Paul Heckingbottom’s under 21’s side played out a 0-0 draw away at Harrogate Town in sizzling hot conditions, kicking off their pre-season campaign with plenty of positives to take back to Oakwell.
The game proved to be a perfect gauge of the young players' fitness and a chance for the side to compete with a Harrogate team full of experienced first-team regulars.
“It was a totally different experience for the lads,” said Heckingbottom.
“I’m pleased with everything about it. There was a good tempo to the game, even though the weather was stifling.
“They were a good quality opposition. I was interested to see how the lads dealt with a physical presence. Physically the lads competed really well. They also passed the ball well.”
The Reds dominated possession early on, commanding the middle of the park through their midfield. Although neither team managed to break the deadlock, the young Tykes seemed on top testing the Harrogate keeper on a number of occasions and forcing some smart saves before the interval.
In the second half central midfielder Brad Abbott came closest for the Reds, with his effort striking the underside of the crossbar from outside the area. Both teams then settled down in the closing stages of the game, with Heckingbottom and his staff introducing some fresh legs.
The Tykes made several changes just after the hour mark, giving equal opportunity for all who travelled up from South Yorkshire.
“Huge credit to the young boys who came on. We made six or seven subs and our tempo upped again," said Heckingbottom.
With a hefty pre-season schedule now under-way including games against Conference sides Gainsborough Trinity, Eastwood Town and Halifax Town the under 21’s have plenty to focus on in the up and coming weeks.
“They can see their efforts are paying off. Now the games have started it’s better for everyone. Everyone’s pleased,” concluded
Barnsley: Christian Dibble, Josh Lacey
, George Smith
, Jake Scott (Darren McKnight)
, Chris Salt
, Antonie Boland (Jordan Tunnecliffe), Wade Joyce (Harrison Biggins)
, McCauley Shillito (Callum Pilkington),
Rhys Oates (Lewis Clarkson)
, Brad Abbott
, Dennis Knight © (Erico Sousa)
Unused Sub: Elliot Chadderton