Reading travelled to Oakwell on a nine game unbeaten run, and extended this to ten with a clinical second half performance that wielded them four goals.
The visitors made two changes to the side that drew with Doncaster, with Jimmy Kebe and new signing Hayden Mullins coming in for Hal Robson Kanu and Shaun Cummings.
The game started with Reading the more lively of the two teams, as Noel Hunt nearly scored a one on one early on. Kebe was the next to go close as he was put in behind Barnsley’s back line but impressive goalkeeper Luke Steele was able to get out in time and stop the winger from putting Reading ahead.
At the other end Frank Nouble saw a good header go just wide but Danny Rose couldn’t find the target as he fired well wide from a long range. However Reading were a problem for Barnsley’s defence all day and they made Barnsley defend hard, with only Steele keeping Barnsley level at the break. The keeper denied Mikele Leigertwood twice, first with a good strike from around 25 yards and the other from a corner, both of which were saved well.
However it was still level at half time despite all the Reading chances and it looked as if it could go the same way as Doncaster, with Reading unable to get the ball into the back of the net.
The second half started much as the first had ended, with Reading much the better team and they made this count by going 1-0 up. Jason Roberts got the ball on the right and got into good space to play the ball into the area. Jobi McAnuff got on the end of this cross and stroked the ball into the bottom corner as he beat his own man Jem Karacan to the ball to get his Captain’s goal.
Soon after this goal it was 2-0. This time McAnuff was the creator as he headed across the six yard box and the ball fell kindly to Karacan, who smashed the ball past a helpless Steele. Karacan soon added another to make sure Reading were going back to Berkshire with all three points. He picked the ball up around 25 yards out and smashed an unbeatable shot into the top right hand corner.
The game started to peter out as Reading maintained their lead at a canter. Roberts had two good chances as he prodded just wide of the post and sidefooted another effort just past the post. However, he was soon on the scoresheet as he beat his man, ran into the box and placed the ball beyond the onrushing Steele.
At times during the game Reading were going top of the league and if you had asked me if we could do that all those weeks ago at the start of the season, I’d have laughed in your face. But it just goes to show the talent and the unity that exists in the squad. Two games will seemingly make or break our season, when we face West Ham and Southampton away. These are two massive games that we have to win, but until then we will have to win the rest of the games, starting with Peterborough on Tuesday night.