Southend were unable to make their man advantage count as the 10-men of Barnsley won 3-0 at Roots Hall with goals from Cameron McGeehan, Cauley Woodrow and Jordan Green.
In a quiet opening to the game, Barnsley had the better of the chances, but the game was swung in Blues’ favour when Jacob Brown was shown a straight red card for a foul on Sam Mantom.
Despite the man disadvantage, Barnsley came out firing after the interval and took the lead when McGeehan fizzed a half-volley in at the near post to open the scoring.
Southend’s attacking play quickened as they went in search of an equaliser, but the Tykes would double their lead when Michael Klass lost the ball allowing Woodrow to fire in a second.
Blues had no answer to Daniel Stendel’s side who made it 3-0 in stoppage time as Barnsley broke forward, with McGeehan's shot initially saved before Jordan Green tapped in the rebound.
The victory increased Barnsley's unbeaten run to 15-games in the league as they go in search of an immediate return to the Championship, while Southend are without a win in their last seven ahead of next weekend’s trip to Blackpool.
There was to be no repeat of the miracle comeback seen by the Sky Sports cameras a fortnight ago against Portsmouth with Sky again in attendance as Barnsley came looking for a hat-trick of victories against Southend this season in all competitions.
Chris Powell made just the one change following last weekend’s draw against Accrington, with Stephen Humphrys missing out with numerous facial injuries, being replaced by Michael Kightly as Blues set up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Simon Cox, a hat-trick hero last time Blues were at home, had the game’s opening chance when he was played in down the right by Michael Kightly. With the angle narrowing though, Cox could only fire the ball straight at Adam Davies who comfortably held.
Barnsley themselves had an even better chance moments later when Jacob Brown’s low cross into the penalty area found the run of Mamadou Thiam, but the midfielder should have done better with his half-volley which went high and wide over the crossbar.
The visitors continued to have the better of the chances as the half wore on with Thiam curling the ball just wide from distance before Cauley Woodrow saw his shot from inside the area held by Nathan Bishop after being picked out by Dimitri Cavare.
Blues were having to live off scraps and were almost given a helping hand when Stephen McLaughlin fired the ball into the area and Liam Lindsey was close to turning the ball into his own net with an aimless swing of the leg.
The momentum of the match completely swung in Southend’s favour though when Barnsley were reduced to 10 men just before the break. A studs-up challenge from Jacob Brown on Sam Mantom in the centre circle saw referee Kevin Johnson showing little hesitation in showing a straight red.
And Blues had a good opportunity in first-half stoppage time to break the deadlock when Kightly cut onto his left foot and curled an effort on target. Ethan Pinnock stuck a leg out to block the ball as Southend tried bundling the ball in before it was cleared to keep the score goalless.
Despite the man disadvantage, Barnsley came out of the blocks quickly after the break and went close to opening the scoring in front of their travelling fans when Alex Mowatt’s corner was flicked on target by Lindsay before Timothee Dieng hacked the ball clear at the far post.
But the Tykes would get the breakthrough a minute later through Cameron McGeehan. There was a touch of fortune about the goal as the ball fell kindly after bouncing off the midfielder’s back, but there was no luck about the finish as he rifled the ball in at Bishop’s near-post on the half-volley.
Blues were struggling to make their numerical advantage count while Barnsley, with all the confidence a 14-game unbeaten run brings, kept pressing forward, going close once again when Mowatt’s curling effort just went wide of the woodwork.
With half an hour remaining, Chris Powell threw on Harry Bunn and Charlie Kelman. Instantly the home side’s intensity picked up and Kelman had a good chance to level, chesting down McLaughlin’s cross only for Davies to spring across and palm the ball clear before the youngster could strike.
Barnsley though would go an increase their advantage as they capitalised on a poor touch from Michael Klass. Mike Bahre stole the ball from the Blues midfielder, slipping in Woodrow who struck first time across the face of Bishop to double the away side’s lead.
And in stoppage time, the visitors would rub salt in the wound as they made it 3-0 on the counter-attack. McGeehan's initial effort was saved by the sprawing Bishop but substitute Jordan Green was on hand the tap the ball into the empty net.
The win helps Barnsley keep the pressure on Luton at the top of the table and extended their unbeaten league run to 15-games while Southend remained seven points clear of the relegation zone ahead of the 3 o’clock kick-offs and without a win in seven.
Blues XI: Bishop, Bwomono, Turner, Kightly (Bunn 62’), Dieng, Cox, McLaughlin (Yearwood 88’), Mantom (C) (Kelman 62’), Klass, Moore, Hart. Subs Not Used: Smith, Hyam, Kiernan, Lennon
Barnsley XI: Davies (C), Dougall (Green 75’), Pinnock, Lindsay, McGeehan, Woodrow (Jackson 90’), Cavare, Pinillos, Thiam (Bahre 67’), Mowatt, Brown. Subs Not Used: Walton, Hedges, Williams, Adeboyejo
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Carl Fitch-Jackson & Abbas Khan
Fourth Official: Charles Breakspear
Southend United: None
Barnsley: Cameron Mcgeehan 50’, Cauley Woodrow 73’, Jordan Green 90+3'
Southend United: None
Barnsley: Liam Lindsey 57’
Southend United: None
Barnsley: Jacob Brown 35’
Attendance: 6,217 (475 Away)