Barnsley’s run without a midweek league win on home soil maddeningly stretched into a 413th day and the annoyance after this latest episode will be felt particularly keenly.
Plymouth did not conclude their own statistical misery with the Devon club’s longest winless start to a league season since 1981-82 being extended, but last night’s events will have felt like a victory in the circumstances.
Heading to South Yorkshire with a lengthy injury list and with their manager Derek Adams under increasing pressure, Argyle had something to hang onto after a fine 39th-minute strike from Portuguese midfielder Ruben Lameiras – outstanding on the night – cancelled out a sweetly-struck early opener from Alex Mowatt.
The Reds applied pressure for sizeable spells on the restart, but ultimately lacked the gumption to finish off the visitors and were forced to settle for a third draw in four league matches at Oakwell.
It is the sort of return that will provoke concern among the Reds’ managerial team, with the latest draw being far from ideal ahead of a triple header of games against the aspiring trio of Peterborough United, Luton Town and Charlton Athletic.
The visitors had to dig deep on occasions, but deserved to take something back to Devon with much of the fluidity on show in the final third coming from, principally, Lameiras and also a proven lower-league operator in Graham Carey.
A fluctuating and highly-watchable half began with Barnsley threatening to drain further the confidence tanks of the down-at-heel Devon club by significantly boosting their own goals for column, but it ended with the visitors providing the hosts with much food for thought.
It began well enough for Barsnley courtesy of the sort of strike that Mowatt has possessed in his locker from his early days at Leeds United, with his fine curling shot going in off the underside of the bar.
It was a picture-book way for the midfielder to score his first goal at Oakwell.
Yet it was Lameiras who increasingly commanded the limelight by the interval following a mesmeric display.
The forward’s cute movement and instinctive eye for a pass bamboozled Barnsley as the half wore on, but fortunately for the hosts the misfiring Argyle forward Freddie Ladapo was not so masterly.
On three occasions he should have profited from the guile of Lameiras only to fire carelessly wide twice and also see a point-blank effort blocked by Adam Davies, making his 150th league start for the hosts.
Having clearly seen enough, Lameiras took matters firmly into his own hands, slaloming inside before firing a pinpoint low drive past the clutches of Davies.
Fluid in an offensive sense, Argyle were not so accomplished at the back with Matt Macey called into action to make two alert early saves to deny Mamadou Thiam.
But he had been powerless to prevent Mowatt’s cracker from breaching his defences after a short corner routine involving Thiam and Ryan Hedges.
A fine saving block from Ryan Edwards prevented Victor Adeboyejo from adding a second following a flowing move, but it was the cue for Plymouth to claim the ascendancy and level.
On the restart, a growing sense of restlessness began to permeate among home supporters, further reinforced when Carey cut inside and drilled an angled shot inches wide.
Barnsley needed a settler and it almost arrived when Mowatt’s rising drive was tipped away by Macey.
The Reds took the hint and started to regain the initiative with substitute Brad Potts going close before Kieffer Moore – denied by a fine save by Macey just before the break – lashed wildly over.
Moore endured further angst when the adept Macey showcased his agility again to turn away his angled strike before Lameiras’s cross clipped the bar at the other end.
It was Barnsley who produced the late pressure, but the winner obstinately refused to arrive leaving the Reds still without a midweek league win at Oakwell since September 2017.
Barnsley: Barnsley: Davies; Cavare, Jackson, Pinnock, Pinillos (Potts 41); Hedges, Mowatt, Dougall, Thiam (Moncur 85); Adeboyejo (Bahre 59), Moore. Unused substitutes : Walton, Lindsay, McGeehan, Moncur, Brown.
Plymouth Argyle: Macey; Smith-Brown, Edwards, P Grant, T Moore; Fox; Songo’o; Carey, O’Keefe, Lameiras (Wylde 85); Ladapo. Unused substitutes Ainsworth, J Grant, Dyson, Letheran, Fletcher, Rooney.
Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).