Our U18s battled hard and fought off a well-structured Nottingham Forest side on Saturday morning, to earn a 3-1 win.
Goals from Josiah Dyer, Josh McKay and Jean Claude-Makiessi saw the young Reds claim a third consecutive victory in their final pre-season game before the upcoming campaign.
Barnsley saw the entirety of the ball during the opening stages and took the lead before Forest could even get a touch.
McKay played his first of many delightful balls into the six-yard box and to the feet of Dyer, who with time and space, fired the ball through the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net.
The Reds remained positive after the goal and continued to see the lion’s share of possession; their quick paced football was a delight to watch.
Another great ball from McKay should’ve seen Barnsley grab their second of the game, though Fabio Jalo’s strike blazed well over the bar and out for a goal kick.
Eventually, Forest began to grow into the game. Their quality was now visible, and a flurry of attacks ensued.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 15th minute when an attacker darted into the box and calmly curled the ball past Rogan Ravenhill in the Barnsley net.
Forest kept the ball well and controlled the game from this point on, letting very little get past their defence. The Reds’ time on the ball was limited, as Forest continued the first half in similar style to how Barnsley started it.
Our visitors’ inability to grab another goal would prove to cost them dearly though, as the teams headed into the break all square.
It was a let off for the young Reds, who perhaps used their near misfortune as motivation to get their heads back into the game.
A fantastic long-ball from Alex Joof met the feet of Mylan Benjamin, who wriggled past the Forest defence and played a ball to McKay in a perfect position to tap home from close range.
Although Barnsley were seemingly running away with the game, it wasn’t over yet. The Forest number nine was presented with a golden opportunity to level the game but from close range, the striker could only clip the ball onto the post.
Soon after, his side were presented with a free-kick in an attacking position. The ball was drifted into the box but before anyone could connect, the linesman’s flag was up for offside. Barnsley held a great line and should be proud of their superior defensive display that was maintained almost all game.
A third Barnsley goal in the dying embers of the game would seal victory. A superb long ball from a Leo Farrell saw Makiessi go through on goal with acres of space. The midfielder had plenty of time to adjust his body and chip the Forest keeper. It was an excellent goal.
Overall, the young Reds will undoubtedly be pleased with the outcome of not just this game, but their pre-season campaign as a whole. An unbeaten set of games will prepare them well in their preparation for next week’s season-opener at home to Swansea City.
Subs: Hyde, Nzondo, Benjamin, Farrell, Anaman, Brace, Trialist.