A bench-clearing ball in injury-time took some of the attention but it should not detract from a fine performance by Collins and some impressive character from a Reds team who have had a disappointing if far from disastrous start to the season.
The conditions were remarkably benign for a famously uncomfortable venue but the hosts’ 100 per cent home record this season meant it was still a challenge for Barnsley to show they could do it on a pleasant, mild night in Stoke.
The ruckus which ended the game was much more like the sort of raw aggression this ground has been built on.
Stoke were pushing desperately for a winner when coach Dean Holden sprinted out of their technical area to retrieve the ball and was tackled by Markus Schopp, who was then “attacked” in his words. It all kicked off spectacularly with allegations of a punch thrown and something apparently thrown from the crowd.
The end result was red cards for Barnsley coach Joe Laumann and his Stoke counterparts Holden and Rory Delap.
That Stoke were so desperate by then had a lot to do with Collins, who saved a penalty at the end of the first half but it was just one of a number of saves as Barnsley were forced to withstand the pressure that comes with this particular bit of territory.
The Reds rode their luck at times but it was not purely a case of clinging on for dear life. They had the quality of captain Cauley Woodrow, whose brilliant free-kick meant they were able to take something from the game even when Collins was beaten, and even missed a glorious Victor Adeboyejo chance.
For a Barnsley side still finding their feet this season, with Aaron Leya Iseka making his full debut (it only lasted 45 minutes) and fellow high-profile signings Obbi Oulare, Remy Vita and Claudio Gomes still waiting for theirs, it was a great result.
Schopp surprised with his line-up, moving Callum Brittain into central midfield and playing Dominic Frieser as the principle centre-forward, with Woodrow and Iseka usually outside the Austrian. If Woodrow led Barnsley’s first-half threat, right wing-back Tommy Smith was the chief danger for Stoke, given too much space too often.
His opposite number Tony Sibbick had to put a cross behind and he made Sam Surridge’s opener. There was no pressure on Allen and a midfielder of his quality was always likely to take advantage, slicing Barnsley open with a pass to Smith, whose cross Michal Helik could not get on the end of but Surridge could.
Barnsley were fortunate the striker swung at fresh air when the pair next combined, and his strike partner Jacob Brown was also unable to take advantage against his former club.
Woodrow ensured the traffic was not one-way, forcing a low save from former Doncaster Rovers loanee Josef Birsik after Callum Styles and Romal Palmer manouevered the ball to him in the 10th minute. It was his ball over the top to Frieser that was narrowly cut out. When Allen brought Styles down after he ran into a dangerous position, Woodrow brushed his team-mate aside and curled a glorious free-kick right inside the post.
Collins had shown a willingness to sprint off his line which almost cost his team, though when he ran out at the feet of Surridge at the end of the first half, the striker appeared to bring himself down.
Mario Vrancic’s penalty was poor but Collins reacted brilliantly to tip it onto the crossbar.
Stoke had five corners in a three-minute spell of extreme pressure early in the second half, Collins running back to tip one over his post, Ben Wilmot heading another wide with a deflection, and Collins making a great save to deny Surridge.
Vrancic was in far too much space when Smith crossed on the hour but Collins saved again and Sibbick did brilliantly to stop Surridge tapping in.
Former Hull City midfielder Sam Clucas, on as a substitute, bulleted a header wide and could not seem to believe it.
There was a point-blank save from Surridge in the 80th-minute, though he should not have given Collins the chance. Barnsley substitute Adeboyejo missed a glorious chance too, failing to get his body around Brittain’s cross. Then in the final few minutes four red cards, Smith dismissed for jumping into a tackle on Gomes and the fireworks on the bench.
It might not always have been pretty, but Barnsley did their job.
Stoke City: Bursik; Ostigard, Souttar, Wilmot; Smith, Allen (Clucas 72), Sawyers, Vrancic, Tymon; Brown (Sima 76), Surridge (Doughty 86). Unused substitutes: Davies, Batth, Thompson, Ince.
Barnsley: Collins; Helik, Moon, Halme; Sibbick (Hondermarck 79), Brittain, Palmer (Gomes 46), Styles; Woodrow, Frieser, Iseka (Adeboyejo 46). Unused substitutes: Walton, Oduor, Sraha, Cole.
Referee: L Doughty (Lancashire).