Our U18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup, falling to a 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace under the lights at Oakwell.
It was harsh on the young Reds, who battled bravely from the off and were arguably the better side for large parts of the encounter against their higher league opposition.
The encounter did not immediately burst into life, but Harrison Nejman won plaudits from the supporters in attendance early on with an excellent tackle which halted a Palace attack.
It took 20 minutes for the game to have its first clear-cut opportunity, but Reds stopper David Aziaya demonstrated excellent reflexes to palm away Ademola Ola-Adebomi’s close range header.
The visitors then began to test the Reds more frequently but fortunately, failed to convert the chances they created.
Barnsley soon bounced back following a period of fending off pressure, going close through Lloyd Smith, who found space inside the box but saw his low drive diverted wide of the post.
Fabio Jalo was then released down the right flank and eluded his marker but blasted wildly wide under pressure from a recovering defender.
The game continued to open up as the first half progressed and both sides probed relentlessly in search of the elusive opener.
Palace forward Victor Akinwale met a floated delivery from the right but fortunately for the Reds, his header flew harmlessly over the crossbar.
Two opportunities then fell to Reds defender Hayden Pickard, who continuously provided an outlet on the left.
A heavy touch allowed a defender to recover and block his first effort, but he was unlucky to see his second kept out by Palace goalkeeper Joe Whitworth after controlling a lifted pass and bursting into the box.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-0 Crystal Palace
The Reds flew out of the traps after the break and Jalo’s low drive whistled agonisingly wide of the post following a deflection within two minutes of the restart.
Palace, however, remained a threat in the final third and substitute Adler Nascimento stung the palms of Aziaya with a well-struck effort from a tight angle.
Keegan Hartley then caught a glimpse of goal after turning sharply inside the box, but his strike was held on to by Whitworth.
The persistence of Tom Harban’s side eventually paid off when they took the lead through Jalo.
A mix-up in the Palace defence saw the ball fall to the forward, who retained his composure and steered beyond Whitworth.
Less than five minutes later, Jalo had an opportunity to add to his tally after being teed up by Pickard, but his thunderous strike was cleared off the line in dramatic fashion.
The visitors soon drew level through Akinwale, who stepped up and converted from the spot 13 minutes from time.
Rallied by their equaliser, Rob Quinn’s men upped their intensity in search of a winner and found it late on when Ola-Adebomi finished beyond Aziaya.
There was still time for one last Barnsley attack, but Josiah Dyer just couldn’t stretch far enough to convert at the far post with the last kick of the game.
Despite exiting the competition, our young Reds can hold their heads high for a truly magnificent performance.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 1-2 Crystal Palace
REDS XI: Aziaya (GK), Hall, Murchison (Benjamin), Benson, Pickard, Hickingbottom, Goucher, Nejman (C), Hartley, Smith (Dyer), Jalo.
Not used: Ravenhill (GK), Doyle, Lacey, Chapman, Makiessi.