Barnsley head coach Michael Duff said his side should not have allowed Port Vale a route back into the game as they were held to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night.
Liam Kitching’s first half header looked like it was going to prove the difference between the two sides, but Ellis Harrison’s header, seven minutes from time earned Vale a point.
Barnsley found the first half hour tough going and it was actually the visitors who had the better chances with Ademipo Odubeko testing Brad Collins and Ben Garrity heading a great chance off target.
The Reds began to step up their attacks as the break neared and Luke Thomas blazed over a glorious chance from Conor McCarthy’s cross.
The pressure eventually paid off when Jordan Williams’s whipped cross was powered in by Kitching to give Barnsley a 44th minute lead.
A second goal eluded Barnsley and it would have undoubtedly killed the game off.
Devante Cole looked the man most likely to get it but he was denied by a brave stop from Jack Stevens.
Vale, as Duff had warned pre-game, stayed in the fight with Harrison looking the danger man.
He fired two warning shots, one a shot from the edge of the box and then a bullet header, before hitting the target clinically from Gavin Massey’s cross.
Both sides could have won it in injury time but the keepers were on top.
Josh Martin’s long-range curler was palmed away by Stevens and then Brad Collins had an almost identical save to make from Funso Ojo’s effort.
Duff feels his side should have been out of sight.
He said: “We created numerous chances and then we started passing the ball backwards and sideways for some reason.
“You have got to recognise, as a young team, to keep your hand on their throat.
“With ten minutes left they can’t believe they are still in the game. Ultimately we have been punished from a cross and after that it becomes a little bit ding-dong.
“It’s frustrating because we did enough to win the game in the first 75 minutes but we have to be more ruthless. We have to go and get the second goal and stay on top of them.
“The performance was enough to win the game.”
Barnsley (3-5-2): Collins; Cundy, Andersen, McCarthy, Williams, Connell, Kane (Wolfe, 70), Thomas (Phillips, 80), Kitching; Aitchison (Martin, 70), Cole (Norwood, 80).
Unused substitutes: Walton, Edwards, Tedic.
Port Vale (3-5-2): Stevens, Hall (Massey, 57), Smith, Forrester (Cass, 57); Worrall (Butterworth, 72), Garrity, Ojo, Pett (Politic, 72), Jones; Odubeko (Wilson, 57), Harrison.
Unused substitutes: Stone, Benning.
Referee: Thomas Parsons (Greater Manchester).
Attendance: 9,552 (597 from Port Vale).