A last gasp own goal from Barnsley's Scott Golbourne handed Blackpool all three points when the game seemed destined for a goalless draw with minutes to go.
There were Bloomfield Road bows for Jack Robinson, Bobby Grant, Michael Chopra and Steven Davies as Blackpool got their 2013/14 home camaign underway in front of 14,268.
The Seasiders made a very bright opening and almost took an early lead, but Isaiah Osbourne cut across his shot and it fizzed narrowly wide of Luke Steele's right-hand post.
Moments later David Perkins rifled a shot over the bar for the visitors after some neat play in and around the edge of the box, in what was a lively start from both sides.
Chris Basham started on the right of a four man midfield and the utility man was looking dangerous and often had the beating of Scott Golbourne for pace.
Grant was on the opposite flank to Basham and it was he who tried his luck next with a right footed volley, but it was well blocked by Jean Yves Mvoto.
Five minutes before the break some great one and two touch football on the right helped create an opportunity for Chopra, but he pulled his shot just wide of the far post from an acute angle.
HALF-TIME: BLACKPOOL 0-0 BARNSLEY
Blackpool attempted to the start the second-half in a similar vein to how they began the match, and they almost got broke the deadlock when Cathcart caught everyone by surprise by making a forward run down the right only to see his teasing cross narrowly miss its target.
Basham was again causing Barnsley problems as the clock ticked over the hour-mark but his cross-shot was somehow kept out by Steele.
Nathan Eccleston came on and immediately sold a dummy to two defenders before seeing his low shot deflected away for a corner.
Jason Scotland was the first substitute to come on for David Flitcroft and he was straight into the action himself when he got on the end of a cross, but couldn't divert his header onto the target from eight yards out.
The Seasiders continued to push forward and despite putting Barnsley under pressure at set-pieces, they struggled to break through The Tykes' backline until stoppage time when a mammoth long throw from Robinson was flicked on and into his own net by Golbourne despite the best efforts of David Perkins to keep the ball out.
GOAL: BLACKPOOL 1-0 Barnsley
FULL-TIME: BLACKPOOL 1-0 BARNSLEY