Barnsley’s survival hopes suffered a major dent as they lost 4-0 at fellow strugglers Stoke City on Saturday. 

The Reds were 2-0 down after ten minutes and three behind following a first half in which they produced one of their worst performances of the season. The second half was much quieter but the hosts added another late on. 

After a day when Wigan Athletic – bottom once their 12-point penalty has been applied – and Luton Town also suffered heavy defeats, Barnsley are third from last and four points from safety while that gap could increase when the likes of Middlesbrough and Hull City play tomorrow.  

The loss ended a run of seven points from a possible nine, with three clean sheets, since the season re-started. 

Gerhard Struber made three changes from the side that won 2-0 at home to Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday as Conor Chaplin, Luke Thomas and Kilian Ludewig came in for Elliot Simoes, Jordan Williams and the injured Romal Palmer.

After success in the 4-2-3-1 formation, Struber reverted to his favoured 4-4-2 diamond with Alex Mowatt in front of the back four, Marcel Ritzmaier and Thomas either side of him and Cauley Woodrow behind strikers Jacob Brown and Chaplin.  

Barnsley were very poor in the first half, struggling to attack or even string passes together and could easily have been 6-0 down at the break.  

The hosts took the lead in the eighth minute when Sam Vokes got above Ben Williams to send a flicked header from a right-wing Sam Clucas corner into the left side of Barnsley’s net. Two minutes later, after a speculative ball into the Barnsley box down the left, Andersen’s weak header went straight to James McClean in the six-yard box who squared to Tyrese Campbell to double the lead with a cheeky backheel finish. 

Barnsley tried to get back into the game with Kilian Ludewig forcing former Reds goalkeeper Jack Butland into a save from 15 yards out on the right of the box midway through the first half. Stoke’s Nick Powell thought he should have a penalty after colliding with Andersen just inside the box but the referee booked him for diving. 

A quick, low free-kick from the left allowed Campbell to have a cross-shot that was blocked by Walton then Ben Williams also blocked. Barnsley did not learn as, on 38 minutes, a low corner from the same side by McClean was met by the unmarked Campbell 15 yards out to find the bottom right corner. 

Clucas should have made it 4-0 before the break but blasted over from ten yards out after Vokes headed down a long ball. Walton then threw the ball out straight to a Stoke player but made a good save, down to his right, from a close-range header by Vokes who met a Clucas cross.  

Struber made three changes at half-time. Ritzmaier, Ben Williams and Brown came off for Jordan Williams, Callum Styles and Simoes. Clarke Oduor came off the bench early in the second half for Ludewig as he made his first appearance since lockdown. 

Cauley Woodrow curled a 25-yard free-kick over the bar after an hour then, ten minutes later, was replaced by Patrick Schmidt. Mowatt saw a free-kick saved by Butland, who had to dive to his right, then Walton tipped a Powell effort around his bottom right corner. 

The fourth goal arrived in the 88th minute when right-back Tommy Smith ran down the flank and pulled the ball back for the unmarked substitute Tom Ince who found the top left corner from 12 yards. 

Barnsley (4-4-2 diamond): Walton: Sollbauer, Andersen, B Williams (J Williams HT); Ludewig (Oduor 54mins), Thomas, Mowatt, Ritzmaier (Styles HT); Woodrow (Schmidt 71); Chaplin, Brown (Simoes HT).  Unused: Collins, Bahre, Halme, Marsh.

Stoke (4-4-2): Butland; Smith, Batth, Chester, Martins Indi; Clucas (Thompson 89mins), Cousins, Powell (Sorenson 85), McClean (Diouf 89); Vokes (Ince 71mins), Campbell (Gregory 71). Subs: Davies, Ward, Shawcross, Collins.  Yellow cards: Powell, Campbell.  Goals: Vokes 8, Campbell 10, 38, Ince 88. 

  • 15:07pm
    Not much to report so far. Barnsley look to be playing a back four again after success in the 3-4-1-2 formation
  • 15:10pm
    8 Stoke win the first corner of the game. Sam Clucas takes from the right. Vokes heads in.
  • 15:12pm
    Tyrese Campbell doubles the lead after ten minutes
  • 15:14pm
    A disastrous moment for Mads Andersen who heads the ball straight to a Stoke man in his box and Campbell applies a cheeky backheel finish
  • 15:21pm
    All Barnsley's good work in the previous two weeks under threat now as they trail in this massive game
  • 15:21pm
    They are starting to get on the ball and pass it around much better but it is a real mountain to climb
  • 15:22pm
    Mads Andersen had arguably been the player of the re-start for Barnsley but he's had a nightmare beginning to this game
  • 15:23pm
    21 Marcel Ritzmaier's header is met by Jacob Brown but it is going well wide as ex-Red Jack Butland gathers it
  • 15:24pm
    A crumb of comfort is that Luton are also losing 2-0, at home to Reading
  • 15:26pm
    24 Barnsley's first shot on target. Chaplin finds Ludewig on the right of the box and he forces Butland into a decent stop. The corner is passed to Ritzmaier whose awful cross goes over everyone
  • 15:28pm
    A drinks break and now we're back in action
  • 15:31pm
    Nearly a horrendous moment for Jack Walton, he totally misses the ball with a kick on the edge of his box and has to block a Stoke player's attempt to get by him out for a throw-in.
  • 15:33pm
    30 Stoke try to make it three after a clever, passed free-kick but two shots are blocked by Barnsley defenders
  • 15:33pm
    Nick Powell thinks he could have a penalty after colliding with Mads Andersen just inside the box but the referee books him for diving
  • 15:34pm
    33 Woodrow shoots from 30 yards straight at Butland
  • 15:40pm
    38 Stoke corner on the left, played in low and Tyrese Campbell fires into the bottom right corner
  • 15:42pm
    That's a second goal from a set piece. A third goal overall. Barnsley will be devastated with their performance so far
  • 15:43pm
    41 Should be four, a long ball forward is headed on by Vokes and Clucas volleys over from 12 yards
  • 15:48pm
    45 Another big Stoke chance. Walton's throw is intercepted and Clucas crosses for Vokes but the goalkeeper makes a good save down to his right
  • 15:52pm
    HALF-TIME: Stoke 3, Barnsley 0. A terrible first half for the Reds who are lucky not to be further behind
  • 16:08pm
  • 16:09pm
    Barnsley make three changes. Marcel Ritzmaier, Ben Williams and Jacob Brown off. Jordan Williams, Callum Styles and Elliot Simoes on.
  • 16:14pm
    Not many attacks early in this first half, although Ludewig just had to block a shot on the edge of his box
  • 16:17pm
    Stoke are looking the attacking team so far after the break but, with many more big games to come for them, they may be happy to conserve some energy and just see the game out
  • 16:18pm
    A fourth change sees Kilian Ludewig replaced by Clarke Oduor who is involved for the first time since the re-start
  • 16:22pm
    60 Cauley Woodrow takes a free-kick for Barnsley. Over the bar from 25 yards
  • 16:23pm
    Struber must be tempted to take off players like Mowatt and Woodrow to save them for future games but, especially in Mowatt's case, that could risk weakening his side and conceding more goals.
  • 16:27pm
    Very very little has happened in this second half, and Stoke will be happy with that as they just want to see out with vital victory
  • 16:28pm
    The news from elsewhere is that Luton are 5-0 down at home to Reading while Wigan trail 2-0 at Brentford
  • 16:30pm
    Tyrese Campbell, Stoke's two-goal hero, is booked
  • 16:33pm
    Second drinks break. Tom Ince and Lee Gregory about to come on for Stoke
  • 16:33pm
    Cauley Woodrow is replaced by Patrick Schmidt
  • 16:41pm
    Less than 15 minutes remaining now in what has been a horrowshow for the Reds. All the damage was done in the first half and the second half just been a nothing contest so far
  • 16:45pm
    82 Alex Mowatt has Barnsley's second shot on target with a free-kick which Butland dives to his right to save fairly comfortably
  • 16:48pm
    84 Walton makes a good save to tip a powerful low 20-yard Powell volley around his bottom right corner
  • 16:50pm
    Tom Ince makes it four
  • 16:52pm
    Tommy Smith runs down the right and cuts the ball back to Tom Ince who is totally unmarked 12 yards out and smashes a good finish into the top left corner
  • 16:53pm
    James McClean off for Stoke, replaced by Mame Biram Diouf. Jordan Thompson is on for Sam Clucas
  • 16:53pm
    Four minutes of added time
  • 16:58pm
    GAME OVER: Stoke City 4, Barnsley 0