Two penalties won and converted by Theo Chapman gave our U18s their fifth win in six games with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon.
It’s three more crucial points for Tom Harban’s side as they extended the gap between themselves and Sheffield Wednesday in the race for a place in the Professional Development League end of season play-offs.
The Reds started the game brightly, and it wasn’t long before they had their first attempt at goal with a long ball over the top from Kieren Flavell finding Fabio Jalo, whose sliced shot didn’t trouble Joe Thomas in the City net.
Chapman won his first penalty with just under a quarter of an hour on the clock when Hayden Pickard’s ball down the left gave the midfielder space to run into the box before being brought down by a Bluebirds defender. Chapman kept a cool head and slotted the ball past Thomas from the spot into the bottom left.
Josiah Dyer had a great chance to double the Reds’ lead five minutes later, seeing his header flash narrowly over the bar.
Barnsley continued to dominate the chances in front of a home crowd, with a Dyer flicked header allowing Keegan Hartley to get in behind the defence and be one on one with the keeper. However, a heavy touch gave Thomas the opportunity to smother the ball at the legs of the midfielder and prevent a certain goal.
Cardiff tried their best to get back into the game, searching for that all important equaliser, but our backline stood firm winning all aerial duels and keeping the clean sheet intact.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 1-0 Cardiff City
Within 30 seconds of the restart, the Reds were under pressure with City having their best chance of the game as striker Morgan Wigley fired over from the right.
It wasn’t long before Flavell was called into action again, this time from the left, with winger Cole Fleming cutting inside before striking straight into the gloves of our number one.
Just after the hour mark Chapman won his second penalty after being tackled from behind as Barnsley looked to work the ball into a dangerous area. The referee awarded the spot-kick and Chapman took full advantage again, smashing the ball straight down the middle.
Cardiff looked to get a goal back with most of their attacks coming from Fleming on the left, however, he couldn’t get the ball into the box as he was ushered out wide by right back Luis Lacey or tackled by centre back pairing Alex Joof and Danny Benson.
Chapman had a great chance to complete his hat-trick with five minutes left on the clock after a superb ball from Jalo split the defence, giving the midfielder a one-on-one opportunity. Unfortunately, he took one too many touches and couldn’t get his shot away in time before the onrushing keeper dealt with the danger.
Our U18s travel to Ipswich Town in a fortnight knowing that victory will take them one step closer to achieving a play-off berth.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 2-0 Cardiff City
REDS XI: Flavell (GK), Lacey, Pickard, Joof, Benson, Makessi, Chapman, Nejman, Hartley (Bland), Dyer (Benjamin), Jalo.
Not used: Ravenhill (GK), McKay, Anaman.