Barnsley U23s got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the South Yorkshire derby on Monday afternoon.
Goals from Sam Fielding, Luke Thomas and Patrick Schmidt were enough to seal all three points for Martin Devaney’s side at Stocksbridge Park Steels.
It was a productive afternoon for the Reds, who saw scorer Schmidt complete 90 minutes along with fellow Austrian Sami Radlinger as they both continue their recovery from injury.
Add to that the return of Romal Palmer from his lay-off, there are plenty of reasons for Barnsley to be optimistic moving forward.
The Owls started brightly and almost capitalised on a defensive mishap, but Radlinger was on hand to sweep up and alleviate any remaining danger.
But it was the visitors who would strike first when Fielding rose highest at the far post to head home Jordan Barnett’s deep cross inside six minutes.
Fraser Preston and Preslav Borukov both came close for Wednesday as they flashed efforts narrowly wide of the upright as Neil Thompson’s side pushed for a leveller.
But, after a sustained period of pressure, Barnsley had their second as Elliot Simoes picked out Thomas with a fine through ball and the Reds’ forward confidently slotted into the bottom corner.
Simoes almost scored a spectacular overhead kick, while Schmidt and Mallik Wilks also looked to extend the visitors’ lead before the interval.
HALF-TIME: Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Barnsley
The Reds dominated proceeding after the restart, with Callum Styles orchestrating the play from midfield and Clarke Oduor providing a steely shield in front of a resolute backline.
Fielding came close to bagging his second with a volley from distance that was blocked by the Owls’ defence, while Styles forced Josh Render into a tremendous save up to his right as he met Jordan Barnett’s corner with a fierce half-volley.
Radlinger was rarely called into action, but he had to make a smart stop to deny Conor Grant when the Wednesday forward took aim from range.
After a number of attacks fizzled out, Barnsley eventually killed the game off in stoppage time when Schmidt ran onto Palmer’s pass before confidently lifting the ball over Render to round off a comfortable victory.
REDS XI: Radlinger, Green (Helliwell, 80), Pache, Fielding (c), Barnett, Oduor, Simoes, Styles, Thomas (Palmer, 62), Schmidt, Wilks (Mottley-Henry, 62).
Not used: Brown, Gagen.
OWLS XI: Render, Hughes, West, Waldock, Lee, Brennan, Uchegbulam, Shaw, Borukov, Grant, Preston.
Subs: Jackson, Hunt, Thompson, Rice, O’Brien.