Boro’s weekend defeat of play-off rivals Bristol City crucially lifted them back into the top-six with now only three league games remaining.
The Teessiders were also boosted by Derby County surprisingly losing at bottom-of-the-table neighbours Burton Albion, while fellow challengers Sheffield United and Millwall had already shared a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane.
They did it the hard way with George Friend and Daniel Ayala both on target after Milan Djuric had given their visitors an early lead.
Manager Tony Pulis revealed his feelings as rather mixed regarding their overall display, although never doubting the desire on show.
“The first half I really felt disappointed as a manager,” he admitted to BBC Tees. “Second half they were fantastic.
“The team has been very up and down at times, but I felt today we had a settled performance. I’m pleased with the result of course but I’m more pleased with the application from the players.”
Boro next travel to a third successive play-off rival in Derby this weekend, with their hosts also yet to face both Cardiff City and Aston Villa in addition to Barnsley.
Meanwhile, the previous evening there’s a key local derby between Millwall and Fulham affecting the top of the table.