BARNSLEY went down to an injury time goal to extend their winless run at Coventry City to 89 years.
Clive Platt headed the Sky Blues in front in the 91st minute to snatch a point away from Keith Hill’s team.
Not until the 17th minute did Manchester City loan striker Nimely lash a right-foot shot on the turn over goalkeeper Steele’s crossbar.
At the other end Stoke City loan midfielder Tonge, looking to play his first 90 minutes for the club having also been troubled by an ankle injury, shot well wide from the left edge of the hosts’ penalty area.
Both sides were battling hard to take control of the game but neither could, although it was the hosts who found themselves camped out in the Reds’ half without creating any clearcut opportunities.
But, five minutes before the break, Nimely should have put the Sky Blues ahead as they went in search of their fifth win out of six at home this season.
However, having found a yard of space on centre-back Edwards the striker dragged his left-foot shot wide of the right upright. It was a glaring miss.
Tongue burst free in first-half injury-time, but just as he was about to pull the trigger the midfielder was tackled on the edge of the box and it stayed goalless at the break.
Boss Hill resisted the temptation to make any changes at the break despite his side having failed to once hit the target in the opening 45 minutes.
Chances were again few and far between with a goal desperately needed to spark the contest into life.
But then there was a worry for Hill after Tongue went down clutching his back having chased down a lost cause all the way to the Coventry byline.
A crowd of 13,928, which included 922 away supporters, tried to inspire their teams to spark into life but it was proving to be a frustrating afternoon for all of them.
But on the hour mark midfielder McSheffrey curled a left-foot free-kick over the bar as the home support suddenly became more vocal.
Norwich City loan midfielder Smith dived in carelessly on the edge of his ow box in the 66th minute allowing Manchester United loan recruit Norwood to get a shot on target, but Reds’ keeper Steele saved easily, low at his right-hand post.
A careless back pass from McNulty allowed the Sky Blues in soon after, but luckily the Reds’ defence scampered back and they averted the danger.
Nimely picked out tall hitman Platt in the 69th minute, but his glancing header flew wide of the left upright. The game was coming to life.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Hill made his third and final change when striker Gray came on for Dawson.
Maybe it had been Hill’s plan all along to attack in the final stages of the match with the Sky Blues desperate for points? Platt struck a shot straight at Steele with ten minutes left having done well to hook the ball on target from a long thrown in, but the home fans were growing increasingly impatient. And no wonder with home advantage seemingly the most promising way of picking up points this term having, amazingly, failed to win away all season.
Norwood curled a free-kick from distance wide of the left post as the hosts kept pushing for the opener, but the Reds kept battling to at least make sure of a point.
The Reds were hit with a sucker-punch in the 91st minute as PLATT headed the Sky Blues to victory. No wonder Hill looked livid in his technical area.
And it could have been 2-0 if McSheffrey’s 93rd minute strike had not struck the underside of the crossbar and been hacked cleared.
Coventry: Murphy, Christie, Cranie, Keogh, Clarke, Norwood, Deegan, Baker, McSheffrey, Nimely, Platt. Subs: Dunn, Clingan, Bell, McDonald, Cameron.
Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman, Foster, Edwards, McEveley, Tongue, Smith, Dawson, McNulty, Golbourne, Davies. Subs: Preece, Done, Dagnall, Cotterill, Gray.
Referee: Andy D’Urso (Essex)