Barnsley U23s fell to a 4-1 Yorkshire derby defeat against Leeds United on Friday afternoon.
Ryan Edmondson struck a devastating hat-trick as the league leaders stormed to victory at the Oakwell Training Complex.
Tai-Reece Chisholm had given the Reds an early lead, but the young midfielder missed a glorious opportunity to make it 2-0 as he fired a penalty over the bar before the visitors seized control of the contest.
Winger Jordan Stevens was also on target for the Whites, who moved clear of Sheffield United at the summit with the Blades set to play on Monday.
Leeds started brighter, but Martin Devaney’s side made the breakthrough when Gerry McDonagh forced his way into the box and found Chisholm at the far post.
The Reds’ top scorer showed excellent composure to take a touch and fire into the bottom corner, across Will Huffer, for his fourth of the campaign.
It was almost two moments later as Jordan Barnett took aim from a long range free-kick that sailed narrowly wide of the post, before the midfielder’s corner got caught in a strong wind and cannoned off the crossbar.
Then, after Barnsley executed a high-press to perfection to regain possession, Amir Berkovits was bundled over inside the area and the referee pointed for a spot-kick. However, Chisholm was unable to find the target as he blazed over from twelve-yards – the third penalty the Reds have missed in as many games.
Henry Kendrick was forced into action for the first time just before the half hour mark as he got down smartly to turn away Alfie McCalmont’s low drive.
The visitors were starting to grow into the game and should have equalised through Edmondson when he was picked out by Stevens, but the tall striker headed wide, unmarked, from six yards.
But Carlos Corberán’s side would not be denied and, four minutes before the interval, Edmondson rose highest to head home a corner to pull the Whites level.
Just before half-time, Kendrick had to be at his best to frustrate McCalmont again as he got a strong hand to turn away the forward’s close range effort.
Having finished the first half strongly, Leeds came out flying after the break and took the lead when Stevens slammed home from the edge of the six-yard box following a goalmouth scramble.
Barnett again tried his luck from distance, but his curling effort was comfortably gathered by Huffer as the Reds searched desperately for a way back into the game.
But Leeds showed their quality again as Stevens burst down the right flank and jinked his way past a couple of challenges before finding Edmondson, who dutifully slotted the ball into Kendrick’s bottom corner to double the visitors’ advantage.
The striker had his hat-trick with twelve minutes to go as he climbed highest to power home Clarke Oduor’s cross to effectively end the tie as a contest.
Barnsley pushed forward once more and came close through Barnett who drilled inches wide from the edge of the area, but there was no way back as Leeds claimed all three points.
REDS XI: Kendrick, Wardle, Moon, Fielding, J. Williams, Bird, Barnett, Walsh (Willard, 58), Chisholm (Helliwell, 64), Berkovits, McDonagh (c).
Not used: Trialist, Simpson, Greenfield.
LEEDS XI: Huffer, Ayling (c), Davies, Nicell, Oduor, Diaz (Halme, 73), Stevens, Gotts, Edmonsdon (Huggins, 79), McCalmont, Dalby.
Not used: Turner, Amissah