CALLUM Styles' spectacular early strike and Darl Dike's late goal sunk Stoke City and sealed a fourth successive Championship win for in-form Barnsley.
Styles' fifth goal of the season came after nine minutes and on-loan American striker Dike's first since his move from Orlando City in the 90th, as Barnsley moved to within two points of the 50 head coach Valerien Ismael had targeted to ensure second-tier safety.
It's the first time Barnsley have won four in a row since the 2018/19 League One promotion campaign, and the first time it's happened at Championship level since 2012/13.
Barnsley made three changes to the side which started at Bristol City as centre-back Toby Sibbick and forwards Carlton Morris and Dominik Frieser replaced Michael Sollbauer, Conor Chaplin and Dike.
Stoke brought in former Chelsea and Nigeria star John Obi Mikel for Joe Allen, who dropped to a bench which included former Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies, on-loan Southampton man Angus Gunn once again getting the nod between the posts.
Forward Jacob Brown, the ex-Barnsley favourite sold to Stoke for a reported £2.5million in September, was making his first return to Oakwell.
Both sides went into the game on 45 points, so a tight contest was expected as Stoke aimed to make it six unbeaten in games against Barnsley.
And each side had an early opportunity, Cauley Woodrow having a shot on the turn blocked while home goalkeeper Brad Collins had to come out of his penalty area to clear from Steven Fletcher as the ex-Sheffield Wednesday striker latched onto a neat through ball from Brown.
Barnsley went ahead when skipper Alex Mowatt sent in a corner which was headed clear, but only as far as wing-back Styles, who took full advantage of the space in front of him to advance and drill home a sweet left-foot shot from 25 yards out.
Defender Danny Batth headed over while midfielder Mikel had a shot deflected wide as Stoke sought a quick response.
But Barnsley were pushing for a second, and both Mowatt and central midfield partner Romal Palmer tested Gunn with well-struck drives, the latter after neat approach play by Callum Brittain and Frieser.
Brown's 30th-minute delivery from the left spelled danger for Barnsley, but Josh Tymon was unable to get a clean connection, and ended up putting his shot wide.
Frieser had the ball in the next with a neat flick over Gunn, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.
Stoke were forcing a succession of corners, and from one of them, centre-back Harry Souttar shot over when well placed on the edge of the six-yard box as Barnsley made it to the break with their lead intact.
After an uneventful start to the second half, Barnsley made two changes on 59 minutes, Dike and Victor Adeboyejo for Morris and Frieser.
Aapo Halme then replaced Palmer, the Finnish defender making a first appearance since being injured in mid-December.
Dike shot wide from ten yards out before Styles did well to dispossess Brown as he broke down the right.
Ismael made his final two substitutions, Chaplin for Woodrow and Sollbauer for Sibbick, with five minutes remaining.
And victory was sealed when Dike fired in an angled shot from Chaplin's pass.
Barnsley: Collins, Sibbick (Sollbauer, 85), Helik, Andersen, Brittain, Palmer (Halme, 70), Mowatt, Styles, Morris (Dike, 59), Woodrow (Chaplin, 85), Frieser (Adeboyejo, 59) Unused: J Williams, Kane, Oduor, Walton.
Stoke: Gunn, Smith (Cousins, 74), Souttar, Batth, Norrington-Davies, Obi Mikel, Thompson (Allen, 49), Brown (Oakley-Boothe, 83), Powell, Tymon (Clarke, 74), Fletcher (Vokes, 49). Unused: Chester, Forrester, Norton, Davies.
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).
  • 6:43pm
    Welcome to our coverage of Barnsley's 7pm kick-off at home to Stoke City.
  • 6:47pm
    Barnsley's side to face the Potters: Collins; Andersen, Helik, Sibbick; Styles, Mowatt, Palmer, Brittain; Morris, Woodrow, Frieser. Subs: Walton, J Williams, Kane, Dike, Chaplin, Oduor, Halme, Sollbauer, Adeboyejo.
  • 6:52pm
    Stoke City: Gunn; Norrington-Davies, Batth, Souttar, Tymon, Smith; Obi Mikel, Thompson; Brown, Fletcher, Powell. Subs: Davies, Allen, Vokes, Chester, Oakley-Boothe, Cousins, Forrester, Norton, Clarke.
  • 7:00pm
    We're a few moments away from kick-off.
  • 7:01pm
    1 The visitors get us underway and kick it into the corner for a home throw-in.
  • 7:03pm
    2 A cross from the right is calmly collected by Brad Collins, who takes a moment for the side to get into shape before firing it upfield.
  • 7:04pm
    3 Cauley Woodrow receives it from Callum Brittain on the right and takes two touches before shooting. His shot is deflected to Dominik Frieser, who's called offside just out from the six-yard box.
  • 7:06pm
    5 Jacob Brown feeds a good ball inside from the right as Stoke counter, but Brad Collins smashes it out of play ahead of Steven Fletcher. The Reds thought Cauley Woodrow was fouled up the other end of the pitch.
  • 7:09pm
    8 Danny Batth booked for a foul on Carlton Morris. The ref let play go on.
  • 7:09pm
    9 Callum Styles with a superb strike!
  • 7:12pm
    9 The wing-back picked up a loose ball around 25 yards out on the left following a corner, and fired it across goal towards the right post. Angus Gunn, at full stretch, couldn't get a hand to it.
  • 7:15pm
    14 Danny Batth heads over from 10 yards out after the ball's played in from the right.
  • 7:18pm
    17 A succession of corners from the right for Stoke, but the Reds stay resilient. John Obi Mikel takes a crack from the edge of the box but it's blocked, and Carlton Morris wins a goal kick for his side.
  • 7:21pm
    20 Steven Fletcher connects with Tommy Smith's cross from the right, but his header is comfortably caught by Brad Collins to the left of goal.
  • 7:23pm
    22 Alex Mowatt with an optimistic effort from distance as he cuts inside from the right, but his left-footed strike is caught by Angus Gunn.
  • 7:25pm
    23 Some great football from the Reds. Callum Brittain starts the move, Cauley Woodrow feeds it to Dominik Frieser whose backheel finds the rushing Brittain on the right. Carlton Morris lays his cross off for Alex Mowatt, who then plays it to Romal Palmer. The midfielder takes a crack and it's well saved by Angus Gunn.
  • 7:30pm
    29 The Reds have faced a few corners but little else in terms of threat from the visitors. They're keeping the ball well in midfield - in the latest example, Dominik Frieser wins a free kick with a smart turn on his man.
  • 7:31pm
    30 Josh Tymon gets a good chance but fluffs the finish at the far post. Jacob Brown was found in space on the right and whipped a decent ball into a difficult position.
  • 7:34pm
    33 Dominik Frieser thinks he's scored with a neat chip over the 'keeper, but he's called offside. It's a shame as he did well to get to the ball and lift it over Angus Gunn.
  • 7:39pm
    37 Steven Fletcher attempts to counter from a Reds free kick, and wins a corner on the left. It bounces around in the box before Harry Souttar fires high and wide from close range. Stoke have had a lot of corners, but have done little with them so far. The Reds seem more content to pass the ball around, rather than play their usual long ball, pressing game.
  • 7:40pm
    39 Some more neat interplay from the Reds as Callum Styles, Carlton Morris and Cauley Woodrow combine on the left. The latter wins a corner as he surges into the box.
  • 7:43pm
    42 Steven Fletcher latches onto Tommy Smith's ball in from the right and fires well over - but he's offside anyway. A decent move from Stoke.
  • 7:45pm
    43 This time, Danny Batth is offside as he connects with Tommy Smith's delivery, following a set piece for Stoke. They've had some chances this half, but don't have that final bit of quality in the box.
  • 7:46pm
    45 Brad Collins saves comfortably from Tommy Smith's long range strike, after the ball comes in from the left.
  • 7:46pm
    1 minute
  • 7:47pm
    HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1, Stoke City 0. Callum Styles' strike is the difference.
  • 8:05pm
    46 We're back underway.
  • 8:06pm
    46 An early throw-in for the Reds from Dominik Frieser on the right, but it's repelled and the visitors counter. Some good defending on the right side of Barnsley's back five.
  • 8:08pm
    48 Some good work by Josh Tymon, who challenges Toby Sibbick for a long ball and manages to knock it back for Nick Powell. His shot is blocked and there are some handball shouts, but the referee says nothing doing.
  • 8:08pm
    49 Jordan Thompson and Steven Fletcher.
  • 8:09pm
    SUB ON
    49 Joe Allen and Sam Vokes.
  • 8:10pm
    50 Carlton Morris beats his man on the right but can't get a cross away. The ball's cleared and Mads Andersen gives away a free kick up the other end.
  • 8:15pm
    55 Not much has happened in the last five minutes or so - it's all a bit scrappy. Alex Mowatt takes an effort from distance, but it's blocked.
  • 8:18pm
    58 Callum Styles with a testing delivery from the left but it's well cleared. The defender's clearance rebounds off of Carlton Morris for a goal kick.
  • 8:20pm
    60 A long ball and Harry Souttar nearly heads it to Cauley Woodrow as he tries to find his 'keeper - but Woodrow just can't stretch to get it.
  • 8:20pm
    61 Carlton Morris and Dominik Frieser.
  • 8:21pm
    SUB ON
    61 Daryl Dike and Victor Adeboyejo.
  • 8:26pm
    67 Michal Helik goes down with a head injury on the edge of the box after Nick Powell's aeriel challenge, and the ref stops play.
  • 8:28pm
    69 Romal Palmer.
  • 8:29pm
    SUB ON
    69 Aapo Halme for his first appearance since December.
  • 8:33pm
    74 Just under 15 minutes to go and little to shout about in this half. The Reds holding their lead pretty confidently.
  • 8:34pm
    75 Tommy Smith and Josh Tymon.
  • 8:35pm
    SUB ON
    75 Jack Clarke and Jordan Cousins.
  • 8:36pm
    76 A teasing cross from John Obi Mikel from well out very nearly finds Nick Powell, but it's caught by Brad Collins who was right next to the Stoke man.
  • 8:37pm
    77 The Reds win a corner as neither Daryl Dike nor Victor Adeboyejo can take the chance from close range.
  • 8:39pm
    79 Great defending from Callum Styles as he tracks the run of Jacob Brown and then dispossesses the winger as he tries to collect a long ball over the top. The wing-back then clears.
  • 8:40pm
    80 Norrington-Davies with a good cross from the left, but it's caught by Brad Collins fairly confidently.
  • 8:41pm
    81 A testing low ball into the box from Cauley Woodrow on the right nearly creeps to Victor Adeboyejo, but Danny Batth gets a foot to it to concede a corner on the same side.
  • 8:42pm
    83 Jacob Brown,
  • 8:42pm
    SUB ON
    83 Tashan Oakley-Boothe.
  • 8:44pm
    85 Joe Allen's fierce drive from 20 yards out is blocked and then cleared for a throw-in for the visitors.
  • 8:45pm
    86 Cauley Woodrow and Toby Sibbick.
  • 8:45pm
    SUB ON
    86 Conor Chaplin and Michael Sollbauer.
  • 8:49pm
    89 Some good play on the right with Conor Chaplin playing through Victor Adeboyejo, whose step-over fools the defender and allows him to breeze into the box and win a corner as he attempts to find Daryl Dike.
  • 8:50pm
    90 Daryl Dike slides it under the 'keeper from a tight angle on the right.
  • 8:53pm
    90+3 Joe Allen's clever through ball beats the offside trap and Nick Powell wins a corner as he attempts to play it into the box.
  • 8:55pm
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 2, Stoke City 0. Solid performance from the Reds and goals by Callum Styles and Daryl Dike see them through to the end.