A goal direct from a corner from Alex Mowatt, who crowned his Championship player of the month award in fitting fashion, saw the Reds captain register his eighth goal of an outstanding campaign to break the deadlock shortly after the hour mark following an error from Boro keeper Marcus Bettinelli.
Daryl Dike’s eighth goal of the season 15 minutes from time sealed the victory on an afternoon when Barnsley were far from at their best, but controlled the second half.
Ismael’s side moved five points clear of seventh-placed Reading in the process and also registered their first home win in four matches at an opportune moment in the campaign.
Ismael said: “At the end of the day, this is what matters - to get the job done. The first half was a sleepy game without intensity and the opponent was very organised and tried to pick the time from the clock to take out the intensity of the game.
“We did not find a way to put pressure on the opponent, but we were stable in defence and did not concede shots on goal apart from maybe one situation with Toby (Sibbick), but otherwise, it was very stable.
“In the second half, we changed it to have more impact from the front three and we controlled completely the second half and as usual set-pieces make a difference.
“We then scored the second goal at the right moment and the job is done. It was our purpose to win as we knew the three points meant we crossed the 70-point line and for the psychological effects for the guys, it was very important to get the job done.
“We are capable of scoring at any time and the big focus from the guys was to stay in the game and avoid the mistakes and continue to put the pressure on the opponent to score at the right moment.
“Alex (Mowatt), Dee-Kay (Dike), Carlton (Morris) and some very key players are making the difference at the moment and that is what it is all about in our situation and it was all about getting the result after Reading lost and avoiding the mistake to win the game and create a gap between clubs.
“It is important to stay in that run and for that, you need all the players to make the difference at any moment.”