Accrington Stanley dropped to 20th place in the League One table as promotion-chasing Barnsley scored three goals in the first 19 minutes to secure the win.
It was a disappointing afternoon at Oakwell for the Reds but one positive was the appearance of experienced defender Michael Nottingham for the first time this season – he hadn’t played since April.
He came on for the final 10 minutes and proved solid in defence while also winning a penalty which Tommy Leigh converted with the last kick of the game.
Seb Quirk came in for his Stanley debut, as right wing back, with Leigh and Doug Tharme also returning to the starting XI.
Two goals in two and half minutes meant it was a nightmare start for the Reds.
In the fifth minute, ex-Stanley loanee Adam Phillips played the ball into the box and James Norwood’s overhead kick found back of the Stanley net.
It was two on eight minutes when Luca Connell’s ball over top had keeper Toby Savin and Norwood chasing for it with the Reds keeper getting there first but the loose ball fell to Jack Aitchison who fired into the empty net.
On 19 minutes it was three when Phillips broke forward and passed into the area and Jordan Williams slotted home.
Barnsley were in the hunt for a fourth but couldn’t pounce on a couple of chances while Savin pushed away a Norwood strike.
The Tykes started the second half on the attack and John Coleman made a double substitution on the hour mark, bringing on Josh Woods and Rosaire Longelo, before Leslie Adekoya also entered the fray.
Stanley were better but struggled to test Tykes keeper Brad Collins with, on 72 minutes, Woods having the Reds first strike on target with Collins equal to it.
There was a welcome return to action for the final 10 minutes for defender Nottingham for his first appearance of the 2022/23 campaign and he proved pivotal in giving the travelling Reds fans something to cheer with Leigh's spot kick.
Stanley: Savin, Astley (Nottingham), Tharme (Perritt), Rodgers, Coyle, Quirk, Martin, Hamilton (Longelo), McConville (Adekoya), Whalley (Woods), Leigh
Subs: Jensen, Fernandes
Yellow: Hamilton, Coyle
Crowd: 9893 (200 #asfc)