Mick McCarthy's grumpiness following this laboured victory begs the thought of how much his weekends are ruined when Wolverhampton Wanderers do not win.
The manager was in an obvious strop at full-time as he threw his top to the ground and rushed off, flinging out a dismissive arm in the direction of fans whose nervousness had seeped through to the players. Clearly, he felt more could have been done to help a team who lost their way alarmingly but who should have won hands-down by half-time.
His admission to being "frustrated at everything and everyone" stopped short of an attack on supporters, although he hinted at the root of his displeasure by saying the groans from the stands helped no-one.
And the striker Freddy Eastwood revealed: "The fans didn't like us playing the ball backwards and out to the corners and the manager made it pretty obvious he wasn't very happy about their reaction, the boos and moans. We were trying to take the sting out of the game and protect our lead. Although it's not very exciting, it's sometimes what you need to do."
Eastwood, having had his own clear-the-air meeting with the manager a week ago amid dissatisfaction at his fringe role, appeared to represent one problem solved.
Against a Barnsley side who threatened only in the latter stages, he saw one effort arrow just wide, another well saved by the keeper and a header hit the post in the first-half attack in which Neill Collins thumped the rebound against the same upright.
Despite having netted the latest of his five club and country goals this season as far back as August, the Welshman will surely score if given chances; in terms of both starting appearances and shooting opportunities. Whether Wolves have enough firepower elsewhere to press for the top two is debatable.
Too much of their finishing remains tentative and they needed a header from a set-piece by their left-back Collins – some 80 minutes earlier than when he similarly defeated Coventry City five weeks ago – to even start to reflect their ascendancy.
Barnsley, significantly improved on last season's toils, were fortunate still to be in touch at the three-quarter stage and then perhaps unlucky not to level as Martin Devaney twice and Keyode Odejayi went close amid panicky defending while Istvan Ferenczi's header was ruled offside by assistant referee Amy Rayner.
Goal: Collins (13) 1-0
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley, Darren Ward, Craddock, Collins; Kightly (Potter, 77), Henry, Olofinjana, Stephen Ward; Eastwood, Bothroyd (Keogh, 71). Substitutes not used: Little, Jarvis, Stack (gk).
Barnsley (4-4-2): Muller; Foster, Souza, Nyatanga, Werling (Odejayi, 84); Campbell-Ryce (Ricketts, 79), Togwell (McCann, 82), Howard, Devaney; Macken, Ferenczi. Substitutes not used: Mostto, Reid.
Booked: Wolverhampton: Olofinjana.
Referee: G Laws.
Man of the match: Freddy Eastwood.Reuse content