Barnsley U23s picked up their first victory of the Professional Development League campaign following a convincing performance against Cardiff City.
The young Reds ran out 3-1 winners at the Oakwell Training Ground thanks to a brace from Elliot Simoes either side of Tommy Willard’s first goal of the season.
Shamar Moore had given the visitors an early lead from the spot, but Martin Devaney’s side fought back to claim all three points.
With the game just seconds old, Moore latched onto a through ball and was brought down by Walton inside the area. The Bluebirds’ striker confidently stepped up to convert his penalty, sending Walton the wrong way.
But Barnsley soon hit back and were level just five minutes later as Simoes fired home from inside the area after excellent hold-up play by George Miller.
The hosts continued to look dangerous and came close to taking the lead when Willard curled narrowly wide after a neat turn on the edge of the box.
Centre-back pairing Jasper Moon and on-trial Saul Shotton were rarely troubled by the Cardiff frontline, while new signing Clarke Oduor provided a solid shield in front of the back four.
The Reds eventually made their dominance count just after the half hour mark when Jordan Barnett’s low cross was turned home by Willard from close range.
Six minutes before half-time, Simoes had his second of the game as he unleashed a thunderous drive from 25-yards that flew into the top corner, leaving visiting goalkeeper Warren Burwood stranded.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 3-1 Cardiff City
Barnsley started the second half as they ended the first: on the front foot. Miller skipped beyond Cameron Coke and took aim from the edge of the box, but his curling shot was comfortably gathered by Burwood.
Miller and Alex Wollerton both saw efforts blocked by a resolute visiting defence, but Cardiff started to carve out chances of their own as the half wore on.
First, Sion Spence cut in from the flank and fired a shot over the bar, while Moore was superbly denied by a sprawling Walton.
The Reds’ stopper had to be at his best again to thwart James Waite twice in quick succession in the last 10 minutes, before getting down low to keep out Spence’s fierce drive.
Willard almost doubled his tally for the afternoon when he raced clear, but his attempt was palmed away by Burwood. Substitute Chris Sang also saw a hooked effort tipped away by the Bluebirds’ ‘keeper.
It was, however, another impressive display from the young Reds, who bounced back in perfect style from last week’s defeat at Coventry City.
Up next for our U23s is a trip to Bristol City on Tuesday 27 August.
REDS XI: Walton, Gagen (Fielding, 63), Moon, Shotton, Barnett (c), Oduor (Ward, 73), Wollerton, Martin, Simoes, Willard, Miller (Sang, 73).
Not used: Greatorex, Lambert.
CARDIFF XI: Burwood, Coke, Davies (Evans, 73), Bowen, Reynolds, Bodenham (c), Williams (Margetson, 57), Wootton (Warnock, 89), Moore, Waite, Spence.
Not used: Coeman, James.