Barnsley’s 12-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 3-1 loss at mid-table Exeter City on Tuesday night.

The hosts took the lead but Bobby Thomas levelled before the break. Exeter netted again just after the interval before securing the victory with a late penalty.

The Reds delivered one of the poorer performances in months, struggling to create chances and conceding poor goals.

They remain fourth, six points off the top two.

Michael Duff kept the same team that beat Sheffield Wednesday a week before. Mads Andersen made his 165th appearance which broke the club record for a non-British or Irish player.

The Reds started well but struggled to create clear chances with Herbie Kane dragging well wide from outside the box. James Norwood also shot wide from just inside the box with Nicky Cadden well placed on his left.

The hosts took the lead on 26 minutes when Jay Stansfield beat Jordan Williams on the left of the box and curled in a good shot.

But Barnsley responded well and levelled when Thomas stabbed home from Luca Connell’s left-wing free-kick.

Seconds into the second half, Devante Cole was played through but the flag was up for offside as he shot wide and was taken out by the goalkeeper.

But it was the hosts who took the lead three minutes after the interval when again Stansfield beat Williams on the left near the byline and pulled the ball back to Harry Kite who netted from close range.

Demetri Mitchell saw a volley from outside the box caught by Harry Isted then Adam Phillips shot well over from just inside the box.

Barnsley made a quadruple change and one of the replacements Slobodan Tedic had a 12-yard shot saved the legs of goalkeeper Jamal Blackman after the ball broke to him in the box.

Exeter almost made it 3-1 when Archie Collins’ header from a left-wing cross drifted inches wide of the left post. Collins had another chance second later but scuffed a shot after a good move on the left and Isted saved easily.

At the other end, Josh Benson saw a deflected shot saved then Luke Thomas curled over from the edge of the box.

The hosts scored a penalty through Sam Nombe after a clumsy tackle by Bobby Thomas following a spilled shot by Isted.

Substitute Max Watters saw a flicked effort saved by Blackman in injury-time.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Isted; B Thomas, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Connell (Watters 64mins), Kane (L Thomas 64), Phillips, Cadden; Cole(Benson 64), Norwood (Tedic 64).

Unused: Collins, Cundy, Larkeche.

Goals: B Thomas 37.

Exeter (3-5-2): Blackman; Sweeney, Aimson, Hartridge; Key, Kite, McDonald, Collins, Mitchell; Stansfield, Scott.

Unused: Lee, Grounds, Sparkes, White, Harper, Coley, Nombe.

Goals: Stansfield 26, Kite 48, Nombe 90 (pen).

  • 7:48pm
    2 Not much to report so far but Barnsley have had a couple of throws which have been dealt with
  • 7:53pm
    Good first five minutes for the Reds. They have had most of the ball
  • 7:54pm
    8 Barnsley free-kick 40 yards out. Connell takes, headed out
  • 7:56pm
    10 First shot of the game. Herbie Kane lets fly from just outside the box but it's scuffed well wide
  • 7:58pm
    12 Phillips put through but the ball bounces up high then he is shoved in the back. No penalty, and no real appeals by the players - unlike in the stands and in the dugout
  • 8:00pm
    13 Exeter corner on left conceded by Thomas who missed ball but then made good tackle;. He also heads it away
  • 8:01pm
    15 Exeter win another corner. They're having a better spell
  • 8:01pm
    Again the corner is headed clear by Thomas
  • 8:04pm
    18 Decent move down left leads to Cadden's cross being caught
  • 8:06pm
    20 Kane wins the ball and Phillips runs forwards on the right but his cross is way too hard and over the bar
  • 8:09pm
    Kitching goes down for treatment but it looks like he will carry on
  • 8:11pm
    25 Norwood drags wide from just inside the box. Could he have played Cadden in on the left?
  • 8:12pm
    Jay Stansfield puts the hosts in front
  • 8:16pm
    He beats Williams on the left of the box and curls in a good shot
  • 8:16pm
    It's his third goal of the season against Barnsley after a brace at Oakwell
  • 8:17pm
    Barnsley have not come from behind to win this season
  • 8:20pm
    Barnsley have responded quite well but yet to create a chance
  • 8:23pm
    Bobby Thomas levels!
  • 8:24pm
    Connell free-kick on the left stabbed home from close range
  • 8:28pm
    Good response for the Reds
  • 8:28pm
    Thomas wins a corner on the right
  • 8:28pm
    43 Cadden corner on the right caught by the goalkeeper
  • 8:31pm
    Barnsley finishing this half the stronger. Can they get another goal?
  • 8:31pm
    Two added minutes
  • 8:33pm
    HALF-TIME: Exeter 1, Barnsley 1
  • 8:50pm
  • 8:52pm
    46 Cole gets put. through, the linesman puts his flag up as he is taken out by the goalkeeper after shooting wide
  • 8:53pm
    Now Josh Key offside as he smashes the ball off the bar from a few yards out
  • 8:53pm
    48 Kane shot blocked then Cadden powerful but over from 22 yards
  • 8:56pm
    Harry Kite puts the hosts back in front
  • 8:56pm
    Again the ball is kept in right on the byline by Stansfield who this time plays it back for Kite to net from close range
  • 8:57pm
    Again the ball is kept in right on the byline by Stansfield who this time plays it back for Kite to net from close range
  • 8:58pm
    Can Barnsley respond well again? They win a corner
  • 9:01pm
    55 Exeter corner on the right which is cleared then Connell ends the counter attack and is booked
  • 9:02pm
    Demetri Mitchell shoots from 22 yards on the volley. But Isted catches
  • 9:04pm
    Looks like at least some of Tedic, Thomas and Benson are coming on
  • 9:05pm
    Will be a triple change
  • 9:07pm
    Actually quadruple change. Watters too
  • 9:08pm
    Cole for Benson, Kane for Luke Thomas, Norwood for Tedic, Watters for Connell
  • 9:12pm
    65 Chance for Phillips after a cross is cleared to him but he shoots over from just inside the box
  • 9:13pm
    Chance for Tedic after the ball breaks to him but his 12-yard shot is saved by the legs of Jamal Blackman
  • 9:16pm
    These changes do seem to have made a difference so far
  • 9:18pm
    Huge change for 3-1. Archie Collins' header from a left-wing cross drifts just wide
  • 9:21pm
    Another chance for Collins to make it 3-1. After another example of the ball being worked from near the byline on the left but it is easily saved by Isted
  • 9:25pm
    Benson's deflected shot saved by Blackman then L Thomas curls over. Good few minutes for the Reds
  • 9:26pm
    Into the final ten minutes of what could be a very damaging defeat
  • 9:27pm
    Exeter bring on Joe White for Stansfield
  • 9:31pm
    Barnsley haven't been at it tonight. too many poor passes, no rhythm, not the usual intensity
  • 9:33pm
    Penalty to Exeter
  • 9:35pm
    Sam Nombe nets the penalty into the bottom left corner
  • 9:41pm
    Substitute Max Watters saw a flicked effort saved by Blackman in injury-time.
  • 9:41pm
    Miserable night for the Reds as their 12-match unbeaten run comes to an end
  • 9:44pm
    Still playing here into 100th minute. Reds corner cleared
  • 9:45pm
    FULL-TIME: Exeter 3, Barnsley 1. The Reds' unbeaten run comes to an end