47 minutes.
The game hit a bit of a lull that saw nothing happen at either end and the Reds failing to break through Swindon's defence.
It took until the 68th-minute for a proper chance and it fell Swindon's way. Luckily Turnbull came out on top as Williams went clean through on his goal from Stephens' pass.
On 75 minutes Jean-Yves M'voto tried to find Ramage but instead found Swindon sub Michael Smith. Thankfully he blasted high over the bar as he raced into the box.
Three minutes later Barnsley came so close to a leveller through Peter Ramage as his rebounded header from Foderingham's save landed the wrong side of the post.
For about a fourth time the Reds won the ball from Swindon's defence but failed to take advantage.
The game was sealed on 85 minutes when substitute Ben Gladwin cracked a low effort at goal and it squirmed under the body of Ross Turnbull which was unfortunate considering he'd enjoyed a decent afternoon between the sticks up to that point.
Swindon: Foderingham (c), Branco, Stephens, Turnbull, Byrne, Luongo, Kasim, L. Thompson, Toffolo, Swift, Williams.
Subs: Belford, Barthram, Rodgers, Gladwin, Hylton, Obika, Smith
Reds: Turnbull, Nyatanga, Cranie (Hourihane 46), M'voto, Ramage, Smith, Lalkovic (Kiwomya 71), Scowen, Digby (Jennings 46), Pearson, Waring.
Subs: Hourihane, Berry, Hemmings, Davies, Bailey.
Referee: Gary Sutton
Attendance: 8380 (269 Reds)