In a classic game of two halves Forest, having dominated the first half, had to be satisfied with a point after a good second half display by Barnsley.
Forest created several chances in the first half before taking the lead with another great goal by Garath McCleary
. Lee Camp
had nothing to do throughout the first 45 minutes as the home side struggled.
But Barnsley came out fighting at the start of the second half and their work paid off with an equalizer 11 minutes before time.
After a quiet start to the game Forest created the first chance when Marcus Tudgay squared the ball for Dexter Blackstock
to shoot, but his effort on goal was blocked by a good challenge and Luke Steele was able to gather the ball.
Another good effort saw Andy Reid
bend the ball round from the corner for Blackstock, but his header from the near post was wide of the target.
What chances there were continued to fall to Forest as Barnsley failed to create anything.
Another good corner in by Reid saw Steele only half punch the ball away and it came out to Adlene Guedioura
just outside the box but his effort was miles off target.
It was over half an hour before Barnsley created anything but, under pressure from Chris Gunter
, Scott Goldbourne headed over the bar.
Forest went in front on the break when Garath McCleary
made a great run forward, cut in and smashed the ball in off Jay McEveley and it went low into the back of the net.
The away side continued to put the pressure on when Blackstock flicked the ball over his shoulder to the far post where Tudgay rose high and headed it over the keeper, only for it to hit the top of the bar.
There was disbelief from the Forest players and bench when, just before stoppage time, Jonathan Greening
's shot was clearly blocked by a raised hand inside the penalty area, but the referee waived their claims away. Barnsley started the second half well with Korey Smith having his shot deflected off Scott Wootton
and then Matty Done threatened when he ran onto the ball and chipped it over Lee Camp
, but missed the target by some distance.
It was the 73rd minute before Forest tested Barnsley in the second half when McCleary's effort saw Steele produce a good save, diving down to his right to tip the ball round for a corner.
Barnsley finally got the goal they had been threatening with 11 minutes to go when Craig Davies picked up the ball, turned and ran forward smashing the ball low into the corner.
Soon after the goal Forest made their first substitution when Reid made way for Paul Anderson
As Forest tried to get straight back in front a cross from McCleary was picked up by Tudgay, but his effort looped up and into the arms of Steele.
Barnsley substitute Stephen Dawson was lucky to only get a yellow card when he brought Joel Lynch
Forest looked to defend their point and brought Greg Cunningham
on for Blackstock with three minutes to go and Lewis McGugan
came on for McCleary at the start of four minutes stoppage time.
Forest came close to getting a winner when Tudgay put a great ball in for Cunningham whose effort from a tight angle forced Steele to bash the ball high in the air and as it came down there were appeals for a penalty when Anderson was bundled over.Nottingham Forest:
Camp(C), Gunter, Wootton, Lynch, Elokobi, Greening, Guedioura, McCleary(McGugan 90min), Reid(Anderson 82min), Tudgay, Blackstock(Cunningham 87min)
Subs not used: Smith, Lascelles,
Bookings: Elokobi 41min, McCleary 69min,
Scorer: McCleary 33min
Barnsley:Steele, McEveley(Gray 56min), Foster, Wiseman, McNulty, Golbourne, Digby, Done, Smith(Dawson 75min), Tonge(Dagnall 65min), Davies
Subs not used: Preece, Cotterill,
Bookings: McEveley 19min, Dawson 85min
Scorer: Davies 79min
Referee: Darren Deadman
Attendance: 10,550 Away attn: 1,780