Report: Barnsley 2 Albion 1A tale of two second-half penalties condemned Albion to an agonising defeat at Barnsley.
Chris Dagnall’s spot-kick secured the points for the hosts as Albion’s Leonardo Ulloa saw his late penalty saved.
Jason Scotland had opened the scoring but Ulloa’s header temporarily restored parity before the penalty drama unfolded.
The relegation-threatened Tykes put in a spirited display but Albion will leave Oakwell feeling they should have come away with at least a point, as they were unable to make the most of their game in hand.
It was Albion who had a magnificent chance to take the lead within two minutes as the ball fell invitingly for Will Buckley just inside the box, but the winger’s powerful drive flashed wide.
Scotland then dragged a left footed shot wide from distance as both sides showed early attacking intent.
But Scotland soon pounced on a hesitation in Albion’s defence as Chris O’Grady’s header dropped in behind the backline, and the striker nipped in before steadying himself and firing low past Tomasz Kuszczak.
Both sides then created good openings within the space of a minute just before the half hour mark.
First, Stoke loanee Rory Delap’s cross was met by the lively Scotland at the back post, but the forward’s header was comfortable for Kuszczak.
Albion’s Polish international then rolled the ball out to launch the Seagulls on the counter attack, which culminated in Buckley bursting through the Barnsley defence, only for the winger to see his effort drag just wide of Luke Steele’s right post.
The Barnsley natives were then up in arms as they felt O’Grady was being held by Matthew Upson; referee Mark Haywood was not in agreement.
On the stroke of half-time, Jacob Mellis drove a free-kick at goal that deflected just wide as the hosts entered the tunnel a goal to the good.
Albion came out and forced successive early corners but it was David Perkins whose long-range effort forced Kuszczak to a smart save to his right.
David Lopez let fly with his own effort from distance that had Steele sprawling to his left to palm the strike behind.
Steele was again called into action immediately after when Buckley’s bustling run caused some confusion in the Tykes defence; the ball popped out into the path of Orlandi, only for the keeper to make an excellent stop with his body.
Poyet’s side were now on top and starting to play the type of flowing football that the Uruguayan’s side are known for, and on the hour mark they drew level.
Substitute Kazenga LuaLua rolled the ball back to Inigo Calderon who hammered a bullet cross into the box that Ulloa inventively finished with a powerful backwards header; the Argentinean’s sixth goal since joining in January.
Just as Albion looked poised to push on for a second, El-Abd was penalised for a tug on Dagnall in the box which also rules him out of Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace.
Dagnall stepped up and squeezed his penalty past Kuszczak into the bottom corner, and Albion had it all to do once more.
LuaLua came close to restoring parity with a trademark powerful strike after cutting inside onto his right foot, but Steele once again did well to get down low and get behind the shot.
The Congolese winger was finding plenty of joy down the left and this time turned provider as he fizzed the ball across goal but Liam Bridcutt was unable to keep his first time effort down.
With 15 minutes left on the clock Andrew Crofts flicked a header wide before LuaLua flashed another effort just wide with a thunderous drive.
With time ebbing away development squad striker George Barker played in Calderon, who was tugged back, and once again Haywood pointed to the spot.
However with David off the pitch, penalty duties were left to Ulloa, but Steele beat the striker's drilled penalty away.
Orlandi’s tempting cross was flicked wide by Barker deep into injury time and with that went Albion’s hopes of rescuing a point.