After being outplayed for much of the first half Leeds came up with the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute when Lee Peltier raced to the edge of the box only to be body checked by Tykes defender Stephen Foster.
The foul appeared to be just outside the area, but referee Darren Deadman pointed the spot and compounded his error by not booking the defender.
After lengthy treatment for Peltier the spot kick was put away by Becchio with a Pirlo style chip down the middle after keeper Ben Alnwick had already dived to his left.
It gave United a lead they scarcely deserved, although they did improve after a sluggish start when Barnsley could have been out of sight.
The visitors played some good passing football, but Jacob Mellis missed a great fourth minute chance when shooting wide from inside the box and sent a close range volley straight at home keeper Paddy Kenny.
Marlon Harewood hit a free-kick just wide and Mellis and David Perkins fired over, all before Leeds managed their first effort when Becchio scuffed a shot following Aidan White’s run and low cross.
Whites boss Neil Warnock changed tactics with his side switching to a back three and this gave them more of the ball, but they struggled to create chances, although they had a huge penalty shout turned down when Jon Stones looked to have handled the ball in the box from a United corner. Maybe that influenced the referee’s spot kick decision just a few minutes later.
Harewood was inches wide with a good effort from inside the box, but Barnsley were not the same threat as they had to chase the game in the second half.
Rodolph Austin fired in a trademark shot from distance to be met with a comfortable Alnwick save and the out of sorts Becchio scuffed another shot from a White cross. El Hadji Diouf showed several classy touches, but Leeds rarely threatened Alnwick and settled for holding onto what they had got and defended solidly to see the game out.
Barnsley came close to an equaliser just after the hour mark when a corner fell to Harewood and he could not believe it as his shot from four yards out was superbly saved by Kenny.
The United keeper saved again in injury time to deny Stones’ header from a free-kick and the Whites were home and dry for a battling three points.
Leeds United 1
(Becchio 42, pen)
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, White, Austin, Brown, Tonge (Norris 53), Diouf, Becchio (Gray 72).
Barnsley: Alnwick, Stones, Foster (Hassell 45), Wiseman, Golbourne, Dawson, Perkins, Mellis, Cywka (Etuhu 69), Harewood (Dagnall 67), Davies.
Referee: Darren Deadman.