Bristol City brought back down to earth by battling Barnsley
THIS result proves beyond doubt that nothing can be taken for granted in the hugely unpredictable world of the npower Championship.
On a massive high after scoring eight goals and claiming maximum points from two games against Crystal Palace and Cardiff City, the Robins no doubt expected to keep up the forward momentum against injury-hit opponents who had lost three on the trot and conceded 11 times.
But Barnsley, determined to make amends in front of their home crowd, were clearly reading from an altogether different script and they dug deep to summon a performance laden with character and spirit and turn the formbook upside down.
It will concern City boss Derek McInnes that his side, confronted by a diamond formation, was unable to wrestle control of the game in the middle of the park and, for as long as Barnsley had a full quota of 11 players on the pitch, they were the better team.
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McInnes started with a 4-4-2 formation, switched to 4-3-3 and then sacrificed Albert Adomah on the altar of expediency at the start of the second period, introducing the combative Marvin Elliott to enable his team to better compete in midfield.
But even then, Barnsley still looked more likely to score and their territorial dominance was eventually translated into a lead when Jacob Mellis rose unopposed to head in from Richard Crainie's right-wing cross five minutes into the second half.
Make no mistake, Barnsley thoroughly deserved to be in front at that stage and it required the sending off of Reds defender Bobby Hassell to change the nature of the contest.
Red-carded for a hideous two-footed lunge that left Robins striker Jon Stead writhing in agony on the ground, Hassell gave the visitors all the encouragement they needed to get back into the game.
Confronted with ten-men who chose to protect their hard-earned advantage, City used their numerical advantage to good effect to boss proceedings thereafter.
But a mixture of bad luck and poor finishing meant they came away empty-handed, just as they did against Forest a few weeks earlier.
If City lacked a cutting edge at Forest, they created enough chances at Oakwell to have secured victory several times over.
Introduced as a substitute midway through the second half, new signing Steve Davies could have had a hat-trick on another day.
The former Derby County marksman looked sharp and could have scored with virtually his first touch, a shot on the turn that was blocked by a packed defence.
He appeared odds-on to score his first City goal moments later, stealing in front of his marker to win the race to meet a Greg Cunningham centre, only to somehow steer his header wide of a gaping target.
And the Liverpudlian knew it was not going to be his day when, with five minutes left on the clock, he stepped up to take a free kick and saw his sweetly-struck left-foot effort come back off the cross bar with Reds keeper Ben Alnwick beaten all ends up.
It could be argued that, with greater composure in and around the 18 yard box, City should have made more of their opportunities.
But they were denied their best chance of an equaliser by human error in the 65th minute. Bursting into the penalty area, Martyn Woolford lifted the ball over the advancing Alnwick, only for substitute John Stones to make a desperate goal-line intervention.
City players nearby were convinced the red-shirted defender had used his arm to prevent the ball from crossing the line, but Staffordshire official Steve Rushton waved away their claims for a spot kick.
If City had good reason to feel hard done by, they should also acknowledge the tremendous effort put in by opponents whose professional pride had been hurt by last week's 5-1 drubbing at Brighton.
Reds manager Keith Hill demanded his charges put things right and they heeded his words, staging a performance full of heart and determination to make life uncomfortable for the visitors. Had substitute Marlon Harewood taken the two chances that came his way late in the game, Barnsley would have won handsomely and not been hanging on as they were during five minutes of added time.
If the Yorkshire side were good value for their victory, City were left to ponder what they need to do to translate goal-laden victories at home into points on the road.
Had it not been for the momentary lapse that allowed Mellis to steal in between two defenders and score from a free header, the Robins would have returned home with a more than handy point.
No wonder manager McInnes, whose team has yet to register a clean sheet this season, is on the lookout for a dominant centre-back and a new arrival will be seen as a priority when the loan window reopens next week.