Reading rescued a point at Oakwell through Lucas João, whose close-range strike earned the Royals a 1-1 against Barnsley.
The hosts had gone ahead through Cauley Woodrow in fortuitous circumstances, but stuck to their guns and levelled to earn a valuable point on the road.
After the weekend’s defeat to Birmingham City, boss Mark Bowen made five changes to his starting XI. Ovie Ejaria and Jordan Obita both returned to the squad to start, while Charlie Adam, Lucas João and Chris Gunter also came in.
On an ice-cold night in South Yorkshire, the game got off to an agricultural start with both sets of defences having to deal with aerial balls. From a Liam Moore clearance, Cauley Woodrow tried to profit but Michael Morrison was in the way with a telling block.
And then some smart play on the deck earned the Tykes another opportunity as Jordan Williams scampered down the right from the full-back position and shrugged off the attentions of Obita before crossing low – Woodrow miscued and fired over.
It could, and maybe should, have been Reading who took an early lead when Andy Rinomhota picked a hole in a broken defensive line to find George Pușcaș onside. Shooting was an option, but instead the Romanian rounded the goalkeeper and kept the ball in play but couldn’t pick out Gunter with a low cross.
The home side were guilty of wasting opportunities when they presented themselves – a golden chance came and went for Mike Bahre, whose side-footed volley from 10 yards was softly into the arms of Rafael as they launched a quick break.
Barnsley were edging closer, and when skipper Alex Mowatt picked up from a quick exchange and cut in from the right, his fizzing left-footer skimmed the post on its way wide.
Reading’s defence withstood the pressure well and, with a well-worked attacking move, almost broke the deadlock. It began with some positive play from Gunter down the right; Ejaria was bundled to the ground but Adam picked up and rifled a shot which had Sami Radlinger at full stretch.
Adam and Mowatt each missed with shots over the bar from outside the area at each end of the pitch, as the scoresheet remained blank. Pușcaș had half a chance as he met Adam’s outswinging corner in a congested area, but his header looped high over the bar.
Barnsley came close again just before the break as Bahre slipped a ball into the path of Conor Chaplin, whose low strike from a tight angle drew a save from the legs of Rafael. Jacob Brown picked up on the far side and had a go, but that one was more a routine save for the Brazilian.
Half-time | Barnsley 0-0 Reading
The Royals made a positive start to the second period as Ejaria shimmed through a couple of challenges and teed up João, but Radlinger got down to his left to collect.
And then João was almost provider – Rinomhota rolled past a challenge on half-way, allowing Ejaria and João to link up in turn, but Obita’s fierce effort cleared the woodwork.
The opener was one to forget from a Reading perspective. Michael Morrison was closed down by Brown as he tried to pick a pass in his own area; the ball fell straight to Woodrow, who had the simplest of tasks to slot in unchallenged.
Reading looked to respond immediately and Toby Sibbick, who had just come on as a sub, was shown a yellow as Pușcaș tried to drive through the defence. The clumsy challenge left the Royals forward in need of treatment to his shoulder - and eventually replaced by Sam Baldock. Adam took the free-kick and drew another flying stop from the goalie.
Yakou Méïté was also introduced for the final 15, replacing Morrison as the Royals looked to rescue something from the game.
And the impact was immediate. A positive drive down the right from the Ivorian resulted in a Reading corner; Adam's delivery stuck to the feet of João, who stabbed in the leveller.
It could have been a full turnaround when Reading - with wind in their sails - won the ball in the Tykes half. Baldock's strafing cross found Méïté on the run; his header narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Both teams were desperate to nick the winning goal; Barnsley sub Patrick Schmidt nearly did just that when he latched onto a flick-on and rifled low. Rafael covered his angles well.
Woodrow scuffed a chance for the winner in the six added minutes, and Adam tried an audacious effort with the last kick of the game. In the end, spoils shared.
Full-time | Barnsley 1-1 Reading
Barnsley: Radlinger, J Williams, B Williams (Sibbick 60), Dougall, Diaby, Andersen, Brown (Schmidt 87), Mowatt (c), Bahre, Chaplin, Woodrow.
Unused subs: Collins, Thomas, Oduor, Thiam, Mottley-Henry.
Goal: Woodrow (58).
Yellow: Sibbick, Dougall.
Reading: Rafael, Gunter, Morrison (Méïté 75), Miazga, Moore (c), Obita (Blackett 82), Rinomhota, Adam, Ejaria, João, Pușcaș (Baldock 65).
Unused subs: Walker, McCleary, Howe, Pelé.
Goal: João (76).
Referee: Mr M Donahue
Attendance: 11,510 (294 away).