Match ends, Middlesbrough 3, Barnsley 1.
Patrick Bamford continued his prolific scoring form as promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough beat struggling Barnsley.
Forward Bamford made it eight goals in five games by forcing home after keeper Nick Townsend failed to reach a corner.
Boro were already 2-0 ahead at that point, with Daniel Ayala scoring inside the first minute and Adama Traore cutting inside to fire home.
Kieffer Moore nodded home a consolation after Bamford's goal but Barnsley have only won twice in 21 league games.
They remain two points and one place above the Championship relegation places, with Boro still sixth after their third successive victory, but below Derby County on goal difference only.
Tony Pulis unsurprisingly named an unchanged side after Bamford, Mo Besic and George Friend were passed fit, while opposite number Jose Morais made five changes.
Barnsley had never kept a clean sheet at the Riverside and their chances of doing so in this game disappeared immediately as Ryan Shotton's cross found Ayala and the centre-back made no mistake.
Traore's solo effort enabled Boro to cruise through the first half, with Barnsley failing to produce a single shot on target, and Bamford's close-range effort after the break left the visitors with too much to do in their fourth away game in a row.
Moore pulled one back and he then headed against a post from Stevie Mallan's corner after Traore had streaked clear at the other end moments earlier, only to be denied by Townsend's one-on-one save.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis:
"In the first half we did very well, passed it well, played through the pitch and put lots of crosses in. The one disappointment was that we never scored more goals.
"The third goal should have truthfully killed it but we took our foot off the pedal and that's one of the things we've been talking about. You can't do that at any level.
"The challenge is to stay in there now. As I've said, we can work all week but once they cross that line they take responsibility and it's up to the players. A lot of things are said about managers and coaches... but they have to take responsibility. In the next nine games we'll see."
Barnsley head coach Jose Morais:
"We knew it was a difficult opponent, with quality players. We were aware of situations that could happen in the game and for some reason we didn't control it in a good way in the beginning and I believe in the first half we had problems to keep our organisation.
"This has happened in some games, we wanted to correct it and we couldn't. I wasn't impressed with the second half, I was surprised with the first half. I believed the team can do what they did in the second half.
"I'm aware of what we need to do to be in a better position. We have played four games away, we knew this was against Middlesbrough, a good team with good players, a team that has been improving."
- 27BesicSubstituted forBakerat 66'minutes
- 11BamfordSubstituted forAssombalongaat 90+1'minutes
- 19DowningSubstituted forCranieat 83'minutes
- 4WilliamsSubstituted forMallanat 75'minutes
- 34HedgesSubstituted forThiamat 45'minutes
- 33KnasmüllnerSubstituted forIsgroveat 61'minutes
- 22GardnerBooked at 5mins
- Andy Davies
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 3, Barnsley 1.
Oliver McBurnie (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ryan Shotton (Middlesbrough).
Attempt missed. Mamadou Thiam (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Stephen Mallan.
Attempt blocked. Oliver McBurnie (Barnsley) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Stephen Mallan.
Kieffer Moore (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Britt Assombalonga replaces Patrick Bamford.
Attempt blocked. Kieffer Moore (Barnsley) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Stephen Mallan with a cross.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by George Friend.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Adama Traoré.
Attempt blocked. Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Baker.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Martin Cranie replaces Stewart Downing.
Foul by Gary Gardner (Barnsley).
Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Gary Gardner (Barnsley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.
Kieffer Moore (Barnsley) hits the right post with a header from the right side of the six yard box. Assisted by Stephen Mallan with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Daniel Ayala.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Ben Gibson.