Barnsley slipped to their third successive defeat in a week, this time at Jaap Stam’s Reading.
David Edwards, Joey van den Berg and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson bagged the goals as Paul Heckingbottom’s Reds dipped again.
Heckingbottom’s side have failed to score in those three games, despite having two strikers on the pitch for large parts.
There was an enforced change as the suspended Adam Hammill made way for defensive midfielder Gary Gardner.
The Reds went behind after 20 minutes.
Wales’ international Dave Edwards did well to lose his marker as he flicked home Liam Kelly’s corner at the near post.
The hosts hit their second just nine minutes after the opener.
There was nothing Adam Davies could do as he was well beaten by van den Berg’s 30-yard belter.
The Reds almost hit back in fortunate fashion straight after the restart as Zeki Fryers’ cross took a deflection wide off a defender.
Everton loanee Harvey Barnes has already shown his quality wfrom range, but Vito Mannone comfortably saved his audacious effort just before the break.
Heckingbottom reverted to a 4-4-2 after the restart as he tried to get something out of the game with a treble substitution.
Captain Angus MacDonald, Gardner and strike Ike Ugbo made way for Matty Pearson, Tom Bradshaw and Mamadou Thiam.
And the Reds looked better going forward after the switch-up, yet failed to work Mannone.
Thiam also fired off target after some great work with Barnes.
With 15 minutes left, Potts gave Mannone something to think about as he was forced in to a good, low stop.
Down the other end it could have been three as the Reds were caught with Liam Moore smashing against the post.
As the Reds pushed to get back in to the game Barnes hit the post himself, the ball cannoned off Mannone’s back and was then painfully cleared off the line.
But minutes later it was three after Davies palmed Adrian Popa’s strike on to the bar, only for Bodvarsson to head in to the empty net.
Reading: Mannone, Bacuna, McShane, Moore, Gunter, van den Berg, Aluko (Popa, 68), Edwards, Kelly (Ilori, 81), Barrow, Kermorgant (Bodvarsson, 56).
Subs not used: Jaakkola, Blackett, Clement, Beerens.
Barnsley: Davies, Yiadom, MacDonald (Pearson, 45), Lindsay, Fryers, Williams, Gardner (Bradshaw, 45), Moncur, Potts, Ugbo (Thiam, 45), Barnes.
Subs not used: Townsend, McCarthy, McGeehan, Hedges.
Reds Star Man: Zeki Fryers
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)