Barnsley U23s suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in the Professional Development League on Monday.
The hosts, under the cosh for large parts of the first half, came out flying after the interval and stormed to victory courtesy of a Kian Flanagan hat-trick and a long-range piledriver from Lewis Bryon.
It was Martin Devaney’s side who made the brighter start and almost took the lead inside the opening 15 minutes, but Jordan Barnett saw his spectacular effort from distance clawed out of the top corner by Dion-Curtis Henry.
The Reds continued to look dangerous and came close through Cameron Simpson’s shot from range before Tai-Reece Chisholm ran at a retreating Eagles’ backline, cut onto his left foot and unleashed a fierce drive that looked destined for the top corner only to veer narrowly wide of the upright.
Louis Walsh then burst down the left flank as the second half drew to a close, but no one in black could get on the end of his cross that flashed dangerously across the face of goal.
It was a positive half for Barnsley, but Richard Shaw’s side ensure any encouraging signs were soon snuffed out just nine minutes after the restart as Flanagan arrived unmarked into the box and drilled into the bottom corner.
In the blink of an eye, the hosts made it 2-0 as Sam Fielding was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area. From the resulting penalty, Flanagan doubled his tally for the afternoon as he sent Henry Kendrick the wrong way.
Two soon became three for Palace, who had begun to run riot at Selhurst Park as Bryon shifted the ball onto his right foot and let fly from 25-yards. His stunning effort flew into the far bottom corner, leaving Kendrick no chance.
The Reds’ stopper then had to be at his very best to turn Sam Woods’ near post flick over the bar, before the Eagles were awarded a second penalty ten minutes from time. Up stepped Flanagan to convert his hat-trick, once again sending Kendrick the wrong way, to compound Barnsley’s misery.
EAGLES XI: Henry, D. Boateng, Chamberlin-Gayle, Bryon, Tavares, Woods, Robertson (Keutcha, 84), McGregor, Daly (Street, 74), Flanagan (M. Boateng, 89), Addy.
Not used: Tupper, Brown
REDS XI: Kendrick, Wardle, Fielding, Smith, Simpson (Helliwell, 40), Otim, Barnett, Berkovits, Chisholm, Walsh (Trialist, 67), McDonagh (Feeney, 67)
Not used: Moon