BARNSLEY boss Lee Johnson has vowed to start building for next season as the Reds' play-off chances came to an end last night.
Having had their season revitalised over a period which saw a nine-game unbeaten run, Barnsley's momentum has come to a halt over the last three weeks with no wins in their last seven outings.
That winless run has seen the Reds slip from sixth to mid-table, leaving them seven points adrift with four games to go going into last night's match away at relegation-threatened Notts County.
In what was a must-win one, the away side got off to the best possible start by taking the lead through Sam Winnall's superb volley in the ninth minute.
The striker's 11th of the campaign - a goal of the season contender - saw him play a one-two with in-form Josh Scowen before smashing the ball into the far corner.
In a frantic period which saw innumerable chances rain down on County's goal, Winnall and Jabo Ibehre both threatened to double the Reds' lead.
Barnsley - who hit the woodwork twice - continued to dominate but the hosts fought for their League One status with all their might and got their reward in injury time through Balint Bajner.
Although the 1-1 draw doesn't make it mathematically impossible just yet, the writing's on the wall as Barnsley's rivals would have to fail to pick up any points from their remaining games, leaving the Reds needing to record nine points from their last three.
"We begin to build for next year now," Lee Johnson said. "We should have won the game. We've hit the post, we've hit the bar and Jabo should have probably scored that one-on-one with their goalkeeper.
"We want to win games and we'll go into the end of the season wanting to win those."
April 18: Peterborough (H)
April 25: Bradford (A)
May 3: Rochdale (H)