Reds 2 (Pearson 18, Winnall 45+2)
A goal apiece for Ben Pearson and Sam Winnall helped Barnsley extend their unbeaten run to three games with a 2-0 victory over Gillingham at Oakwell.
Pearson blasted the hosts ahead with a rasping 25-yard strike and Winnall doubled the lead just before the interval, slotting home Marley Watkins pull-back.
Jake Hessenthaler hit the post late on for Gillingham in their search for a consolation but the Reds stood firm, moving up to eighth place in the League One table.
Gillingham’s Luke Norris zipped an effort past the post on three minutes while Reece Wabara’s teasing ball in could not be converted by Sam Winnall on the slide.
Ben Williamson latched onto Josh Wright’s through ball but shot straight at Townsend 10 minutes in but it was the Reds who made the decisive breakthrough.
Josh Scowen’s cross broke to Ben Pearson who unleashed a 25-yard drive that flew into the bottom corner with Stuart Nelson rooted to the spot.
The Gills responded on 22 minutes with John Egan heading straight into the gloves of Townsend while Doug Loft’s speculative 25th minute effort failed to test Townsend.
On 34 minutes, Kadeem Harris muscled Ryan Jackson off the ball, worked his way to the edge of the box before but saw his ferocious drive clawed away by Nelson.
George Smith picked up a booking for a foul on Emmanuel Osadebe and from Loft’s delivery, Marley Watkins almost sent the ball flying beyond Townsend.
Two minutes before the break, Conor Hourihane drew a foul 30 yards from goal but Alfie Mawson saw his dipping free kick dealt with by Nelson.
Two minutes into first half stoppage time, Watkins broke clear down the right and pulled back for Sam Winnall to slide home, doubling the Reds’ lead at the break.
The visitors started the second half brightly with Osadebe testing Townsend with a low drive from outside the box but the Reds had a great chance 3-0 on 54 minutes.
A break out, led by Pearson, saw Reece Wabara slipped in down the right but his low delivery could not be finished by Watkins on the slide.
Jackson received a caution for a strong challenge on Harris 65 minutes in while substitute Rory Donnelly smashed over the crossbar.
Wright received a caution for tripping Crowley out wide but Hourihane’s inswinging free kick was gathered by Nelson while Watkins was cautioned for tripping Brennan Dickenson nine minutes from time.
In the 85th minute, Winnall watched his 30-yard effort rise over the bar nearly had a second after connecting with substitute Michael Smith’s cross and forcing a save from Nelson, only for the offside flag to be raised.
Two minutes from time, Donnelly cut back for Gillingham replacement Cody McDonald but his close range chance was repelled by the feet of Townsend.
Crowley was cautioned for tripping Jackson and from the resulting free kick, Loft found Jake Hessenthaler, who saw his header beat Townsend, but bounce to safety off the Reds upright.
A crowd of 8,354 saw the Reds extend their unbeaten run to three games in the League.
Reds: Townsend, Wabara, Mawson, Nyatanga, G. Smith, Watkins, Pearson (M. Smith, 74’ ) Scowen, Hourihane, Harris (Crowley, 71’ ), Winnall (Roberts, 90+4’ ).
Subs: Davies, Bree, Jackson, Wilkinson.
Gills: Nelson, Jackson, Egan, Emher, Dickenson, Wright, Loft, Osadebe (Hessenthaler, 65’ ), Dack, Williamson (McDonald, 61’ ), Norris (Donnelly, 61’ ).
Subs: G. Morris, Garmston, Houghton, A. Morris.