A WHISTLE-HAPPY fan helped Barnsley’s cause in the Yorkshire derby at the John Smith’s Stadium but it proved to no avail as Jonathan Hogg hit home a stoppage-time winner for the hosts.
Town switched off on hearing the whistle, allowing Alfie Mawson to head home Marc Roberts’s long throw straight after the interval for the equaliser.
German defender Chris Lowe had scored his first goal for Town to put them into a 27th-minute lead against the Reds.
Reds substitute Stefan Payne should have won it in the 80th minute but struck the post after latching on to a back-pass from Dean Whitehead, which went beyond intended recipient Chris Schindler.
The miss proved costly as Elias Kachunga played the ball through for Hogg to finish from inside the area.
Whitehead had returned from suspension for Town, replacing Hogg in a defensive midfield role, and Nahki Wells was back in the starting line-up in attack for Jack Payne.
Barnsley, not surprisingly after two wins in a week, were unchanged for a third successive game, including former Town winger Adam Hammill on the left.
Injured Town striker Joe Lolley was also unhurt after a two-car collision on Leeds Road prior to the game.
Unusually, Paul Heckingbottom’s players went to salute their 2,000-strong Reds following prior to kick-off of what promised to be a keenly-fought derby.
Josh Scowen had to be alert and clear for an early corner after Adam Davies spilled a cross to his near post from Tommy Smith and there were half-chances for Kachunga and Rajiv Van La Parra as Town did most of the pressing - Marley Watkins firing wide for Barnsley.
After a relatively quiet spell, Town took a 27th-minute lead. Left-back Lowe came inside, played the ball into Kachunga and took a return pass which he curled over Davies into the far corner of the net.
Lowe then took a booking for bringing down Ryan Kent, who shortly after required treatment after taking a knock on his back but continued to look Barnsley’s best attacking outlet.
The Reds also forced a couple of corners in stoppage time and goalkeeper Danny Ward did well to paw away a deep cross from Conor Hourihane but Town led at the break.
Stefan Payne replaced Tom Bradshaw up front for the Reds at the start of the second half and they were soon level as Mawson headed home Roberts’s throw from the left corner flag.
Town were furious the goal stood as referee Chris Kavanagh appeared to have blown his whistle for an infringement before the central defender headed in from inside the six-yard area. However, it emerged the whistle had been blown by a fan and it led to an announcement that the game would be stopped should it happen again.
It put the wind in Barnsley’s sails and Town responded by bringing on Kasey Palmer and Jonathan Hogg for the injured Sean Scannell and Aaron Mooy.
They hit back and Davies went to his left to push a glancing header from Wells.
Kent responded by cutting inside and forcing a diving save from Liverpool club-mate Ward before Hammill fired a free-kick well off target.
Van La Parra curled a shot narrowly wide after being teed up by Palmer and Sessi D’Almeida replaced Kent as the winger ran out of steam.
Scowen went down inside the area after a tangle with Kachunga but penalty claims were dismissed and Hammill wasted a chance to shoot from inside the area after being set up by Payne.
Harry Bunn replaced Wells and Andy Yiadom came on for Barnsley’s James Bree.
Then came Whitehead’s error which Payne should have punished after being left with only Ward to beat.
Town almost grabbed a 90th-minute winner but Davies did well to turn over a snapshot from Bunn,
Then came the dramatic finale as Hogg sealed the win in the second of five minutes of stoppage time to the delight of the majority of the 20,001-strong crowd.