A 4-1 score-line was provided by John Cofie who netted twice, along with strikes from, defender Jordan Tunnicliffe and striker Danny Rose.
However Manager Paul Heckingbottom still feels improvement can be made. “Overall pleased. But you’re never happy, never satisfied and they’ve got to keep learning, as I’m sure they will do. In patches we played well and showed our quality. We had to work hard for what we got, and we did it really well,” said Heckingbottom.
The Tykes took an early lead in the first half through John Cofie, after a quick counterattack from a long clearance allowed the striker to run at the Birmingham City goal and slot the ball into the bottom corner of the net, giving the Reds a 1-0 advantage after just 17 minutes.
Just two minutes later Barnsley came agonisingly close to a second, as striker Danny Rose latched onto a loose ball in acrobatic fashion and connected with an over-head kick, forcing a smart save from the Birmingham City keeper.
More pressure was then applied by the home side, which then led to a corner-ball. This resulted in a goal-line scramble and Barnsley’s second, as defender Jordan Tunnicliffe gladly latched on to the loose ball and slammed it past the despairing keeper.
From then on the Tykes looked to build on their two-goal advantage and continued to pile pressure on the Birmingham City area. Wingers, Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Dale Jennings forced errors from the Birmingham defenders, through sheer persistence and determination before the end of the first half.
Barnsley’s third goal came in the second half, after Paul Heckingbottom decided to change things up, replacing midfielders, Paddy McCourt and Reuben Noble-Lazarus with, Erico Sousa and Wade Joyce.
A swift move from the midfield allowed captain Paul Digby, to pick out John Coife with a searching ball; Cofie then controlled well and finished off the move in composed fashion, angling the ball into the corner of the net for his second of the match and Barnsley’s third.
“We changed things again at half-time, in terms of shape, and the lads were comfortable in their positions. We controlled the game more once we went 3-0 up, we were controlling it off the ball as well, which is what we’ve spoken about,” added Heckingbottom.
The visitors did convert one chance, after striker Adda Djezire took the ball past Dibble and finished off then chance by passing into an open net.
Barnsley however, finished off their opponents three-minutes from time. Striker Danny Rose received the ball from a throw-in and set off on a tremendous solo run, eluding the Birmingham City defenders, before calmly placing the ball into the back of the net for the Reds’ fourth, and final goal of the day.
Barnsley U21s Line up:
GK - Christian Dibble
2 – Sam Patterson
3 – Reuben Noble-Lazarus (16 Wade Joyce 46 min)
4 – Bobby Hassell
5 – Jordan Tunnicliffe
6 – George Smith
7 – Paddy McCourt (14 Erico Sousa 46 min)
8 – Paul Digby (C)
9 – Danny Rose
10 – Dale Jennings (12 Rhys Oates 67mins)
11 – John Cofie
13 – Elliot Chadderton (GK)
15 – McCaulley Shilito