It was a disappointing day at the office for Barnsley U18s, who were beaten 3-0 by South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United on a damp day at the Oakwell training ground.
Three first half goals from the visitors left Tom Harban’s side with a mountain to climb in a second half where they showed great fight but couldn’t quite take their chances.
The young Reds hadn’t into their stride before Ryan Viggars opened the scoring for the Blades, as he headed in off the post inside the opening three minutes.
Barnsley almost had a quick response when Callum Walmsley leapt high to meet a corner, only to see his effort cleared off the line.
Moments later, Kareem Hassan-Smith made a last-ditch block to prevent United from doubling their lead, which they went on to do in the 29th minute through Leo Gaxha. Unmarked on the edge of the box, the forward got the ball under control and picked his spot well.
Charlie Winfield had a shot blocked at the end of a neat move as Barnsley looked to half the deficit.
However, Gaxha struck again shortly before half-time when he picked up a clearance, which fell short of its intended target, and slotted into an open goal with Kieran Flavell off his line.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-3 Sheffield United
Sam Nicholson headed narrowly wide from a corner nine minutes after the interval as the Reds pushed hard for a way back into the contest.
But the ball just wouldn’t go in for Harban’s team as players from both sides scrambled for the ball in the six-yard box when Hassan-Smith had put in a great low cross from out wide.
The Reds tried to up the ante as they went in search of a way back into the game, but as time wore on their task got harder and it seemed it wasn’t their day when Will Calligan’s deep cross bounced off the bar.
Hassan Ayari came close to getting a fourth for United in stoppage time. Flavell got in the way of his strike although this didn’t seem to be enough until the ball held up on the line due to adverse weather conditions.
Next up will be a tough trip to Nottingham Forest as the Reds look to return to winning ways against as side who sit just one place lower and one point behind in the league table.
REDS XI: Flavell, Hassan-Smith, Nicholson, Walmsley, Calligan (c), Lancaster, Binns, Winfield, Birks, Marsh, Aleksiev.
Subs: Brown, Ariely, Ackroyd, Hodgson, Sila-Conde.
BLADES XI: S Kelly, J Kelly, Brooks, Williams, Potter, Foulstone, Maguire, Brunt, Viggars, Gaxha, Jebbison.
Subs: Seriki, Chapman, Trialist, Skerritt, Ayari.