Reading moved above Barnsley in the Championship table with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday.
Reading went two goals in front inside the opening half-hour through a Dave Edwards header and long-range effort from Joey van den Berg.
Barnsley rallied after the interval but their challenge ended when substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson headed home two minutes from time.
Reading had not won in three matches and had secured only two victories in nine home league games this season.
Barnsley boasted a four-match unbeaten run on the road but had lost their past two fixtures -- both at home -- to Cardiff and Leeds.
They sat level on 20 points with Reading but above them due to a marginal advantage on goal difference.
Reading manager Jaap Stam named an unchanged line-up for the first time this season and his side made the stronger opening.
Mo Barrow crossed from the left and Barnsley captain Angus MacDonald, a former Reading youth player, cleared the danger with a diving header.
From the resultant corner, Sone Aluko drove wildly over after finding space on the edge of the Barnsley area.
Another dangerous cross from Barrow was hacked to safety, Liam Kelly had a well-struck shot blocked and then Barrow wasted a promising move with a poor centre.
Reading were eventually rewarded for their attacking intent when they went ahead in the 20th minute.
Kelly swung in a corner from the left and Edwards rose unmarked at the near post to nod in his second goal of the season.
Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies tried to keep the ball out but it had already crossed the line.
Nine minutes later, Reading increased their lead after a fine solo run from midfielder Van Den Berg.
He unleashed a superb 25-yard drive that flew past Davies into the top of the net for his first goal of the campaign.
Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom made a triple substitution at half time, bringing on leading scorer Tom Bradshaw, Matty Pearson and Mamadou Thiam.
It had an initial effect, with Barnsley creating a spell of pressure not seen in the first half, but it came to nothing.
Reading began to find space on the break, in front of their lowest league crowd of the season of 13,317, and Aluko went close to making it 3-0 from a Barrow pass.
Defender Liam Moore also hit a post from 20 yards as Barnsley's attempted comeback -- though Harvey Barnes did strike an upright late on -- eventually petered out.
Bodvarsson then secured the victory when stooping to nod in the rebound after Davies had tipped an Adrian Popa shot onto the crossbar.