A depleted and demoralised Reds side were comfortably dispatched by an in-form Nottingham Forest outfit this evening at the City Ground.
After gifting Keinan Davis a first goal in Forest colours on 15 minutes, the Reds saw the deficit doubled by Ryan Yates five minutes before the break and despite a flurry of attacking play in the second half, a Forest third, 15 minutes from time from the outstanding Brennan Johnson sealed the simplest of victories.
There was no Poya Asbaghi in the dugout for this one. The Swede was at home, under the weather and there were notable absentees from the lineup selected at the City Ground. Both of Liam Kitching and Carlton Morris were missing through injury following knocks picked up at Birmingham at the weekend.
Despite the perceived weakening of the starting XI, Barnsley, with Ferran Sibila deputising on the touchline actually started the encounter in a decent enough manner. A seventh minute Romal Palmer strike drifted a foot wide and the visitors were dominating possession.
But an inexplicable error just before the halfway line by captain, Mads Andersen allowed Davis a free run on goal and he finished with aplomb, from just inside the box, giving Brad Collins no chance.
Forest could have doubled that early lead soon after, but James Garner dragged a presentable opportunity a yard wide from 12 yards out.
The Reds were struggling to retain possession halfway through the opening 45, with the home side looking destined to get a second before half-time.
But some neat work wide left from Jordan Williams and Devante Cole worked space for the latter to cross and the ball sat up nicely for Callum Styles but his shot, from the edge of the box was blocked just ahead of the goal-line. It was better from the Reds.
Collins then had to be sharp to tip a Yates header over the bar, but within 30 seconds they were two goals to the good when the same player was on hand, six yards out to stab home after Johnson had played in an inch-perfect low cross from the left flank.
HALF-TIME: Forest 2-0 Barnsley
The second period began with a suggestion, albeit brief, that Barnsley might get back into the fixture. Plenty of well-worked attacking moves, but very little in the way of end-product. Summed up when Victor Adeboyejo found himself with a yard or two of space 20 yards from goal only to slip as he was set to strike the football.
There was a Styles free-kick blasted 10 yards over the crossbar, and Cole shot wide, under pressure, from the edge of the box just beyond the hour-mark.
And with 15 minutes remaining, the hosts, who’d stepped off the gas perhaps, found a decisive third goal to kill off the contest. It was the impressive Djed Spence, on the right who surged out of the full back position, unopposed and after turning Williams inside and out, leaving the defender on his backside, the on-loan Middlesbrough man found Johnson to his left and he stroked home wonderfully, unmarked from 14 yards out.
It could have been four, five, six with further Forest chances towards the end of the game, as first Xande Silva blasted against the outside of the post; Steve Cook was thwarted by a fine Collins save to his left and then finally, Silva again fluffed his lines, quite spectacularly to be honest, firing over with the goal at his mercy three yards out.
The Reds’ wretched run continues on a cold evening here in the East Midlands.
FULL-TIME: Forest 3-0 Barnsley
Collins, Moon (Vita), Helik, Andersen, Williams, Palmer (Wolfe), Gomes, Styles, Cole, Adeboyejo, Leya Iseka (Bremang).
Unused: Walton, Hondermarck, Sraha, Thompson.