Our U18s continued their pre-season ventures with a compelling 3-2 triumph on the Oakwell training pitches on Tuesday afternoon.
Emmaisah Nzondo, Leo Farrell and Luis Lacey were on the scoresheet as the young Reds overcame adversity to score three goals and claim victory against a strong American academy side.
The early exchanges were end to end and a quick-paced start lead to numerous attacks from both teams.
The opposition’s number nine came the closest to scoring in the opening portion of the game when he was played a ball which saw him go through on goal. The striker, staring down a Trialist in the Barnsley net, shot just wide of the target – it was a let off for Barnsley.
It was the visitors who struck first as their attacking efforts were rewarded with a goal in the 23rd minute. The number nine found a pocket of space and as soon as the ball was played to him, fired it hard and high into the roof of the net.
Shortly after the opener, the Reds were on the attack, eager to get back into the game. A dazzling run from Nzondo was stopped prematurely as an apposition player slid in, ultimately resulting in a penalty kick being awarded.
Mylan Benjamin now had a golden chance put his side back into the game. He shot low and to the left, but the keeper guessed right, pulling off a marvellous save.
Barnsley wouldn’t have to wait long for a leveller, though as Alex Anaman played a wonderful ball into the box, with Nzondo lashing into the back of the net after an initial parry from the opposition keeper.
His goal was a real poachers finish and it would soon spur his team on to cause more threats and open the floodgates.
Less than five minutes after their goal, Barnsley had a second. The ball was played on the ground to Lacey, who confidently struck the ball past the despairing keeper.
Barnsley came into the second half full of confidence; the two goals undoubtedly changed their outlook on the game and they were eager to put the game to bed.
Mere minutes after the restart, Cole Hyde’s low cross found Farrell in the six-yard box, before the number nine smashed the ball into the net, giving the keeper no chance of stopping it.
The Reds were now in complete control of the game and were making it difficult for the opposition to get some rhythm to their play. Our American visitors were still knocking on the door but were limited to very few chances by the Barnsley defence.
With 62 minutes on the clock, the ball fell to the opposition’s number nine who in acres of space, positioned himself perfectly and fired a powerful shot into the back of the net. Our Trialist goalkeeper came close to getting a hand on it but couldn’t quite manage to stop it.
A slight lapse in concentration meant Barnsley were now only one goal ahead, but they saw the contest out professionally and managed to seal a narrow win.
Overall, a positive and dominant performance from an undaunted Reds side.