It was a story of missed chances and late disappointment for Nottingham Forest as they were beaten 2-0 by Barnsley at Oakwell.
Forest had ample opportunities to break their poor run at the home of The Tykes but having spurned them all, they were made to pay by late goals from Callum Styles and Cauley Woodrow as their return to action after the international break ended in disappointment.
Chris Hughton made two changes to the side that beat Wycombe Wanderers before the international break as Ryan Yates replaced the injured Samba Sow in midfield while Joe Lolley took a place on the wing ahead of Sammy Ameobi who dropped to the bench.
The Reds couldn't boast a particularly strong record at Oakwell having not won there since 2016 and they could have been behind inside 12 minutes. Woodrow, who was left in acres of space, curled a terrific effort up and over Brice Samba but it cannoned back off the crossbar and Forest were able to clear the ball to safety.
Forest were giving Barnsley far too much space on the edge of their own penalty area and they were thankful to the woodwork for saving them once again. Conor Chaplin found a few yards on the corner of the Forest box and a curled an effort towards the far corner but it bounced back off the crossbar as the game somehow remained goalless.
It had been a better start from the home side but Forest had a golden opportunity to take the lead on 18 minutes. Michal Helik's weak header back to goalkeeper Jack Walton was never going to get there and although Miguel Guerrero pounced on the ball, he dragged his strike across goal and Walton was able to make the save with his legs.
That effort seemed to breathe life into Forest's performance and they were unfortunate not to be in front two minutes later. A superb left-wing delivery from Anthony Knockaert found the onrushing Joe Lolley at the far post but his powerful first-time strike was blocked on the line by Walton and Barnsley saw the ball behind for a corner.
It was a thoroughly entertaining game at Oakwell and suddenly Forest were firmly in the ascendancy. An outstanding crossfield ball from Lyle Taylor set Lolley and Guerrero through on a 2-on-1 situation inside the Barnsley half but having received a square pass from Lolley, Guerrero's shot was weak and Walton made a comfortable low save as the first half ended goalless.
For all Forest's dominance at the end of the first half, they could easily have been behind in the opening four minutes of the second. Chaplin played a wonderful reverse pass behind Cyrus Christie in the path of Styles but his cross was headed wide by Dominik Frieser from close range and The Reds were able to breathe again.
Opportunities were coming thick and fast for both teams and another one came Forest's way on 59 minutes. Knockaert laid the ball back for Christie to cross in from the right, his delivery found a powerful header from Taylor but Walton was able to dive across and get two hands to the ball to push it away from danger as the deadlock remained.
Former Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane was introduced on 62 minutes to replace Matty James and he almost made an instant impact. His first touch of the ball saw him curl a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and inches wide of Samba's goal although the Forest number one seemed to have the situation under control.
It was third time lucky for Forest as they were saved by the crossbar once again with 20 minutes to go. Some smart build-up play from the hosts saw the ball played into Woodrow inside the penalty area and although the former Fulham man smashed the ball beyond Samba, it crashed off the woodwork, bounced down onto the line and Forest got back to clear the ball to safety.
On a ground where they suffered late heartbreak last season, so it happened to The Reds once again. The ball from the byline was pulled back to Styles 25 yards from goal and he hammered a superb strike beyond Samba into the top corner of the net to leave the home players, staff and officials jubilant.
The opening goal had rocked Forest and no sooner had they recovered from that setback and they were 2-0 down. Excellent right-wing play from Callum Brittain saw him escape the attentions of Yuri Ribeiro, he pulled the ball back for Woodrow and he tucked the ball into the far corner of the net giving Samba no chance.
Forest: Samba; Christie, Figueiredo, McKenna, Ribeiro; Lolley, Colback (c), Yates, Knockaert; Guerrero (Freeman 73'), Taylor
Subs not used: Smith, Mbe Soh, Ameobi, Bong, Jenkinson, Cafu, Arter, Ioannou
Booking: Samba 85'
Barnsley: Walton; Sollbauer, Helik, Andersen; Brittain (J.Williams 90'), James (Kane 62'), Mowatt (c) (Oduor 82'), Styles, Frieser (Thomas 62'); Woodrow, Chaplin (Adeboyejo 81')
Subs not used: Collins, Palmer, Schmidt, Miller
Goals: Styles 85', Woodrow 88'
Referee: Andy Woolmer