Our U23s fell to a 2-0 defeat against Cardiff City in the Professional Development League on Tuesday afternoon.
Goals in either half from Jack Leahy and James Collins were enough to settle the contest in South Wales, as the young Reds suffered a first loss in five outings.
Barnsley were in control for large portions but failed to get the better of Dillon Phillips in the Bluebirds goal.
It did not take long for the Reds to get on the front foot and when Keegan Hartley drew a foul in a dangerous area, it gave Isaac Christie-Davies an early glimpse of goal.
His free-kick effort was lifted over the wall but was tipped over the crossbar by Phillips.
The early exchanges yielded opportunities for both sides and Collins headed wide for the hosts after meeting Jai Semenyo’s cross.
Aiden Marsh caused problems with his movement and trickery but could only sting the palms of Phillips with his long-range effort.
Hartley was the next to try his luck from distance, although Phillips was not called into action this time as the speculative shot flew wide.
Early pressure on the hosts went unrewarded and it was Cardiff who took the lead, edging ahead through Leahy’s powerful strike from the edge of the box.
The Reds were not disheartened, which was evidenced by the endeavour of Marsh to chase a seemingly lost cause, win possession on the byline, and cut the ball back for Christie-Davies.
The midfielder managed to fire off a quick shot but saw his close-range effort blocked.
Goalscoring opportunities dried up in the latter stages of the first half, but Amir Ariely did make a crucial block to thwart a dangerous Cardiff counter-attack.
HALF-TIME: Cardiff City 1-0 Barnsley
The Bluebirds flew out of the traps in the second half, showing intent early on.
They committed bodies forward and went close through James Crole and Collins, but Daniel Jinadu stood up to both challenges.
Following Crole’s effort, he had another stab at goal and fortunately for the Reds, Daniel Benson was on-hand to block on the line.
The Reds then enjoyed chances of their own, although struggled to trouble Phillips.
Harrison Nejman sent an audacious effort over the crossbar following a quickly taken corner before Connor Hodgson’s long-range strike was held comfortably by the Bluebirds goalkeeper.
Marsh was the next to try his luck and saw a low shot find the wrong side of the post after David Bremang pushed the ball into his path.
Bremang then had a chance of his own after embarking on a marauding run, but his powerful strike was sent into a sea of Cardiff bodies.
The Bluebirds managed to keep the Reds at bay before extending their lead late on when Collins pounced on a cross from Leahy to steer past Jinadu.
FULL-TIME: Cardiff City 2-0 Barnsley
REDS XI: Jinadu (GK), Hassan-Smith (Pickard, 71), Hodgson, D Benson, Ariely, Nejman, Christie-Davies, Bremang, Hartley (T Chapman, 81), Marsh (Sherlock, 74).
Not used: Trialist, Dyer.