Barnsley suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season as they succumbed to a 3-1 loss at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday evening.
Daniel Stendel’s side were made to rue a poor first half in which the hosts raced into a two-goal lead through Greg Docherty and Ollie Norburn.
Ethan Pinnock’s strike after the interval looked to have restored hope for the Reds, but Luke Waterfall’s header midway through the second half was enough to seal all three points for the hosts.
Shrewsbury took the lead when Docherty capitalised on a loose ball in the Barnsley box and fired an unstoppable drive past Adam Davies inside the opening two minutes.
The Reds then lost Kenny Dougall to injury after the Australian was a victim of Anthony Grant’s reckless, late challenge. Just minutes later, the hosts doubled their advantage when Norburn’s 20-yard strike took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Alex Mowatt and looped over Davies and into the top corner.
Davies then had to be at his best to deny Fejiri Okenabirhie when the Shrews’ forward burst into the area and unleashed a shot high at goal, but the Reds’ skipper acrobatically tipped the ball over the bar to keep his side in the game.
Lee Angol then latched onto a stray pass and ran at the retreating Reds’ backline, but a combination of Liam Lindsay, Pinnock and eventually Ben Williams thwarted the hosts from adding a third before the break.
HALF-TIME: SHREWSBURY TOWN 2-0 BARNSLEY
Barnsley started the second half much brighter and almost found a way back into the contest through Mowatt’s thunderous long-range drive, but Joel Coleman produced a magnificent save to turn it around the post.
However, the Reds wouldn’t be kept at bay much longer as Williams drifted in a fine cross towards Kieffer Moore at the back post. His header was blocked on the line, but Pinnock was on hand to slam home the rebound just four minutes after the restart.
After a period of Shrewsbury pressure, substitute George Moncur almost made an immediate impact as he was left unmarked from a corner, but his low drive was cleared off the line by a scrambling Ryan Haynes.
Within minutes of that near miss, the hosts had restored their two-goal advantage as Shrews' captain Waterfall rose highest to head home Docherty’s corner to leave the Reds facing an uphill battle once more.
The visitors continued to search for a way back into the game and came close through Williams’ deflected effort after great work from Ryan Hedges on the right flank.
However, frustration soon began to boil over and Barnsley’s misery was compounded when Stendel was sent to the stands with eight minutes remaining following an altercation on the touchline.
Lindsay came close to reducing the arrears with three minutes remaining as his header rattled the crossbar from Mowatt’s corner, but, try as they might, the Reds just couldn’t find a way through as the hosts held on to claim victory.
SHREWS XI: Coleman, Emmanuel, Haynes (Laurent, 66), Beckles, Docherty (Barnett, 88), Angol, Okenabirhie, Bolton, Waterfall (c), Norburn, Grant.
Not used: Arnold, Sadler, John-Lewis, Gillead, Amadi-Holloway.
REDS XI: Davies (c), Cavaré, Pinnock, Lindsay, B. Williams, Potts (Moncur, 61), Dougall (McGeehan, 21), Mowatt, Thiam (Hedges, 73), Bähre, Moore.
Not used: Walton, Jackson, J. Williams, Brown.
Attendance: 5,587 (852 Reds)