Match ends, Watford 1, Barnsley 0.
Troy Deeney's first-half penalty was enough for Watford to beat Barnsley and move up to third in the Championship.
Referee Tim Robinson pointed to the spot when Deeney prodded the ball on to the raised arm of Tykes defender Callum Brittain and though keeper Jack Walton got a strong hand to the powerful kick he could not prevent it going in.
Watford had a second goal disallowed for offside when the recalled Andre Gray tucked away a rebound after Will Hughes hit the post from 25 yards, but the visitors looked the better side for periods without creating too much.
The closest Valerien Ismael's side came to an equaliser was through Watford's Francisco Sierralta, who would have scored an own goal had it not been for Daniel Bachmann's fine stop, and defeat was Barnsley's third in a row.
Xisco Munoz's Hornets have won all three games at Vicarage Road since he took charge and are now three points behind second-placed Swansea, while Barnsley remain 10th.
The visitors had a strong appeal for a penalty of their own deep in stoppage time after Cauley Woodrow went down under a challenge from Craig Cathcart, leaving the Tykes frustrated on the final whistle.
Woodrow nodded a Conor Chaplin cross over in the first half and Callum Styles skewed wide after the break, with Watford keeper Bachmann's only save coming from his own centre-back.
William Troost-Ekong flicked a fine cross wide from close range late on as Watford looked for a second but despite that miss they have now won 32 points at home this season, seven more than any other side in the division.
Watford boss Xisco Munoz told BBC Three Counties Radio:
"I'm very happy because in front of us we had a difficult team. For me it was a good performance.
"We need to understand we need to improve more and work harder - it doesn't matter what happens now with the table.
"Every time we have the chance Troy [Deeney] is a special man for me - he's also helped me in the dressing room because he is the big story here - it's important I have a good relationship with him because he's a special man and every time he gives 200% for the team."
Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"The guys played very well, we can take pride from their performance. We stayed in the game until the end and we made it a tight fight.
"It was another strange penalty decision - we have to accept these but last week against Swansea it was a similar situation for us.
"I think we are comfortable where we are but we need more points. Our target is 50 points as quick as possible and we have to start winning now."
- 5Troost-EkongSubstituted forCathcartat 82'minutes
- 23SarrBooked at 90mins
- 8CleverleySubstituted forChalobahat 71'minutes
- 12SemaSubstituted forZinckernagelat 62'minutes
- 9DeeneySubstituted forJoão Pedroat 62'minutes
- 18GraySubstituted forNgakiaat 82'minutes
- 10João Pedro
- 26SollbauerBooked at 90mins
- 21PalmerSubstituted forKaneat 69'minutes
- 4StylesSubstituted forSibbickat 89'minutes
- 29AdeboyejoSubstituted forFrieserat 57'minutes
- 11ChaplinSubstituted forMorrisat 57'minutes
- Tim Robinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 1, Barnsley 0.
Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley).
Ismaila Sarr (Watford) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Ismaila Sarr (Watford).
Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Michael Sollbauer.
Michael Sollbauer (Barnsley) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Philip Zinckernagel (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Michael Sollbauer (Barnsley).
Substitution, Barnsley. Toby Peter Sibbick replaces Callum Styles.
Offside, Watford. Philip Zinckernagel tries a through ball, but João Pedro is caught offside.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Nathaniel Chalobah.
Foul by Francisco Sierralta (Watford).
Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Watford. Jeremy Ngakia replaces Andre Gray.
Substitution, Watford. Craig Cathcart replaces William Troost-Ekong.
Attempt missed. William Troost-Ekong (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Philip Zinckernagel with a cross following a corner.
Attempt blocked. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.