BARNSLEY chief Paul Heckingbottom was left looking to discover an attacking threat after Aston Villa found their finishing touch to claim their first victory in five games.
Villa opened the scoring in the 19th minute when a long ball from the back led to a mix-up in the defence, allowing Albert Adomah to poke into an empty net.
Barnsley were punished again when a Villa counter-attack sent Keinan Davis bursting into the area, Adam Jackson lunged and brought him down, giving referee Simon Hooper no choice but to point to the spot.
Adomah stepped up to the spot, Davies guessed the right way but the well-placed kick was too high for him a minute before the break.
Davis then got his goal 10 minutes after the interval when he headed home from a fine cross.
Heckingbottom said: “I thought Villa defended really well. They were very well organised. You could see they’d done a lot of work, but we competed right to the end.
“There were lots of good things, but we weren’t a goal threat. There was a bit of belief missing.
“At half-time, we knew a third goal would be everything in a game and they got it and they got goals from the things I always bang on about, the duels and the headers.
“Villa put the game to bed and had an easy half-hour after that.”
Villa chief Steve Bruce said: “We took our chances, that’s three clean sheets in a row and unbeaten in six. We have a nice mixture of youth and experience and things are coming on nicely”
Barnsley: Davies, McCarthy, Jackson, Lindsay, Pearson, Joe Williams, Hammill, Potts, Moncur (Ugbo 46), Barnes (Hedges 46), Bradshaw (Thiam 70). Unused substitutes: Fryers, McGeehan, Townsend, Pinnock.
Aston Villa: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Taylor, Snodgrass (Bjarnason 83), Whelan, Hourihane, Adomah, Kodjia (Onomah 61), Davis (Hogan 75). Unused substitutes: Samba, Lansbury, Steer, Hutton.
Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).