Barnsley struggled to convert their pressure into goals as a Callum King-Hormes brace saw Bolton Wanderers take away all three points.
The Reds were left facing an uphill task after falling behind just two minutes in, however Adam Murray and Tom Harban’s side kept their heads up and went on to dominate the first half as they searched for an equaliser. The Trotters, though, doubled their advantage in the second half.
Tommy Willard did claw one back for Barnsley, finding the net from the penalty spot in the last ten minutes to set up a tense finale in what proved to be a tight encounter between two passionate teams.
Following kick-off, Barnsley barely had time to find their rhythm before King-Hormes collected the ball at the edge of the area and showed impressive strength to hold of his opponent, which then gave him space to cut inside and fire beyond Henry Kendrick.
Five minutes later, a good move between Willard, Jaydan Sandhu and Aiden Marsh resulted in the latter having an opportunity to level the scores, but his effort was dealt with by Callum James in the Bolton goal.
The visiting defence also did well to clear the danger when a Willard shot was parried by James in the 20th minute.
At the other end, Kendrick had to be alert to stop a deflected effort, which appeared goal bound.
The Reds continued to press as the half wore on and won a host of corners, none of which came to fruition, although one was met well by the head of Rudi Pache which James was well placed to save.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-1 Bolton
Just before the hour mark, Jordan Helliwell showed great skill and determination to evade a number of challenges in a tight area down the flank. His ball into the box whizzed across the face of goal, with no one in the centre to meet it.
A speculative effort by Laurence Smith clipped the woodwork as the Trotters looked to extend their lead, and King-Hormes did exactly that for the visitors in the 78th minute. Ronan Darcy found himself running through on goal, but Kendrick rushed off his line and was able to get a hand to the forward’s shot, only for the ball to fall to King-Hormes, who again did well to hold off a challenge, get the ball onto his left foot and chip into an open goal.
Barnsley hit back quickly when Helliwell was brought down in the box after some more neat footwork, and Willard converted the subsequent penalty to grab his sixth of the season.
In the closing stages the Reds pushed forward, but, unfortunately, on this occasion, their persistence did not pay off as the Bolton defence held firm to secure a third successive win.
REDS XI: Kendrick, Helliwell, Moon (c), Pache, Calligan, Aleksiev (Lancaster), Greenfield (Ononye), Sandhu, Willard, Feeney, Marsh.
Not used: Widdop, Binns, Olatubosun.
BOLTON XI: James, Green, White, Broughton, Osigwe, Boon, King-Harmes, Smith, Holmes, Darcy, McKenzie.
Subs: Graham, Alexander, Edmondson, Sterling, Sithole.