Our U18s fell to a frustrating 1-0 loss away to Hull City on Saturday morning in a huge smash and grab win for the Tigers, who claimed all three points in the last five minutes.
Despite enjoying more possession and more opportunities throughout the encounter, the young Reds were unable to make their dominance count and lost ground on those at the summit as they chase an end of season play-off spot.
The first chance for Barnsley came a quarter of an hour in, with Ben Hall forcing a routine save from City keeper Tom Macauley, while the resulting corner saw Charlie Hickingbottom head wide.
Our sustained pressure continued as Keegan Hartley tried one from range and an unmarked Lloyd Smith rose highest from a corner, but both failed to hit the target.
The frustration kept building as more openings weren’t taken with Theo Chapman blasting the ball well over.
Our opponents had more cards than created chances in the first half with Hull defender James Carr cautioned after a heavy tackle on Chapman. Then a few minutes later Jake Brown was shown a yellow after pulling the shirt of Smith.
The best chance of the half came in the final moments as Macauley was forced into a superb double save. First a Fabio Jalo curling effort from the edge of the box was palmed away with the rebound falling to Hayden Pickard who also couldn’t take advantage.
HALF-TIME: Hull City 0-0 Barnsley
Straight from the restart, the Reds were on top with Hartley rifling the ball straight at the keeper from distance.
The game needed that moment of magic to turn Barnsley’s misfortune and Jalo nearly found the breakthrough, but his free-kick sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
Jalo seemed to be the most likely player to unlock City’s stubborn defence, but Macauley was always equal to his endeavours. The best chance came with 20 minutes left as Smith intercepted a loose pass before slipping in his strike partner, but Jalo’s low drilled shot was saved and held.
The pressure was relentless on Hull with a succession of corners as we strived to grind out a crucial victory, but still they held onto their clean sheet.
Then, with their only shot in the game, City stole all three points. A free-kick from the left found a man at the back post who headed the ball back across goal for Brown to nod in from close range.
It was harsh on the young Reds, who now have six games remaining of their Professional Development League campaign.
FULL-TIME: Hull City 1-0 Barnsley
REDS XI: Flavell (GK), Hall, Pickard, Hickingbottom, Benson, Joof (Monteiro), Nejman (C), Chapman, Smith, Hartley, Jalo.
Not used: Ravenhill (GK), Dyer, Makiessi, Anaman.