Tranmere Rovers' FA Cup journey ended in the third round with a 2-0 loss at Championship Play-Off hopefuls Barnsley.
The Tykes scored midway through the second half and added a second from the penalty spot late into added time, but Rovers went toe to toe with the team placed two leagues higher, and created a number of goal scoring opportunities in Yorkshire.
Tranmere handed a first start of the season for centre back George Ray, whilst Lee O'Connor, Manny Monthe and Otis Khan returned to the starting eleven.
It was a tight affair in the opening 15 minutes with the ball mainly contested in the middle of the pitch, with Barnsley seeing more of possession but Rovers showing signs they can get behind the Championship defence.
The first goal scoring opportunity presented itself through former Portsmouth man, Conor Chaplin, as he picked up a stray Tranmere pass to drive an effort wide of the left hand post.
However, it was Rovers who had the best goal scoring opportunity in the early exchanges at Oakwell. A deep free kick from returning Barnsley man, Khan, picked out an unmarked Kaiyne Woolery, who had cleverly stepped away from his marker, but his header was tame and resulted in an easy collection for Brad Collins.
A clever team move from Barnsley created an opening on the left hand side, after some quick one touch passes, but a combination of a block from a Rovers defender and Scott Davies prevented the hosts from going ahead.
Cauley Woodrow put a header wide in the 35th minute, after Tranmere handed possession to the hosts on the half way mark, as Barnsley began to sustain some pressure, but Rovers still looked a threat on the counter.
Rovers were so close to taking the lead in the dying embers of the first half, a big opportunity as Woolery left Mads Anderson behind with his blistering pace to put in a cross for James Vaughan, but his shot was well saved by the goalkeeper.
A great goalscoring opportunty started the second period for Rovers as Paul Lewis picked out Woolery's run on the right. Driving into the penalty box, the winger hit a low ball but it evaded the strike force of Vaughan and Morgan Ferrier.
A nice team move saw Barnsley take the lead on the hour mark as Michal Helnik headed home after a corner routine.
Rovers made their first change a few minutes later, as Corey Blackett-Taylor came on to replace Ferrier.
An equaliser nearly followed for the visitors, as a free-kick was yet again met by Woolery at the back post but our number 14 hit over the cross bar.
A second change saw academy graduate Jake Burton come on for Liam Ridehalgh, with the latter sustaining an injury. It resulted in a change of formation too, with Burton a striker as TRFC went three at the back in an attempt to get back into the tie in Yorkshire.
The third change saw Khan come off for Kieron Morris as Rovers continued to find an equaliser with just 11 minutes to go.
Tranmere had a couple of late chances but Barnsley were awarded a spot kick in added time, which was converted by Woodrow as the score finished 2-0 to the Championship side.
The next match for Rovers is at home to Wednesday evening in the Papa John's Trophy against Leicester City U21s. The game is available to watch on iFollow for just £10 by CLICKING HERE.
Tranmere: Davies, O'Connor, Ray, Monthe, Ridehalgh (Burton 75), Spearing, Lewis, Khan (Morris 79), Woolery, Ferrier (Blackett-Taylor 66), Vaughan. Unused subs: Murphy, Ellis, Hayde, Nugent, Banks.
The match report is sponsored by MAIN.