Our U18s were beaten 4-2 in an action-packed affair against Sheffield United at the Blades’ training ground on Saturday.
Goals from Lloyd Smith and Matty Doyle helped the Reds lead in the game, but a red card for the latter in the second half increased the difficulty of the test at hand for Tom Harban’s side, and United went on to take control of the contest.
Our young Reds came into the game after a 2-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic in the capital last weekend in the PDL Cup.
The Blades meanwhile were unbeaten in the league this season and had won their last four in a row.
The game began with both sides having an early chance each, with only one side converting, however. Shortly after a shot from Harrison Nejman stung the gloves of United goalkeeper Henry Hampshaw, Josh Smith swept home following a pull back from the byline after seven minutes.
After a frantic start, the match did begin to settle, with neither side managing to create any chance of note. The Reds did come closest in the 18th minute, with Doyle seeing his headed effort from a corner narrowly sneak past the post.
The pressure began to build from Barnsley, and it paid after 23 minutes. Great strength on the left-hand side from Fabio Jalo allowed him to roll his man, drive into the box and cross for Smith who tapped home from close range to level the scores.
Just 10 minutes later, the Reds took the lead. An inswinging corner from Ben Hall swirled in the wind and caused all sorts of problems. Jalo was allowed to fire off an overhead kick which was saved, but the rebound fell to Doyle who gave Barnsley the lead with a deft touch.
The hosts, however, did manage to find an equaliser before the break. Blades midfielder Sydie Peck bent a free-kick around the Reds’ wall and it crept inside the post to send the sides into the break level.
HALF-TIME: Sheffield United 2-2 Barnsley
Shortly after the restart, a scuffle broke out between the two sides, resulting in a flurry of yellow cards distributed by the man in the middle.
There was little flow to the game in the second period, with the momentum of the game disrupted by the earlier incident and a number of niggly fouls.
Despite this, the Reds did have the first real chance of the half. Substitute Theo Chapman was found at the near post, but his effort trickled past Hampshaw’s goal on the hour mark.
The home side were the ones to take the lead in the match for the second time, as Louie Marsh arrived in the area and headed home from a long throw on 61 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse for Barnsley, as goalscorer Doyle was dismissed for bringing down Will Lankshear on 75 minutes. Adding insult to injury, Lankshear then converted the resulting freekick via a wicked deflection which wrong-footed Rogan Ravenhill in the goal and saw the Blades double their lead.
It was one-way traffic for the final 10 minutes of the match, as the Reds tried to salvage something from the derby. The referee showed a second yellow card to Lankshear after a foul on Charlie Hickingbottom, providing a glimmer of hope for Barnsley’s attempt to get back into the contest.
However, the Blades’ defence held strong and sent the young Reds back up the M1 empty handed.
FULL-TIME: Sheffield United 4-2 Barnsley
REDS XI: Ravenhill (GK), Hall, Pickard, Doyle, D Benson, Hickingbottom, Nejman, Goucher, Smith, Hartley, Jalo.
Subs: Flavell, Lacey, Monteiro, Chapman, Dyer.