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17 March 2022



17 March 2022

Following our U18s 2-0 victory away at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday, Tom Harban spoke of his pride of the young Reds' second half performance, making it back-to-back wins in the Professional Development League.

Goals from Keegan Hartley and a trialist in the second half secured three points for our youngsters in Lancashire, despite a less than satisfactory start to the match in the opinion of our young Reds’ boss.

“I thought we were slow getting started, first 45 minutes,” asserted Harban. “It was a very scrappy game, I don’t think we were good enough at the basics, landing on second balls, winning first balls, but we still defended well enough to not really concede many chances.

“So, I just asked at half-time for a bit more intensity to us, a bit more aggression and tempo to our play, play down the sides of the centre halves a little bit more. I think in the second half we did that, which enabled us to get up the pitch and create good opportunities. I think we’ve scored two good goals as well, so yeah, I’m pleased with the second half.”

After the break we looked much more like a Barnsley team we’re used to seeing, with energy and pressing being at the forefront of the improvements for our side.

“To a man, second half, listen they’re going to make mistakes on the ball but the reaction to win it back, their eagerness to get around Wigan and make it uncomfortable for them and stop them trying to get into our half, I thought it was excellent in the second half,” beamed our U18s boss. 

“That’s how we like to play, that’s how I like the players to go and approach every game so that’s why the first 45 was quite disappointing, but after that I thought they were really good in terms of that.”

The upturn in performance also coincided with the introduction of Lloyd Smith into the game, with the striker being a strong focal point in our attack in the second half.

“I thought he looked after the ball,” discussed Harban. “He works his socks off Lloyd without the ball for us which he’s done every game. He just gave us a bit of breathing space when we wanted to play forward and when we got quality up to him, he made sure it stuck up there.” 

The win in Lancashire was a big one in terms of the league picture, with the race for the top two spots intensifying as we enter the few remaining games before the conclusion of the season.

“We’ve got to go and do the same again on Saturday, the objective is they want to be up there challenging”, affirmed Harban.

“There’s four teams fighting for two spots, we’ve got to win, keep winning games however they’ve got to do it, there’s going to be times where we’re not at the races like today in the first half and we’ve got to grind it out a little bit but hopefully we can perform more with quality in the games, we’ve got to go game by game and hopefully we’ll get another three points on Saturday.”

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