Barnsley keeper Nick Colgan was sent off inside 10 minutes as Preston triumphed 1-0 at Deepdale to move into third position in The Championship.
The early removal of the shot stopper should have made life easy for North End, who won thanks to Patrick Agyemang's strike on the half hour, but Barnsely battled admirably in the second half and showed the resolve that has seen them impress after their promotion last season.
However The Tykes' cause was compromised after just seven minutes when Colgan was given his marching orders for handling outside the box as he dived at the feet of Agyemang who had beaten the offside trap.
As a result Andy Ritchie had to sacrifice Marc Richards in order to bring on on-loan Arsenal youngster Vito Mannone for his first league appearance in English football.
It proved to be something of a baptism of fire for the 18-year-old Italian as North End enjoyed substantial possession with their numerical advantage, and he had to be sharp to grab Simon Whaley's cross at the second attempt with the predatory Dave Nugent ready to pounce on 17 minutes.
Agyemang continued to lead the home attack and the striker should have done better when he turned a half-volley over the bar after Chris Sedgwick channelled Graham Alexander's cut-back straight to his feet.
However on 29 minutes, and immediately after Paul Hayes had wasted a great chance for the visitors, the former Gillingham striker was gifted the opener when Mannone came to clear Whaley's cross and only succeeded in punching the ball straight into the face of Agyemang and back into his goal.
After the break Preston threatened again when Sean St Ledger headed just wide from an Alexander cross, but Barnsley improved markedly and begun to test Carlo Nash in the North End goal.
Brian Howard flashed a shot wide after Danny Dichio headed clear, but just after the hour mark The Tykes had their best moment of the game when Martin Devaney's cross was inadvertently diverted towards his own goal by Liam Chilvers.
However Nash was alert and stuck out a leg to deny the Yorkshire side, and from the following corner Sedgwick had to head over his own bar to clear.
Preston still possessed a keen attacking threat with England Under-21 international Nugent a constant danger, but after Michael McIndoe went close with a low shot Barnsley surged forward in search of a late equaliser.
With just minutes to go substitute Tommy Wright saw his goal-bound header blocked by the chest of Sedgwick, with Barnsley appealing in vein for handball, whilst Howard saw his volley claimed easily by Nash as Preston moved into third position behind Cardiff and Birmingham.