Any faint hopes of a top six finish are evaporating quickly, and if anything, Rovers have more questions to answer than at any point this season after defeat at Barnsley.

They changed formation, personnel and approach for their trip to Oakwell, but seemingly in trying to restrict the hosts, only succeeded in stifling themselves.

The sight of top scorer Adam Armstrong chasing constant lost causes summed up the evening from an attacking perspective, the ball spending more time in the air than it did the ground.

It was a far cry from the possession-based identity that Tony Mowbray has continued to stress he’s looking to move towards. They again looked lost in the closing stages, with no answer to falling behind, their gameplan undone from the moment Barnsley went ahead.

Alex Mowatt backed up Carlton Morris’ goal, but the writing was on the wall for Rovers long before Armstrong grabbed a late consolation.

Pressure will only heighten on Mowbray the more Rovers fall behind the play-off pace, Barnsley climbing above them in the standings, now clinging onto a top half spot by goal difference only.

Mowbray’s disappointment at the performance in defeat to Preston North End on Friday night was likely reflected by his team selection, three changes and a switch in formation to a back three for the first time this season.

That meant for a first start for Taylor Harwood-Bellis and a clear indication that would move away from the football they have looked to play for much of the season, looking to exploit the space in behind by going with two strikers in Sam Gallagher Adam Armstrong

A succession of fouls offered Barnsley a chance to swing balls in from the wide areas, and while Rovers defended them well for the most part, two follow-up efforts saw the hosts go close to opening the scoring.

With the game’s first attempt Conor Chaplin, a scorer in this fixture last season, teed himself up before volley goalwards as Thomas Kaminski was forced to palm it away.

Then Romal Palmer went close to finding the bottom left-hand corner, with Kaminski rooted to the spot, after good defending initially from Harwood-Bellis.

However, the defender allowed Cauley Woodrow to get away from him in the box from a 15th minute corner, the striker disappointed not to at least plant his header on target.

From open play it was a tough watch, neither side willing to take any risks in what were testing conditions on a difficult pitch.

Set pieces felt like a good route to goal, a quickly taken free kick on the half hour seeing Victor Odeboyejo break clear of the last defender, and despite looking suspiciously offside was able to drive towards goal before his near post effort was tipped over by Kaminski.

Despite bringing Stewart Downing into the team, Rovers didn’t look to play through midfield, and by half time, their pass completion rate was down at 54 per cent.

Downing was involved in Rovers’ first attempt at goal though, his inswinging corner palmed away by Brad Collins at his near post, before the midfielder’s follow-up cross was headed into the ‘keeper’s arms from a tight angle by Darragh Lenihan.

If Rovers’ game plan was to stop Barnsley implementing their press, by playing forward as quickly as possible, then it was working as the half time whistle approach.

Barry Douglas had enjoyed a solid night at left back, his cross late in the half setting up a chance for Bradley Dack who was facing away from goal when heading over unmarked three minutes before the break.

By the 56th minute, Barnsley had made four changes, Lenihan quickly denying one of those, Carlton Morris, with a fine block, as the pattern of the game  remained unchanged.

The hour mark was reached with still the game there for either side to get a hold of it, a rare sight of goal for Rovers seeing Gallagher head into the arms of Collins from a set play.

The substitutes looked to be taking effect for the hosts however, and it was one of the five, Morris, who gave them the lead with 18 minutes remaining. He lined up a shot from the left edge of the box, the game seeming to stop as it cannoned in off the far post with Kaminski rooted to the spot.

Rovers responded with a triple substitution, but still Barnsley remained in the ascendancy, Morris going close to a second after testing Kaminski following a loose Harvey Elliott pass.

There was little response for Rovers, who sent on attackers in search of an equaliser, but still lacking the necessary quality to pose any questions of the hosts.

And it was no surprise that it was Barnsley who wrapped things up with the game’s second goal, Mowatt able to ghost through the heart of the Rovers defence, round Kaminski and slot into the empty net.

There was time for a late consolation, Armstrong racing onto a ball over the top, lifting it over Collins and into the empty net.

But it was game over long before, and most likely season over in terms of the aspirations that Mowbray himself set at the start of the campaign.