Barnsley U18s got their 20/21 Professional Development League campaign off to the perfect start with a resounding 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday morning.
The young Reds were sensational from start to finish at the Oakwell Training Ground and took all three points thanks to goals from on-trial Faisu Sangare, Angus Chapman, Bayley Hassell and Kareem Hassan-Smith.
In the end, a four-goal margin of victory didn’t flatter Tom Harban’s side, who had plenty of opportunities to further increase their lead with a flurry of chances in the closing stages as they ran riot against a shellshocked Forest team.
It took just over 20 minutes for Barnsley to break the deadlock, but it eventually came when the ever-dangerous Chapman intercepted a loose pass on the edge of the visitors’ box. He showed good composure to tee up Sangare, who fired home low and hard at the near post.
The hosts doubled their advantage shortly after as Chapman latched onto goalkeeper Archie Brown’s long clearance and expertly lobbed the ball over the onrushing Aaron Bott from 30-yards.
But Forest still posed a threat of their own, particularly from set-pieces, and provided the Reds with a reminder of their quality by rattling the woodwork late in the first half, while Brown had to be at his best to thwart Oliver Hammond from a deep cross.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 2-0 Nottingham Forest
The back three of Daniel Benson, Sam Nicholson and Amir Ariely were accomplished and rarely troubled throughout the encounter, with wing-backs Hassan-Smith and the outstanding 15-year-old Hayden Pickard providing an attacking outlet on the flanks.
A midfield trio of skipper Joe Ackroyd, first-year Harrison Nejman and Hassell were tireless throughout, with the latter grabbing the goal that his performance richly deserved ten minutes after the restart.
He reacted quickest after Australian striker Chapman saw his header bounce back off the upright to slam home from inside the six-yard box to mark his return from injury in style.
Nicholson then showed great reactions to keep out a goal bound header and maintain Barnsley’s three-goal advantage before Hassan-Smith added his name to the scoresheet.
After a marauding run down the right wing, the explosive full-back crashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net from 18-yards to put the game beyond all doubt.
It’s a result that the young Reds fully merited for their endeavour and ingenuity, and they will be hoping for a similar outcome when they travel to Sheffield Wednesday next weekend.
REDS XI: Brown (GK), Hassan-Smith, Benson, Nicholson, Ariely, Pickard, Nejman, Ackroyd (c), Hassell, Chapman (Smith), Sangare (Sila-Conde).
Not used: Flavell, Hall, McKay