Barnsley missed a chance to collect a valuable three points as they squandered the lead in a 1-1 draw with Reading at Oakwell.
The Tykes sit at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table and are now on a run of one win in 20 league matches.
Off the field, a dispute involving former boss Daniel Stendel – now in charge of Hearts – has been an unwanted distraction this week, but Cauley Woodrow’s 58th-minute strike looked to have put Barnsley on the road to a big result in the club’s fight for second-tier survival.
However, Lucas Joao found the net 14 minutes from time to earn the visiting Royals a share of the spoils, with Mark Bowen’s men having struggled to create clear-cut chances up to that point.
Reading skipper Liam Moore – one of six survivors from the weekend defeat to Birmingham – invited unnecessary pressure on his own defence in the opening minutes, conceding a corner with a complete miskick on his own byline before failing to get enough purchase on a clearing header.
Jacob Brown then fired over from the centre of the box after the ball was squared to him by Jordan Williams as Barnsley, who made one change from the loss at Cardiff, looked to make an early breakthrough.
Reading’s threat was limited, but Barnsley continued to press and Mike Bahre should have done better when a quick counter-attacking move ended with Woodrow crossing to him in space, but his touch was too soft and Rafael Cabral was able to collect.
Alex Mowatt’s strike from outside the box whistled past the right-hand post after 17 minutes and Charlie Adam soon fancied his own chances from distance at the other end, testing goalkeeper Sami Radlinger with his first effort before firing a less convincing second off target.
The hosts had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the closing stages of the half when Bahre played a pass through the Reading defence only for Conor Chaplin to be denied by Cabral from close range, with the goalkeeper also collecting Brown’s follow-up effort from the edge of the box.
Jordan Obita blazed over from a promising position 10 minutes into the second half before Mowatt’s low drive was saved by Cabral.
Barnsley had the goal they were looking for two minutes short of the hour mark, when Michael Morrison gave away possession in a dangerous area and Woodrow capitalised to fire his side in front.
But it was not to be the winner, as Joao steered home from the centre of the box after Barnsley failed to clear a corner, and Cabral was equal to the home side’s efforts to rescue maximum points.