Reds fail to take their chances and are punished by strong Crewe Alexandra side.
Barnsley Under 18s slipped to their second consecutive defeat after being edged out 3-1 by a strong Crewe Alexandra side at Oakwell.
Crewe converted their first chance of the match when Owen Dale tapped home from close range but Jeff McGowan’s deflected effort sent the Reds in level.
Tom Clare struck the post and Adam Lund missed the target from close range as the Reds went in search of a second goal, but were hit by a sucker punch as Dale fired in his second just past the hour.
Matty Wolfe missed two headed chances to draw the Reds level before a third goal 15 minutes from time secured the points for Crewe.
Sham Bertie was the first player on either side to fashion an opening, combining smartly with Cameron Simpson before firing over the crossbar.
Moments later, the visitors were ahead as a break down the left-hand side resulted in a low cross being sent in and Dale reacted quickest to fire past Arron Murphy.
Louis Rowe had to be replaced soon afterwards, picking up a shoulder injury in a challenge and was replaced by Tom Clare.
Clare made a positive impact within moments of coming on, firing wide after turning smartly on the edge of the area and Romal Palmer did likewise, blazing wide from 25 yards.
Will Smith and Matty Wolfe both put their bodies on the line to prevent Crewe doubling their lead midway through the half.
The Reds began to find some rhythm in the game, going close when Palmer slipped in McGowan, whose close range effort was scuffed on target, before Wolfe let fly from 25 yards, but was again denied.
Wolfe again continued to dictate the play, sending an effort fizzing over the crossbar after linking well with Cameron Simpson before the Reds drew level three minutes before the interval.
Louis Wardle broke clear down the right and crossed for McGowan, who fired an effort on goal which was blocked. But the rebound was deflected back on target by a Crewe Alexandra boot, which left the goalkeeper wrong footed.
HALF TIME: Barnsley U18s 1-1 Crewe Alexandra U18s
Wilberforce Ocran was introduced at half time in place of Simpson, who picked up an injury late in the first half and within four minutes if his introduction, he almost levelled the scoring.
He jinked inside from the right and lofted the ball towards goal, but it fell just the wrong side of the crossbar and Clare struck the post from the edge of the area after breaking clear of three challenges.
The best chance to level came just before the hour as McGowan’s excellent delivery was nodded back across goal by Mo Saeed, but on the slide, Adam Lund failed to make contact with the ball with the goal at his mercy.
Crewe were not as forgiving in front of goal and restored their lead when the ball broke to the edge of the area and was fired home by Dale for his second of the game.
An excellent block from Smith prevented Dale from completing his treble soon after before the Reds attempted to get another foothold in the game.
Wardle’s corner was thumped over by the head of Wolfe and the central midfielder came close again soon after, flicking Adam Lund’s long throw wide of the target.
Crewe put the result beyond all doubt 17 minutes from time as their winger cut inside from the right and drilled an effort past Murphy.
Smith decided to take matters into his own hands seven minutes from time, surging forward from the back and unleashing a piledriver, which had to be turned around the post.
The resulting corner was cleared, before a flying Adam Lund header was well saved by the Crewe stopper.
The final chance fell the way of striker Ocran, who fired wide from the middle of the area after being teed up by McGowan.
Reds: Murphy (GK), Wardle, Lund, Smith, Bertie, Simpson (Ocran, 46’ ), Palmer, Wolfe, Saeed (Tingle, 65’ ), McGowan, Rowe (Clare, 14’ ).
Subs: Greatorex (GK), Miller.