Paul Harsley's Reds lose by the odd goal in seven in a cracking pre-Christmas encounter on the Oakwell training pitch..
Jacob Brown opened the scoring for the Reds in the opening quarter of the game when he stuck home a terrific Aidy White cross. The visitors soon pulled level when James Yates scored with a long-range effort. The Reds regained the lead almost instantly when Omari Patrick curled home before Crewe levelled again through Yates. Brown got his second and the Reds third with a finish into the top corner but the away side wouldn't go away, equalising on the stroke of half-time through Daniel Udoh. Crewe grabbed their winner early in the second half when Tom Lowery tapped in from close-range.
It was a very entertaining first-half which the Reds dominated, especially in terms of chances created. Brown went close on five minutes when he raced into the box but saw his effort flash just wide of the post. Just 10 minutes later and Brown again was menacing the Crewe backline, this time powering his way into the box and seeing his great effort come back off the foot of the left-hand post.
Within a minute of that, Brown did make the breakthrough. A superb run down the left and a brilliant cross from White found Brown at the far post who steered it home for 1-0.
On 18 minutes the Reds should have doubled the lead when Stefan Payne was thwarted by the Crewe 'keeper after more good work from Brown who was head and shoulders the best player on the park in the first half.
A quick breakaway on 22 minutes saw Crewe level the game up. A jinking run in midfield was followed by a terrific effort from Yates that beat Nick Townsend all ends up from all of 25 yards.
Three minutes later, the Reds went back ahead and this time it was Patrick with the cool finish. He worked room for himself nicely on the left-hand side of the box before curling home exquisitely to put the Reds 2-1 up.
Brown was at it again shortly afterwards. A Jared Bird corner wasn't cleared properly and Brown's effort smashed against the Crewe post.
Crewe broke quickly once more and on the half hour mark brought the scores level again when Yates notched his second from inside the six-yard box after some sloppy Reds defending.
The crazy nature of the first half continued when almost immediately Barnsley went ahead yet again! And again it was Brown doing the damage. He won the ball back in midfield, charged forward with pace before rifling his shot into the top left-hand corner from 20-yards out for 3-2.
On the stroke of half-time the Reds were indebted to Townsend who pulled off a terrific stop one-on-one. But more sloppy work in defence saw Udoh equalise at the death again from close-range. It had been a frantic, end-to-end first 45 with both sides playing attacking football from start to finish.
HALF TIME: Reds 3-3 Crewe Alexandra
Both sides emerged from the half time break having made no changes to their side, but the game wasn't to continue at the same break-neck speed we'd seen previously.
The away side though took the lead on 55 minutes when Lowery burst into the box unopposed and slotted in from six-yards out after the Reds defenders failed to clear their lines from a Crewe corner kick.
Louis Wardle replaced Omari Patrick on 55 minutes, before Will Smith joined the action as Julio Rodriguez made way.
Harsley's men were dominating the ball and spending a ridiculous amount of time in the opposition's third, but chances were now at a premium with perhaps legs tiring after that frenetic first half.
Rhys Dolan replaced Aidy White on 76 minutes, another good run-out for White as he returns from injury.
With just 10 minutes left on the clock the Reds could have pulled level, but Payne was denied once more by Crewe stopper Wardle inside the box after a nice turn into space.
The away side saw out the final few minutes with an element of time-wasting, but their early second half strike was enough to settle a thrilling contest.
FULL TIME: Barnsley 3-4 Crewe Alexandra
REDS: Townsend; Evans, Julio (Smith), Proctor, White (Dolan); Patrick (Wardle), Bird, Wolfe, Carvell; Brown, Payne.
Subs not used: Walton, Tingle.