Barnsley 1 (Sousa)
Barnsley U21’s suffered their first defeat of their Professional Development League campaign away to Sheffield Wednesday on Hillsborough, losing by three goals to one.
Manager Paul Heckingbottom started a strong side which included the in-form striker John Cofie, along with Dale Jennings in as Captain.
“It sounds harsh but, that’s the first time I’ve been disappointed with them, just because we did the basics wrong. We didn’t affect them in any way when they had the ball,” said Heckingbottom.
The Tykes went 1-0 down inside the opening ten minutes when the home side broke away down the left flank before the ball was squared to French-man, Franck Betra who netted Wednesday’s first goal of the evening from close range.
The Reds then composed themselves and began to string some flowing football together. Nevertheless, strikers John Cofie and Rhys Oates could not beat the offside flag and were stopped in their tracks on numerous occasions.
Manager Heckingbottom added: “It took 36 minutes for us to get set up right. I don’t really know why. I don’t know if it was because it was a change of time, a change of scenery playing on Hillsborough or a game under lights in a different environment.
“It was a good opportunity for a lot of lads who have been in and out of the squad, to go in and play well and stake a claim.
”Barnsley’s best chance of the first half fell to Rhys Oates whose powerful header was denied by Cameron Dawson with an impressive reflex save from close range.
The save from Dawson, allowed the home side to break and win a free-kick inside the Barnsley half. The ball was sent into the Reds’ penalty area resulting in a uncharacteristic handling error from keeper Christian Dibble, whose fumble gifted Johnny Fenwick a headed goal into an open net for Wednesday’s second.
Wednesday then went on to add another before the break with winger Khallil Lambin cutting inside from the right and firing a long range shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner of Christian Dibble’s net, giving his side a 3-0 advantage going into the second half.
“We’ve gifted them the three goals and not deserved anything, even though we had a lot of chances. We got our chances because of how loose and how undisciplined we were,” said Heckingbottom.
The second half proceeded with Barnsley starting sharply out the blocks with striker Rhys Oates stabbing a shot just over the bar, and Jordan Clark clipping a free kick toward the top corner of the home side’s goal shortly after, only to see keeper Cameron Dawson deny another goal.
Heckingbottom decided that fresh legs would perhaps change the flow of the game and sway the momentum in Barnsley’s favour, bringing on Erico Sousa and Brad Abbott.
These tactical changes were not in vein as Erico Sousa dropped inside from his usual wide position and curled a looping effort into the top corner, giving Heckingbottom’s side an overdue consolation goal.
“We’ll just keep working the same way. It’s the first that I’ve been disappointed with them up until now we’ve played five league games, in which we’ve been working and the lads have been progressing,” said manager Heckingbottom.
Wednesday: Dawson, Harvey, Floro, Zayatte, Fenwick, McCabe, Lambin, Hinchliffe, Betra (Fowler 46), Maguire (Savic 67) Maghoma.
Reds: Dibble, McKnight, Scott, Tunnicliffe, Smith, Clark, Shilito (Sousa), Joyce, Jennings, Cofie, Oates (Abbott).
Unused subs: Cowgill, Chadderton, Knight, Biggins.
For a list of Under 21s fixtures, click here.