Reds 2 (Lalkovic 45+2, Pearson 46).
Port Vale 1 (Daniel 66)
A goal from Milan Lalkovic in first half stoppage time was followed by one immediately after the restart from Ben Pearson as the Reds took a two goal lead. That lead was reduced to one mid-way through the second half as Vale got one back through Colin Daniel but the Reds were able to see out the game to earn all three important points.
The game started quickly and it was not long until Ross Turnbull's goal was under siege from the Port Vale attack. Showing some good defensive skills, the back line was able to deal with the attack as some good communication led to Turnbull being able to comfortably capture the loose ball.
Keen to get their share of the action in the opening minutes, the Reds were immediately at the away side and thanks to some very nice passing play involving Conor Hourihane and the attackers, the Reds created a good rhythm.
A rather serious looking injury to Vale's Frederic Veseli then halted that rhythm as the game stopped for a considerable period as the player was treated by paramedics.
Surprisingly, Veseli was back on his feet and on the pitch after the stoppage despite what had initially looked like a potentially nasty injury.
Taking some time to rediscover their flow, the Reds remained in control of proceedings, limiting Port Vale to very brief spells in possession.
Winning a corner on 24 minutes thanks to some good work from Hourihane, the Irishman then delivered the ball into the area but the cross failed to find anyone in a red shirt.
The pressure from Barnsley continued and soon afterwards they had another corner after Port Vale keeper Chris Neal had been forced to punch the ball away from his goal-line.
The Reds again did not find the target from this chance but their attacking intentions were starting to become clear.
On the half hour mark Dale Jennings had Barnsley's best chance of the period when he unleashed a powerful effort towards the Vale goal from around 25 yards. Seeming to take the Vale keeper by surprise, Neal managed to parry the ball away over his bar.
The Reds continued to terrorize Vale at the back and on 36 minutes they had a strong hand ball claim waved away after almost every player on the pitch was been involved in a scramble in the Vale area.
A reward for their hard work then came deep into stoppage time after the referee had indicated that their would be a minimum of seven minutes. It was Milan Lalkovic who got the goal when he found room close to goal to shoot from a tight angle.
Chris Neal looked to have initially saved the effort but it was too hot to handle as the ball spilled out at found its way over the line to give the Reds the lead.
Flying out of the gates for the second half, Ben Pearson immediately picked up the ball on the edge of the Barnsley area before running the length of the pitch and slotting past Chris Neal to double the Reds' lead.
It was a fantastic individual effort from the Manchester United loanee as he rode challenges from the Vale defenders before calming finding a way past the opposition keeper, with a little bit of help from a deflection.
The Reds' second seemed to knock some life back into their opponents and for the initial stages after the goal, Vale looked dangerous.
After the visitors had briefly threatened from a corner and several chances in and around the box, Barnsley reclaimed control of the game and by the hour mark they began to look comfortable with their advantage.
That comfort did not last long however and on 66 minutes Carl Dickinson whipped in a cross from the left and Colin Daniel was on hand to make the most of the chance and reduce the deficit, finding the net with an effort across goal.
Soon after, Conor Hourihane almost restored the Reds' two goal led when he shot from 20 yards but Chris Neal was equal to the effort and he made a good save to deny the midfielder.
Kane Hemmings had another chance to potentially put the game beyond Vale on 73 minutes when a fortunate deflection off debutant Josh Scowen saw the ball land at the striker's feet. Unluckily for the Reds, Hemmings was unable to hit the target having been faced with a difficult angle on goal.
With just under ten minutes left to play in the game Sam Winnall was introduced to the action to make his Oakwell comeback after a lengthy spell out as the Reds looked to see out their lead.
Winnall's first contribution to the game was a firecracker of a shot from 20 yards that again almost proved too hot for the Vale keeper to keep in his grasp.
Building on that, the atmosphere in Oakwell lifted as the game went into its final five minutes as the Barnsley fans sensed their side were again in the ascendancy.
Reds: Turnbull, Nyatanga, Cranie (C), Hourihane, Hemmings (83), Jennings (90), M'Voto, Ramage, Pearson, Lalkovic (70), Waring.
Subs: Davies, Scowen (70), Winnall (83), Digby (90), Smith, Lita, Kiwomya.
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, Dickinson (C), Robertson, Williamson (32), Lines, Pope, O'Connor, Daniel, Marshall, Veseli.
Subs: Johnson, McGivern, Duffy, Birchall (32), Brown, Moore, Lloyd.
Referee: Graham Salisbury