Barnsley U23s got back to winning ways as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers in the Professional Development League on Friday afternoon.
Goals in either half from Jordan Green and Tommy Willard were enough to seal all three points for the young Reds in a fiercely contested game that saw both sides reduced to ten men in added time.
Elliot Simoes and Trotters’ midfielder James Weir received their marching orders from referee Majid Ali after substitute Keziah Martin had been hacked down in the centre circle.
It was, however, a match that the visitors dominated from the off with a midfield quartet of Romal Palmer, Green, Alex Wollerton and Callum Styles continuously dictating the tempo.
Chances were few and far between in the early exchanges, but Barnsley came close to opening the scoring midway through the first half when Sam Fielding rose highest to meet Jordan Barnett’s corner, only to see his header drift narrowly over.
Willard saw a low effort deflect and spin narrowly wide of the target, before Jack Walton was forced into a rare save to deny Callum King-Harmes down to his right.
The Reds continued to look more likely to break the deadlock and it eventually came when Simoes skipped in between two challenges before squaring for Styles, whose shot ricochet into the path of Green to fire unerringly into the bottom corner.
From that moment on, it could have been any number before the interval but a combination of bad luck and resolute Bolton defending prevented Martin Devaney’s side from adding to their tally.
Styles came closest to netting another on the stroke of half-time, but his shot deflected agonisingly wide of the upright and out for a corner.
HALF-TIME: Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Barnsley
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first as Barnsley flew out of the blocks once more and doubled their lead within seven minutes.
Willard latched onto a fine through ball and showed tremendous composure to slot between the legs of Matthew Alexander to net his second goal of the campaign.
The visitors poured forward at will and Barnett was the next to try his luck as he cut in on his right foot and forced Alexander into a fine save at his near post.
With time running out, Wanderers looked for a way back into the contest and Walton had to be at his best to thwart King-Harmes for a second time after he fizzed a strike across the face of goal.
It appeared as though that would be the last of the action, but, after several dangerous tackles over the course of the game, it eventually boiled over in added time as both Simoes and Weir were shown red cards.
Up next for the Reds is a local derby at home to Sheffield United on Tuesday 10 December.
BOLTON XI: Alexander, Whalley, Niakate, Boon, Senior, Graham (c), Weir, Sissoko, Brown, Darcy, King-Harmes.
Subs: Assarsson, Osigwe, Colvin, Edmondson, Brown-Sterling.
REDS XI: Walton, Mottley-Henry, Pache, Fielding (c), Barnett, Palmer (Trialist, 83), Green, Wollerton (Martin, 88), Styles, Willard (Sang, 78), Simoes.
Not used: Trialist, Gagen.