Tommy Willard’s sensational strike ensured Barnsley U23s claimed a share of the spoils in the South Yorkshire derby on Friday afternoon.
Sheffield United had taken an early lead through Kyron Gordon, but the Reds fought back and had chances to win the game in either half.
It was the visitors, however, who made the brighter start and were awarded a penalty inside the opening four minutes after Will Smith was adjudged to have pushed in the box from a corner.
Up stepped Jordan Doherty, but Henry Kendrick pulled off a stunning save down to his right to tip the ball round the post.
But, moments later, United were in front when Reece York wriggled free on the right flank and fired a low cross into the area, which Gordon duly converted from close range.
That goal seemed to sting the Reds into action and they came close to levelling the scores when Tai-Reece Chisholm capitalised on a loose ball to race clear. The young midfielder unselfishly cut the ball back to Trialist, but his shot was blocked and scrambled away.
Jordan Helliwell then tested Marcus Dewhurst with a fierce drive before Romal Palmer saw his effort blocked as the Blades reached half-time with their lead intact.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-1 Sheffield United
Barnsley came flying out of the blocks after the interval and Louis Wardle almost equalised within a matter of minutes as he forced Dewhurst into a fine save.
From the resulting corner, Smith rose highest, but he was unable to divert his header towards goal as the visitors survived another scare.
Then, just after the hour mark, the Reds won a 50-50 challenge and Palmer played a perfectly weighted ball for Willard, who burst forward at pace and unleased a thunderous strike from 20-yards that crashed into the top corner.
With the wind well and truly in their sails, the hosts continued to attack but were unable to create many clear-cut chances.
The best opportunity of the half was an indirect free-kick from inside the area after Dewhurst had picked up a back-pass, but Wardle’s shot was blocked by the United wall.
Jordan Barnett then bent a wicked corner into the six-yard box for the onrushing Jasper Moon, but the Barnsley centre-back couldn’t quite stretch enough to make contact.
In a frantic finale, Blades’ defender George Cantrill was given his marching orders when he picked up his second yellow card for a late challenge on Barnett, before Simon Oure was booked for diving as the clock ticked into added time.
Up next for the Reds is a trip to Leeds United on Monday 17 December.
REDS XI: Kendrick, Helliwell, Moon, Smith, Barnett, Wardle, Otim, Palmer, Berkovits (Willard, 46), Chisholm (Feeney, 61), Trialist (Trialist, 56).
Not used: Trialist, Pache.
BLADES XI: Dewhurst, Gordon, Belehouan, Doherty, Cantrill, York, Sheppeard, Broadbent, Oure (Williams, 90), Brunt (Mallon, 58), Boyes (Young, 58).
Not used: Amissah, Neal.