Barnsley U23s suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Sheffield United in the Professional Development League on Tuesday afternoon.
Reece York’s strike midway through the first half was enough to settle a South Yorkshire derby that was largely dominated by the young Reds at the Oakwell Training Ground.
The hosts looked lively from the off in blustery conditions, with Mallik Wilks cutting in from the right flank and firing a dangerous ball into a crowded area, only for the Blades defence to hack clear.
Barnsley almost took advantage when the visitors failed to clear their lines from a corner, but neither Sam Fielding nor Rudi Pache could scramble home before United hoofed the ball out of danger.
Next, it was Jordan Barnett’s turn to come close as he latched onto a Callum Styles through ball but his close-range effort was well blocked by Jordan Amissah.
But it was the Blades who would open the scoring as skipper York was on hand to divert a low cross past Jack Walton from the centre of goal.
Martin Devaney’s side looked to hit back immediately and almost pulled level within a matter of moments as Wilks’ shot was deflected onto the post after he had been picked out by Tommy Willard.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-1 Sheffield United
The hosts continued their relentless pressure after the interval, with Cameron McGeehan firing wide on the half-volley.
Styles was at his diminutive best, weaving in between challenges and linking play, while Dani Pinillos and Barnett provided excellent width from the flank.
That combination almost resulted in a goal as Barnett squared the ball for Styles, who swivelled near the penalty spot and unleashed a goal bound effort that was blocked by Kamari Grant.
Barnsley’s best chance of the second half, however, was a sweetly struck McGeehan free-kick that Amissah did exceptionally well to tip round the post to preserve his side’s slender advantage.
Despite their relentless pressure, the young Reds were unable to find that elusive equaliser and will be looking to end the year on a high on Friday when they travel to Hull City.
REDS XI: Walton, Pinillos, Pache, Fielding, Barnett, Palmer, McGeehan, Wollerton, Styles (Hong, 72), Wilks, Willard ((Dearnley, 61) Martin, 90)).
Not used: Brown, Gagen.
BLADES XI: Amissah, Sheppeard, Foulstone, Hall, Grant, Belehouan, Broadbent, York, Young, Ndiaye, Andall-Gibbons.
Subs: Blunt, Chapman, Viggars, Ayari, Mallon.