First half goals from Ben Hall and Fabio Jalo along with a second half strike from Mylan Benjamin helped the Reds brush aside Wigan Athletic at Oakwell Training Ground on Saturday morning.
Barnsley came into the game in second place in the Professional Development League, capping off 2021 with a comprehensive 5-2 victory against Crewe in December and were looking to continue their good form into the new year.
The Latics were beaten 5-1 in their last game of 2021 against Hull City and sat in sixth position coming into the clash.
The Reds took the ascendancy in the game quickly, with Wigan struggling to deal with our youngsters’ relentless pressing from the front. It was this press that allowed Fabio Jalo to find himself through on goal in the 11th minute, but his effort from close range was well saved by the Latics’ keeper.
Shortly after the Reds found the breakthrough via the penalty spot. The ball was fizzed into Lloyd Smith’s feet in the area, and he cleverly spun on the ball resulting in the Wigan defender fouling our attacker in the area. The referee took no time to point to the spot and Hall calmly placed his effort into the bottom right-hand corner and provided the Reds’ opener after just 15 minutes.
Barnsley’s lead was doubled shortly after through a nice move on the left. Hayden Pickard’s searching side footed pass from deep proved problematic for the Wigan defence. Jalo capitalised on the confusion and latched onto the ball in the area before deftly lobbing the oncoming Latics ‘keeper and put the Reds two goals up after 24 minutes.
Our youngsters continued to dominate proceedings but couldn’t find a third before the half-time whistle.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 2-0 Wigan Athletic
The rain came pouring down at the start of the second half and it was almost a fitting setting for the football being played on the pitch.
The match became a scrappy affair, with neither side creating anything of any note. Although the visitors did rally as they searched for a way back into the encounter.
In the 70th minute, Benjamin all but sealed three points for Tom Harban’s side. The young winger found himself through on goal on the right-hand side and coolly slotted the ball home into the bottom-left corner.
That ended the tie as a contest and the Barnsley defence held strong, to keep a clean sheet in their opening game of 2022 by seeing out their three-goal lead without reply.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 3-0 Wigan Athletic
REDS XI: Aziaya (GK), Hall, Joof, Doyle, Pickard, Hickingbottom, Nejman (C), Goucher, Hartley, Smith, Jalo.
Subs: Ravenhill, Lacey, Grimshaw, Benjamin, Dyer.