Reading surrendered a lead again to lose 3-1 at home to play-off chasing Barnsley to end a two-match winning streak.

Harvey Knibbs had given the Royals the lead within four minutes in an end-to-end encounter. Herbie Kane levelled before the break from the penalty spot before Devante Cole and Max Watters scored twice in the final 10 minutes to keep chase with the play-off pack.

In front of a bumper crowd, it was the hosts who came out of the traps fastest. Responding well to an early break in play due to some rogue tennis balls, Andy Yiadom drove at the Barnsley defence and won a free kick inside three minutes. A simple knock into the box was flicked on by Tyler Bindon and Knibbs was there to redivert into the back of the net with a simple headed finish. It took 10 minutes for the play-off chasers to have their first sight on goal, but Sam Cosgrove fired his effort well over the bar.

Bindon nearly got a goal himself on 15 minutes, flicking a header onto the post from a well-delivered free kick on the opposite side of the pitch to the goal. As has become the norm, the 16th minute was met with a barrage of balls on the pitch in protest against owner Dai Yongge, and a three-minute stoppage while the objects were cleared. The Tykes responded well from the latest break and started to twist the screw.

Cole sent a devilish shot into the box and the ball nearly found its way into the net courtesy of some wicked deflections, dropping just wide for a corner ultimately. As it looked as though the scrappy affair was drifting toward a narrow lead at the break, Bindon’s hand got in the way of Sam Smith’s headed clearance in the box and referee Ollie Yates pointed to the spot. Kane confidently stepped up and fired the ball into the top corner to restore parity in Berkshire.

Reading were on top for the final knockings, including eight added minutes, and Smith forced the Barnsley defence into a rushed clearance after getting onto the end of Yiadom’s clever pass.

Reading had a great chance to restore their lead within a minute of the restart as Azeez won the ball high and drilled a cross through the penalty area, but Knibbs’ deft flick fell the wrong side of the post. The visitors had much more of the play in the second half and looked more threatening than the Royals did for the most part. Cosgrove and Cole caused issues in a swift counter that required bodies to be thrown in the front of shots in an all-action period.

If anyone was going to unlock the defence of Barnsley, it was going to be Azeez and the winger forced Ben Kilip into a smart save on the hour mark, forcing him to parry the effort back into danger before being cleared for a corner. Continuing in a back-and-forth manner into the final knockings, it always felt like there was to be a winner.

With 10 minutes remaining a simple ball through the middle was chested down on the edge of the box and Cole slammed his 13th goal of the season ferociously past David Button to put the visitors ahead for the first time. Watters made sure of the Barnsley win by sweeping home Fabio Jalo’s curled cross three minutes from full time.

Now joint bottom of League One, and five points adrift of safety, promotion-chasing Oxford United visit the SCL Stadium on Tuesday for the first Thames Valley Derby for 20 years.