Barnsley U23s produced a magnificent display as they thrashed Colchester United 4-0 on Monday evening.
The young Reds dominated from start to finish at the JobServe Community Stadium and the margin of victory could have perhaps been even greater.
Martin Devaney’s side showed signs of attacking intent from the off and threatened through Matty Wolfe who drove at the U’s backline, but his fizzed ball across the face of goal was hacked clear.
Elliot Simoes tried his luck with a probing run and Alex Wollerton also took aim from range as Barnsley looked to make their early pressure count.
It eventually did after 15 minutes when Amir Berkovits won possession back and ran at a retreating Colchester defence before cutting inside and seeing his effort from the edge of the box deflect home.
The young winger came close to a carbon-copy goal just moments later, but goalkeeper Dillon Barnes was equal to his effort that was arrowing into the bottom corner.
Barnsley doubled their advantage ten minutes before the interval as Jordan Barnett’s deep free-kick reached Sam Fielding at the far post. The Reds’ skipper was on hand to place the ball in, unmarked, from close range.
Two soon became three as Berkovits kept an attack alive on the right flank and his cross to the near post was eventually turned in by Chris Sang to give the visitors a healthy lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: Colchester United 0-3 Barnsley
The Reds started the second half as they had ended the first and effectively ended the tie as a contest when Fielding expertly volleyed home Barnett’s corner just four minutes after the restart.
Colchester rarely troubled Barnsley, and any forays forward were continuously repelled by a solid and resolute visiting backline.
Jake Hutchinson came closest to scoring for the U’s when he took aim from distance, but his fierce effort flew narrowly wide of the upright.
In truth, Jake Greatorex was rarely troubled – largely in part to the excellent work from his teammates in front of him.
The result sees Barnsley climb above Sheffield United into sixth place in the Professional Development League table after the Blades drew 1-1 with Cardiff City.
COLCHESTER XI: Barnes, Scott, Clampin, Chilvers, Kensdale, Kiangebeni, Miller, Dunne, Jones, Hutchinson, Fleary.
Subs: Coulter, Ager, Agboola, Issa, Hyde.
REDS XI: Greatorex, Helliwell, Fielding, Roberts, Barnett, Berkovits, Wolfe (Chisholm, 63), Wollerton, Simoes (Walsh, 76), Sang, Connell (Aramburu, 69).
Not used: Kendrick, Gagen.