Reading and Barnsley played out an entertaining and goal-laden 2-2 at Oakwell in a match impacting both ends of the League One table.

Sam Smith and Lewis Wing netted in each half for Barnsley, with Adam Phillips and Fabio Jalo twice pegging the Royals back.

Set on a backdrop of frustration and nervousness, it was Reading who looked the more likely play-off challengers than their hosts in the first half. Liam Roberts was a lucky man on the 15-minute mark when his pass was intercepted by Femi Azeez to leave the winger in the clear, only for Azeez to miscontrol the pass and knock it out for goal kick.

Unable to deal with the high press, Paul Mukairu received the ball in a dangerous position but could only find Roberts and not the back of the net shortly after. The Tykes had chances, as you would expect, and they should have been in front on 25 minutes when a low ball was cut back into the Royals’ box, only for Nicky Cadden and Phillips to send efforts wide.

Within seconds, Reading are up the other end and do convert their chance, Smith flicking Azeez’s corner past Roberts from the front post. Both sides had sights of goal but it was the hosts who drew level on the half-hour mark, Phillips heading past Joel Pereira at the back post after some quick counter-attacking work. It should have been Reading leading into the break, but Mukairu had a second strong effort go begging as Roberts was kept busy between the posts. Clinton Mola was again almost an unlikely source of goal, connecting with Lewis Wing’s corner but seeing his header tipped wide.

David Button entered the fray at half-time, after Devante Cole had caught Pereira in the first-half, and was called into action consistently as a more dangerous Barnsley side emerged. Stronger at recycling possession, Neill Collins’ men forced Reading to largely play on the counter-attack, with both sides missing efforts to go in front.

Cole should have flicked his team ahead within 10 minutes, back-heeling Fabio Jalo’s scuffed attempt. Corey O’Keeffe forced a strong block out of Amadou Mbengue in the following moments as Barnsley turned the screw. Smith saw a chance for his brace go agonisingly wide with 25 minutes remaining from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan’s strong run and cut-back from the byline.

Looking set to ebb out to a two-goal affair, the final 20 minutes was a truly captivating affair impacting both ends of the table. Wing stepped up with 10 minutes remaining and thundered home a trademark piledriver to put the Royals back ahead, but with celebrations still underway in the away end, Jalo an equaliser from a long throw to draw the sides level again.

Substitute Jalo hit the post within another 60 seconds and the 12,000 in attendance were trying to catch their breath. Phillips nearly volleyed home his brace after the ball dropped to the edge of the box from a corner and the action went on with seven additional minutes.

Barring a 22-goal swing in the final two matches, Reading have all-but confirmed their third tier status for another season despite off-field issues marring the campaign.