However, having led for much of the match, Portsmouth collapsed after Barnsley struck three times in a breathless 10 minutes, mid-way through the second half.
"I don't like folding, I don't like indiscipline and I don't like not pulling punches," a disappointed Pompey manager, Alan Ball, said. "For an hour I thought they were terrific, but then we saw competent people all of a sudden doing ridiculous things. No manager in the world can explain that."
Fund-raisers selling blue noses had patrolled the streets outside the ground before the match and the defences of both sides were keen to join in with the charitable spirit. First it was the turn of Barnsley's goalkeeper, Tony Bullock, who stood motionless as Portsmouth's John Durnin raced onto a hopeful long ball to divert the ball into an empty net after 12 minutes.
Then in the second half the Pompey captain, Adrian Whitbread, diverted across from Mike Sheron past Alan Knight in his own goal to gift Barnsley the lead.
Whatever the Barnsley manager, John Hendrie, had to say about his goalkeeper's mistake at half-time, it obviously rubbed off on the rest of his team. In the 65th minute, Craig Hignett found space to drill a low shot inside Knight's near post to equalise.
That prompted a Pompey collapse, as first Whitbread's own goal and then a magnificent dipping 25-yarder from Bruce Dyer killed the game in Barnsley's favour. It was just reward for Dyer, who could easily have added to his side's total.
For Portsmouth, the struggle to survive goes on. "We were playing a team worth an absolute fortune today, a team worth about pounds 6m or pounds 7m. Look at it that way," Ball concluded in his side's defence. In those terms alone yesterday, the gulf between the sides was great.
Goals: Durnin (12) 1-0; Hignett (65) 1-1; Whitbread og (69) 1-2; Dyer (75) 1-3.
Portsmouth (4-4-2): Knight; Robinson, Simpson, Whitbread, Awford; McLoughlin, Miglioranzi, Teron, Igoe; Claridge, Durnin (Thogersen, 72). Substitutes not used: Nightingale, Tardif (gk).
Barnsley (4-4-2): T Bullock; Eaden, De Zeeuw, Moses, Appleby; Richardson (Blackmore, 83), Van der Laan (M Bullock, 57), Hignett, Jones; Sheron, Dyer. Substitute not used: Hristov.
Referee: M R Halsey (Hertfordshire). Bookings: Barnsley: Hignett.
Man of the match: Dyer.
Attendance: 13,367.Reuse content