Barnsley Under 21s (Rose 44, Steade 70)
Birmingham City U21s 3 (Reilly 22, Asante 59, 75)
Birmingham City’s Under 21s edged a five-goal thriller at the Oakwell Academy Complex in a tightly contested clash on a gorgeous September afternoon.
Two efforts from the visitors in as many minutes early on saw the Reds’ Lithuanian goalkeeper Lukas Lidakevicius worked by Asante and it took until the 19th minute for Lukas’ opposite number to be tested.
Scott’s well-placed cross-field ball was nodded into the path of Sousa by Rose and the midfielder’s volley was smartly saved by Townsend.
The opening goal came only three minutes later, with Callum Reilly striking a sweet effort into the far corner from 35 yards giving Lidakevicius no chance.
Three minutes before the interval, Barnsley were level thanks to Danny Rose providing a cool finish from just inside the box. Jordan Clark’s perfectly-weighted through-ball sent Sousa away down the left and he found Rose’s run for the striker to finish well.
Five minutes into the restart saw Lidakevicus’s hands tested by Farah before Asante worked the Reds stopper once again with a powerful 22-yard free-kick.
On the hour Asante made no mistake when one-on-one with the ‘keeper to make it 2-1 but his side’s lead only lasted ten minutes as Barnsley responded.
Danny Rose’s right-wing delivery found Steade unmarked at the far stick with the full-back nodding home the equaliser.
Rose’s clever flicked header sent Noble-Lazarus away down the centre on 76 minutes but Townsend smartly stopped the forward’s strike to his right.
Despite most of the second-half chances following to the hosts, Asante once again jinked into the box before pulling the trigger and finding the bottom left-hand corner for the winner.
Both Oates and Noble-Lazarus were both denied chances with last-ditch blocks as the Reds continued to press into the dying embers of the clash.
Barnsley U21s: Lidakevicius, Alderson, Scott, Kilburn, Steade, Sousa (Oates 63), Clark, Patterson, Ntambwe (Abbott 63), Noble-Lazarus, Rose.
Subs not used: Shillito, Alexander-Salmon, Chadderton.
Birmingham City U21s: Townsend, Higgins, Deaman, Packwood, Gordon, Reilly, Rickard (Ntambwe 63), Hancox, Farah (Hales 78), Asante, Hawker (Brown 71).
Subs not used: Preston, Kelly.