Fraser Preston’s double ensured that Sheffield Wednesday came out on top against Barnsley in the South Yorkshire derby on Good Friday.
The Owls winger netted his first from close range on the half hour mark, before curling a magnificent effort home on the stroke of half-time.
Paul Harsley also lost Romal Palmer and Ben Williams to injury on a disappointing day at Middlewood Road training complex.
It was the hosts who started the game brighter and could have been in front inside the opening eight minutes, but Preston saw his shot deflect into the side netting off Will Smith.
Neil Thompson’s side, second in the Professional Development League North, continued to dictate the tempo and came close to opening the scoring as centre-back Jordan Thorniley headed narrowly wide from a corner.
The young Reds then began to grow into the game, but their rhythm was quickly disrupted by the injury to Palmer, who was replaced by Louis Wardle inside the opening quarter of an hour.
But it was Barnsley who nearly took the lead against the run of play as Mikael Ndjoli worked space down the left flank and picked out the overlapping Williams, who was unable to pull the trigger from close range.
From that opportunity, Wednesday launched a counter attack of their own and would have taken the lead but for Adam Lund’s heroics as he headed George Hirst’s header off the line.
After the frantic opening period, Harsley’s side settled and enjoyed a period of sustained possession, but were unable to create any scoring chances - despite a winning a number of dangerous set pieces.
However, the Owls soon showed their ruthless side and were in front when Preston pounced to stab home the rebound after Jake Greatorex had done brilliantly to deny Hirst with a flying save to his right.
Preston and Connor O’Grady then came close to doubling the hosts’ advantage in a matter of moments, but their efforts were both narrowly off target.
With the first half drawing to a close, Preston grabbed his second of the day with a superb shot from 25-yards that flew into the roof of the net, leaving Greatorex no chance.
A strong challenge on Williams shortly after the restart resulted in the young Reds’ left-back requiring treatment. The 18-year-old tried to carry on, but soon hobbled off to be replaced by Harry Gagen with the second half just eight minutes old.
Greatorex was then called into action just after the hour mark as he denied Hirst from close range with the Owls looking to put the contest to bed.
Victor Adeboyejo tried his luck from the corner of the area as Barnsley looked to salvage something from the game late on, but his effort curled wide of Joe Walker’s goal as Wednesday claimed all three points.
REDS XI: Greatorex, Stabana, Smith (c), Lund, Williams (Gagen, 53), Chisholm, Nabay, Palmer (Wardle, 14), Berkovits (Walsh, 46), Ndjoli, Adeboyejo
Not used: Kendrick, Greenfield
OWLS XI: Walker, Baker, West, Lee, O’Grady, Thorniley, Matias (Hughes, 60), Abdi, Hirst, Kirby (Waldock, 87), Preston
Not used: Williams, Render, Borukov