Reds' three game unbeaten run brought to an end by the new Championship leaders.
Barnsley battled strongly, but saw their three game unbeaten run come to an end with a 2-0 defeat against table-toppers Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Reds were unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty early on when Lewis Dunk appeared to handle Marc Roberts’ clipped through ball, but the decision went against the Reds.
In response, Marley Watkins and Adam Armstrong both brought good saves out of David Stockdale, while a stunning challenge from Andy Yiadom denied Anthony Knockaert at the other end.
Sam Baldock broke the deadlock eight minutes after the restart when he rifled home from 25-yards, but Adam Hammill almost levelled soon after, driving straight David Stockdale.
Baldock slid in to meet Knockaert’s centre 15 minutes later and double his tally but again the Reds came close in reply, with Watkins’ header from Hammill’s cross drawing a save out of Stockdale.
Hammill’s jinking run late on culminated in an effort that drifted just over the crossbar as the Seagulls held on for victory.
Sam Baldock received an early yellow card from referee David Coote for diving in an attempt to win a penalty before the Reds were denied what appeared a clear penalty kick.
Marc Roberts’ clipped ball forward towards Tom Bradshaw appeared to be knocked away from his chest by the arm of Lewis Dunk, but despite the protests, the referee was unmoved.
The first chance for either side came as Jamie Murphy met a cross from the right, heading over the crossbar from close range before the Reds found their shooting boots.
Marley Watkins worked a yard of space from an angle just outside the area, forcing a flying save out of David Stockdale and Adam Armstrong took aim shortly after with his low drive gathered by the stopper.
Just before the half hour, the Seagulls had a golden chance to score when Baldock chipped the ball across the face of the Reds goal.
Glenn Murray dived to meet it, but failed to connect. The loose ball fell kindly for Anthony Knockaert, who was denied the opener by a flying challenge from Andy Yiadom denied him.
Baldock’s powerful effort just past the half hour mark failed to test Davies, while Glenn Murray’s deflected header forced the Wales stopper to claw the ball out from underneath his own crossbar.
Roberts responded for the hosts with a header that was just wide of goal in what proved the final chance of the half as both sides went in level.
HALF TIME: Barnsley 0-0 Brighton.
Jamie Murphy almost opened the scoring within 60 seconds of the restart, jinking past Gethin Jones but failing to hit the target, which Ryan Kent did manage to do with his long-range free kick, with Stockdale just managing to gather after initially spilling.
A Tom Bradshaw snapshot fizzed just past the post shortly after before the visitors broke the deadlock on 53 minutes when Sam Baldock smashed home a bobbling through ball from 25 yards, over the head of Davies.
Knockaert charged forward and drew a simple save from Davies with a tame shot and Reds substitute Adam Hammill came close with two shots in two minutes in response.
First, he fired a pull-back from the right just over the crossbar, then drilled an effort straight at Stockdale from 25 yards.
The visitors doubled their tally on 68 minutes as Baldock slid in to meet Knockaert’s centre, but again the Reds responded well as Watkins forced a fingertip save from Stockdale with Andy Yiadom’s follow-up blocked by Bruno.
Murphy and Murray dragged two efforts from good positions wide of the target, following good defending from Roberts and Angus MacDonald to shut down the angle.
Moments from time, Adam Hammill wound up an effort with his left foot after skipping inside two Brighton defenders and with Stockdale rooted, the ball would not dip in time, flying inches over the crossbar.
Attendance: 12,745 (Away: 1,396).
Reds: Davies (GK), Yiadom, MacDonald, Roberts (c), Jones, Watkins, James, Moncur (Mowatt, 80’ ), Kent (Williams, 80’ ), Armstrong, Bradshaw (Hammill, 63’ ).
Subs: Townsend (GK), Lee, A. Jackson, Elder.
Brighton: Stockdale (GK), Bruno (c), Dunk, Duffy, Pocognoli, Knockaert (Tomori, 90+2’ ), Sidwell, Stephens, Murphy, Murray (Akpom, 88’ ), Baldock.
Subs: Walton (GK), Hunemeier, Kayal, Hemed, March.