Reds end 2016 ninth in the Championship with a 2-2 draw against a battling Birmingham City side.
Ten-man Barnsley battled well against Birmingham City to end 2016 with a 2-2 draw.
Tom Bradshaw volleyed the Reds ahead midway through the half, meeting Marley Watkins’ excellent low cross before Sam Winnall nodded home Conor Hourihane’s corner four minutes later to make it 2-0.
The Blues pulled a goal back just past the half hour as Jacques Maghoma fired home at the end of a fast break and levelled seven minutes after the restart.
Marc Roberts was sent off for bringing down Che Adams and substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz rifled home the resulting penalty.
The Reds almost edged back ahead when Winnall’s superb header was tipped away from goal by the acrobatic Kuszczak before he headed just wide of the target from substitute Josh Scowen’s teasing delivery.
David Cotterill’s curling free kick almost flew into the top corner for the Blues 13 minutes from the end with Sam Morsy also going close with a volley, but the Reds end 2016 with a hard-fought draw.
Barnsley almost had the lead with just 20 seconds on the clock as the ball ricocheted against Sam Winnall and flashed just past Tomasz Kuszczak’s post.
Birmingham responded almost immediately as Che Adams flashed an effort across the face of Adam Davies’ goal, followed six minutes later by a fierce snapshot that flew just over the top.
James Bree’s low ball in was turned towards goal by Conor Hourihane and then fired across the six-yard box by Tom Bradshaw, with Winnall unable to muscle his way to the ball before Ryan Shotton.
Andy Yiadom’s teasing cross was met by Bradshaw, who saw his header blocked by Shotton before the Reds took the lead midway through the half.
Marc Roberts’ long throw was flicked on by Winnall, allowing Marley Watkins to scamper past three Blues defenders and work a crossing position.
His low delivery was swept home on the volley by Tom Bradshaw for his fourth Reds goal of the season.
Four minutes later and the Reds had doubled their advantage as Conor Hourihane’s fantastic corner was glanced home from close range by Winnall for his 11th goal of the season.
City halved the arrears just past the half hour as a fast break down the left-hand side ended with Jacques Maghoma firing past Adam Davies from a tight angle.
Seven minutes before the interval, Sam Morsy left the field after receiving a head injury following a challenge with David Davis but returned to the field for the final five minutes of the half as the Reds went in leading 2-1.
HALF TIME: Barnsley 2-1 Birmingham City
The Blues came out firing with Maikel Kieftenbeld and Greg Stewart replaced by Lukas Jutkiewicz and David Cotterill and the visitors drew level seven minutes after the restart.
A through ball allowed Che Adams to run at Adam Davies, only for his run to be halted by Roberts. To add insult to injury, the defender was sent off by referee Scott Duncan.
Substitute Jutkiewicz stepped up from the spot and rifled the ball high into the roof of the net, levelling the game at 2-2.
The Reds regrouped well but almost became their own worst enemies as Adams flicked on for Jutkiewicz, who flashed an effort into Davies’s side netting.
Winnall almost headed the Reds level in spectacular fashion shortly past the hour mark as Bree hooked a corner back into the area and the striker rose highest but a stunning save from Kuszczak kept him at bay.
The Polish stopper was on hand to prevent Watkins shortly after at the end of a move started by Bree and Winnall should have put the Reds back ahead on 73 minutes.
Substitute Josh Scowen’s excellent cross was met at the far post by Winnall, who failed to direct his header on target and it zipped on past the upright of the rooted Kuszczak.
Thirteen minutes from time, David Cotterill’s excellent free kick whistled just past Davies’ post, with the Reds responding well as Sam Morsy’s low drive brought another save from Kuszczak.
The Egyptian international controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed at goal, but his driven effort was gathered by Kuszczak.
Another nervous moment came for the Reds five minutes from time as Maghoma’s header across goal threatened to be nodded home by Jonathan Spector, but Angus MacDonald denied him with a critical challenge.
Morsy was cautioned two minutes from time, joining Conor Hourihane in the book after a dubious late challenge before another soft free kick was awarded to the Blues late on.
Cotterill took aim but lashed well wide of the target as the Reds hung in for a precious point.
Attendance: 13,297 (1,350 away)
Reds: Davies (GK), Bree, Roberts, MacDonald, Yiadom, Watkins, Hourihane (c), Morsy, Kent (Scowen, 55’ ), Winnall, Bradshaw (Jackson, 55’ ).
Subs: Townsend (GK), White, Brown, Williams, Armstrong.
Birmingham City: Kuszczak (GK), Spector, Morrison (c), Shotton, Grounds, Gleeson, Stewart (Cotterill, 46’ ), Davis, Kieftenbeld (Jutkiewicz, 46’ ), Maghoma, Adams.
Subs: Legzdins (GK), Robinson, Tesche, Brown, Dacres-Cogley.