John McAtee scored a 90th-minute winner as Barnsley made it five straight away wins with a 1-0 success at Exeter City.

It was a dull game overall but Neill Collins’ changes made a difference and one substitute Owen Dodgson crossed for another in McAtee to head home.

The Reds are now up to third in League One, after Exeter hit their post twice.

Barnsley kept the same team that started the 4-0 win at Cambridge United on Tuesday with Adam Phillips replacing Josh Benson on the bench.

Exeter’s Reece Cole sent a 25-yard free-kick wide of the bottom left corner then Max Watters shot off target from a similar distance.

Herbie Kane’s cross from the right almost went in and but the goalkeeper clawed it out of the top left corner then Callum Styles burst through but shot horribly wide from the edge of the box.

Cole then scuffed at the goalkeeper after Barnsley won the ball on the edge of the home box and Styles passed to Cole. Styles sliced a volley well wide after latching onto a lofted Kane pass deep in the home half.

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Liam Roberts almost gifted former Barnsley forward Jack Aitchison a golden chance as he slipped on the ball in his box but just managed to block the ball onto Aitchison and it looped off-target.

But the second half of the first half was very low quality with both sides struggling for end product and intensity. Exeter offered little as they tried to play long balls and counter-attack, with the Reds faded after a good start.

Exeter had the first chance of the second half but Demetri Mitchell headed a right-wing cross well wide of the right post.

Mitchell then smashed a shot against the right post for the improved hosts after a fine run with Vincent Harper unable to turn the rebound in.

Cole headed a Cadden corner wide then Styles scuffed a close-range shot straight straight to the goalkeeper after fine work by substitute John McAtee.

Substitute Sam Cosgrove could have won it late on but got very little power on a Barry Cotter cross after a good move involving Kane’s long ball and a fine Phillips pull-back.

McCart headed narrowly wide of the bottom left corner in the 89th minute from a Dodgson corner on the right.

But the winner came in the 90th minute when Dodgson crossed form the left and McAtee stooped to head into the bottom left corner.

Mitchell headed against the post for the hosts then McAtee fired wide after the goalkeeper had gone up for an attacking corner.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Roberts; Williams, de Gevigney, McCart; O’Keeffe (Cotter 65mins), Styles, Russell (Phillips 65), Kane, Cadden (Dodgson 81); Watters (McAtee 60), Cole (Cosgrove 81).

Unused: Killip, Shepherd.

Yellow cards: McCart, Styles.

Goals: McAtee 90.

Exeter (3-5-2): Sinisalo; Simson, Hartridge (Cox 90+3mins), Sweeney; Harper (Wildschut 71), Kite (Muskwe 90+3), Cole (Taylor 79), Jules, Mitchell, Scott, Aitchison (Trevitt 71).

Unused: Woods, Richards.

Yellow cards: Aitchison, Cole.

  • 3:03pm
    Bright start for the Reds. They have had a few throw ins deep in the home half
  • 3:05pm
    Exeter having a bit more of the ball now as the game settles down
  • 3:06pm
    Jamie McCart booked for taking out an Exeter player about 25 yards out
  • 3:07pm
    Exeter free-kick on left
  • 3:07pm
    7 Cole's free-kick is a shot and a few yards wide of the bottom left corner
  • 3:10pm
    Barnsley playing a flat midfield three today instead of Styles as number ten
  • 3:11pm
    Cole played through in the box, goes to ground under a challenge. Not given as a penalty. Then Watters shoots wide from 25 yards
  • 3:12pm
    Kane's cross from the right flies towards the top right corner but is clawed over
  • 3:13pm
    Kane corner headed up by Cole and caught by the goalkeeper
  • 3:13pm
    Kane corner headed up by Cole and caught by the goalkeeper
  • 3:13pm
    Now James Scott shoots over from about 25 yards. Deflected for a corner
  • 3:13pm
    Reece Cole's corner headed out by McCart
  • 3:15pm
    Styles bursts through to the edge of the box and slices horrible wide of the right post
  • 3:17pm
    Another Reds chance. Barnsley win the ball on the edge of the home box. Styles passes to Cole whose effort is scuffed and easily saved
  • 3:20pm
    Exeter losing the ball regularly with very risky play in their own box
  • 3:21pm
    Jordan Williams being tested a bit by the lively Demetri Mitchell but dealing with it well so far
  • 3:25pm
    Exeter free-kick headed out by Cadden
  • 3:25pm
    The game is pretty even at the moment but Barnsley have been the more threatening overall
  • 3:25pm
    Dangerous cross into the box cleared by McCart
  • 3:28pm
    A. good move by Barnsley on the right but O'Keeffe loses the ball. He then sprints back to block a shot from Mitchell on the counter attack
  • 3:29pm
    Another half chance for the Reds. Kane loops a pass into the box to Styles who tries to volley but slices it wide from about six yard
  • 3:33pm
    The pacy Mitchell goes through on the left after a long. Roberts comes out of his gaol and has to scramble back but eventually blocks the eventual cross and it is cleared
  • 3:34pm
    Another good move between Cole and Styles and then O'Keeffe's cross is overhit
  • 3:35pm
    Barnsley playing some good football but lacking the end product at the end of it
  • 3:37pm
    Roberts gets away with a big mistake. He slips in his box with Aitchison lurking. The goalkeeper gets something on the ball and it hits Aitchison then loops over
  • 3:38pm
    Exeter corner on the right. Played short, cross well over everyone
  • 3:40pm
    Exeter constantly looking to play long balls to Demetri Mitchell. He can't bring the latest high pass down though
  • 3:41pm
    Exeter long throw then another cross over hit
  • 3:42pm
    Exeter doing well now. A cross into the box from the right drops down but McCart clears
  • 3:44pm
    This has descended into a poor game. Both sides badly struggling with their passing.
  • 3:46pm
    Jack Aitchison booked for bringing down Mael
  • 3:47pm
    Callum Styles now booked for taking out Vincent Harper on the break after free-kick cleared
  • 3:48pm
    HALF-TIME: Exeter 0, Barnsley 0.
  • 4:05pm
  • 4:05pm
    McCart has to conceded a corner within seconds of the re start
  • 4:05pm
    Exeter try to play a low corner to the edge of the box but Cole clears
  • 4:06pm
    Barnsley started that first half well but really badly faded against their hosts who were also poor.
  • 4:06pm
    The Reds need to up their intensity with good players to bring on from the bench
  • 4:11pm
    The second half has started slowly like the first half ended
  • 4:14pm
    Could be time for change get soon. McAtee and Phillips warming up
  • 4:16pm
    Kane loses the ball on the edge of their box. Hartridge crosses and Mael puts it over
  • 4:16pm
    Exeter corner headed out by Mael de Givegney but the referee blows his whistle anyway
  • 4:18pm
    Chance for Exeter. A cross from the right and Mitchell heads over
  • 4:18pm
    McAtee coming on
  • 4:19pm
    McAtee on for Watters
  • 4:20pm
    Barnsley have offered very little after the break
  • 4:21pm
    So close for Exeter. Dangerman. Mitchell beats two men and shoots from just inside the box then sends a powerful shot onto the post. Harper makes a mess of rebound
  • 4:22pm
    Good response. Nice moves ends with Cadden short deflected wide
  • 4:22pm
    Caden corner cleared
  • 4:22pm
    Cadden's corner headed wide by Cole
  • 4:22pm
    Suddenly the game has livened up
  • 4:23pm
    Barnsley win another corner. They've been better since their post was rattled
  • 4:24pm
    Phillips on for Russell and Cotter on for O'Keeffe
  • 4:24pm
    Kane corner caught
  • 4:25pm
    Mael fine pass brilliantly brought down by Cotter but there is no. one in there for his low cross
  • 4:28pm
    Much better Barnsley. Cole runs in behind, passes to Phillips. who crosses for the advanced Williams but headed behind
  • 4:28pm
    Corner cleared
  • 4:28pm
    But Exeter make a mess of the. counter attack
  • 4:29pm
    Reece Cole booked for a. tackle on Williams
  • 4:29pm
    Exeter have brought on Yanic Wildschut and Ryan Trevitt
  • 4:29pm
    Harper and Aitchison on
  • 4:33pm
    Barnsley seem to have a second wind. After their. changes. They are on top but can they find a goal?
  • 4:36pm
    Chance for the Reds. Great footwork by McAtee and the ball runs through to Styles. about eight yards out but his shot is weak and easily caught by the goalkeeper
  • 4:38pm
    Exeter corner cleared then Scott shoots well over
  • 4:38pm
    Exeter bring on Kyle Taylor for Reece Cole
  • 4:39pm
    Cosgrove and Dodgson coming on
  • 4:40pm
    For Cadden and Cole
  • 4:41pm
    Cosgrove booed on after spending last season at Plymouth
  • 4:43pm
    Great move. Kane ball superbly into. Phillips pulls. it back, Cotter crosses and Cosgrove hits a weak close range shot which is easily saved
  • 4:44pm
    So many scuffed shots and crosses by the Reds today
  • 4:47pm
    Cotter wins a corner on the right
  • 4:47pm
    89 Right wing corner from Dodgson. Headed just wide by McCart
  • 4:48pm
    John McAtee nets in the 90th minute !
  • 4:53pm
    What a moment. Dodgson crosses from the left, stopping header into bottom corner. Reminded me a lot of Wycombe away earlier in the year. Similarly nuts reaction in the away end. Collins' changes have made the difference
  • 4:53pm
    Exeter make a few chances,. Can they respond?
  • 4:54pm
    Exeter hit the post again! Admiral Muskwe's header hits the bottom of the right post
  • 4:55pm
    Wow. Now McAtee misses a huge cache. But it doesn't matter. Game over
  • 4:55pm
    FULL-TIME: Exeter 0, Barnsley 1.