Barnsley U18s fell to defeat against Wigan Athletic at the Oakwell Training Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Neither side had much to work with for most of the contest, as both defences did their jobs well. The visitors, however, were able to find a way in front at the end of the first half before capitalising on two defensive errors after the break to race into a three-goal lead.
The Reds turned up the heat in the final stages but were only able to claw one back through 14-year-old Hayden Pickard.
Following the start of play, chances appeared to be few and far between until the Latics were awarded a penalty in the 21st minute after goalkeeper Harry Widdop was adjudged to have brought down an onrushing forward.
However, the 16-year-old then made amends by, saving the spot kick and the rebound was deflected wide, too.
As half-time approached, Thelo Asgaard put the league leaders ahead. On the attack, the visitors caught Barnsley out two-on-one at the back post with Mackenzie O’Neill keeping the ball alive and putting it back into the mix for Asgaard to calmly tuck home.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-1 Wigan Athletic
Wigan were probably enjoying the best of the possession and made it count just before the hour mark when Asgaard made an interception in the final third to run clear on goal and supply a cool finish, doubling the lead and his goal tally.
Ten minutes later, Kyle Joseph added a third, making the most of a misplaced back pass to round Widdop and hit the target.
Still, they were not allowed to rest on their laurels as the hosts began to build momentum and Will Calligan provided a reminder of their attacking threat. Brad Binns did well to set up the captain, who struck the ball sweetly from distance only for the ball to crash against the bar.
In added time, Kareem Hassan-Smith showed great skill to work some space in the box and assist Pickard with a low ball to grab a consolation.
Next week, the Reds travel to South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday hoping to come out on top in what is sure to be a hotly contested fixture.
REDS XI: Widdop, Hassan-Smith, Pache, Nicholson, Calligan, Hodgson, Ackroyd, Binns, Birks (Walmsley), Marsh, Sila-Conde (Pickard).
Not used: Brown, Ariely, Goucher.
WIGAN XI: Tickle, Broe, Snell, Adeeko, Jolley, Isherwood, McWilliam, O’Neill, Joseph, Asgaard (Costello), McGurk (Brown).
Not used: Lloyd, Devine, Hughes.