Our U18s were knocked out of the PDL Cup following a 2-1 defeat against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
Jack Goodman’s brace for the visitors was enough to see them qualify for the knockout phase, despite the young Reds equalising through Josiah Dyer.
It was a much-changed line-up for Barnsley, who fielded five U16s in the starting line-up while two U15s were amongst the substitutes in the wake the physical demands of our FA Youth Cup tie on Wednesday evening.
The visitors made a bright start when Owen Scattergood unleashed a half-volley that cannoned back off the crossbar inside the opening exchanges.
Rovers continued to search for the breakthrough as high pressure from the attacking line forced a mistake from the Reds’ defence. However, before Goodman could fire the ball home, Will Thompson swept up the danger, keeping his team in the game.
Some hard work in the defensive midfield positions from Vimal Yoganathan and U16s player Owen Warburton kept Doncaster frustrated as they grafted in the middle of the park, breaking up play and cutting out passes to ensure the Reds didn’t go in at the break behind.
HALF-TIME: Barnsley 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
Our U18s began the second half much more positively than the first as Alex Anaman burst forward and unleashed a shot that a Rovers defender blocked.
Despite that encouraging start, the visitors pull ahead midway through the half when Alex Fletcher picked out Goodman, who had the simple task of prodding home from close range.
However, the young Reds weren’t behind for long as they surged up the pitch following the restart and won a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box. An inviting delivery from Ziggy Kozluk was met by Dyer, who powerfully headed past Jake Oram, bringing parity back to the game.
Shortly after, Rovers regained the lead when Goodman capitalised on uncertainty in the Reds’ backline before rounding Carter-Rodgers and coolly slotting home.
Barnsley frantically searched for an equaliser, as substitute Jack Woodcock helped press the Doncaster back line, however, the Reds’ efforts were too little, too late.
Despite the disappointment of being knocked out of the cup, the experience gained for the younger players to go against a physical and older side was invaluable and will give them the opportunity to build upon different aspects of their games.
FULL-TIME: Barnsley 1-2 Doncaster Rovers
REDS XI: Carter-Rodgers (GK), Kozluk, Lindoloki, Thompson, Swift, Brace, Yoganathan, Warburton, Dyer (C), Probert, Anaman.
Subs: Ravenhill (GK), R Woodcock, Makiessi, J Woodcock, Reid.