Battling Barnsley earned a vital and unlikely 3-1 win at Reading to kickstart their fight for survival.
Danny Wilson’s side, earning the fourth win of the manager’s second reign at Oakwell, ended Reading’s unbeaten five-match run as they moved to within three points of safety.
The determined Reds went ahead through a fine finish from captain Stephen Dawson but Reading levelled when Pavel Pogrebnyak converted a needlessly-conceded penalty.
Barnsley hit back with second-half goals from Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Dale Jennings, both long-range efforts, to boost their fight against relegation.
Barnsley had lost four of their five previous matches and arrived at the Madejski Stadium with the worst away record in the Championship, just seven points from a possible 51. It was Barnsley who started the better, with Liam Lawrence driving wide from long distance and Dawson forcing a decent save from home goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with a fierce shot.
Maintaining the pressure, it was no surprise when they went ahead in the 16th minute. Chris O’Grady took advantage of a poor back-pass from Chris Gunter and set up Dawson to score with a cleverly-placed effort.
Reading had threatened briefly, with Garath McCleary cutting in from the left and being denied only by a brave stop from Barnsley keeper Luke Steele.
But in the 20th minute, they drew level. Captain Jobi McAnuff released Pogrebnyak and the big Russian striker strode forward until he was carelessly fouled by Kelvin Etuhu in the area. Pogrebnyak coolly slotted in the spot kick.
Reading upped the pace before half-time, with Jordan Obita and McAnuff going close but Barnsley almost regained their lead when O’Grady blazed wide from a good opening.
Barnsley kept up their momentum after the break, with Tomasz Cywka forcing McCarthy into an unconvincing, scrambling save.
Dawson then sliced an effort wide before Barnsley struck twice in four minutes. Cywka flicked a pass on to Noble-Lazarus, a half-time substitute, and his precise chip glided in over McCarthy.
In the 57th minute, Barnsley stunned Reading further when Jennings cut in unchallenged from the left and unleashed a superb 25-yard effort past McCarthy. Steele saved athletically to keep out an Alex Pearce header as Barnsley held on comfortably.
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Obita, McCleary, Akpan, McAnuff, Blackman (Le Fondre 58), Drenthe (Robson-Kanu 71), Pogrebnyak. Unused substitutes: Federici, Kelly, Jake Taylor, Hector, Tanner.
Barnsley: Steele, Nyatanga, Mvoto, Kennedy, Lawrence (Frimpong 71), Dawson, Cywka, Etuhu, Jennings, Pedersen (Noble-Lazarus 46), O’Grady. Unused substitutes: Hassell, Proschwitz, Mellis, Turner, McCourt.
Referee: S Martin (Staffordshire).