Barnsley U23s recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Coventry City on Friday afternoon.
The young Reds picked up their first win of the 2018/19 Professional Development League campaign courtesy of Tai-Reece Chisholm’s deflected first half effort.
Following a tough run of results, this morale-boosting display at the Oakwell Training Ground was no less than Martin Devaney’s side deserved.
There was little to split the two teams in the opening stages, but Barnsley eventually began to force the initiative and their high pressing work led to a number of mistakes in the visiting defence.
Gerry McDonagh closed down Sky Blues’ goalkeeper Corey Addai and won a corner for the Reds, but no one was unable to get on the end of a dangerous Louis Wardle cross.
However, the marauding right-back burst forward on the quarter hour mark and linked up well with Amir Berkovits. Wardle’s delivery was flicked on by McDonagh and the ball eventually fell to Chisholm at the back post, whose shot deflected and spiralled over Addai and into the top corner, despite the best efforts of Chris Camwell on the line.
The Reds almost doubled their lead midway through the half as Wardle let fly from 25-yards but his thunderous effort crashed back off the bar.
From that attempt, Coventry broke and were fractions away from an equaliser as Jonny Ngandu unleashes a fierce drive from distance only to be denied by the crossbar.
Barnsley continued to look dangerous after the interval and almost had their second when Berkovits cut in from the right wing, but Addai was equal to his low shot.
But, as the game wore on, the Sky Blues began to grow into the contest and Henry Kendrick had to be at his very best to first deny substitute David Bremang and then Camwell with two fine saves in quick succession.
The visitors were then denied by the woodwork for a second time as Lewis Green burst forward from right-back and took aim, only to see his effort cannon back off the upright.
Despite a period of sustained Coventry pressure in the closing stages, Barnsley held on to claim a valuable three points to kick-start their season.
FULL TIME: Barnsley 1-0 Coventry
REDS XI:Kendrick, Wardle, Trialist, Smith (c), Trialist, Otim, Berkovits (Barnett, 77), Trialist (Helliwell, 83), Chisholm, McDonagh, Feeney (Walsh, 79)
Not used: Trialist, Fielding
COVENTRY:Addai, Green, Camell, Eccles, Ford, Thompson, Walters (Burroughs, 63), Westbrooke (c), Bakayoko, Ngandu (Bremang, 58), Steadman
Not used: McCallum, Billson, Williams