In the wake of our 3-1 defeat to Preston North End on Saturday afternoon, Martin Devaney believes experience told as his young side ran out of legs at Oakwell.
Injuries to senior players meant there were starts for Will Hondermarck and Aiden Marsh, while Jason Sraha gave a good account of himself on his Reds debut.
“Certainly, in the first half, I thought we performed well,” began Devaney. “I’m obviously so pleased for Marshy getting his goal, and I think everyone in the stadium was pleased with that. I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded
“Then, second half, I thought we started right, and the endeavour was there – trying to get that press on. But as the game wore on, players were getting tired because it’s such a young team; Jason is making his debut against top Championship players, and that showed in the end.
“They had a little bit more guile and experience, and experience in knowing how to win games.”
Despite the disappointing result, there were smiles all around 17 minutes in as academy graduate and Barnsley born and bred Marsh scored his first professional goal on just his fourth appearance – crashing home after excellent work from Victor Adeboyejo.
There was also a Championship debut for Jordan Helliwell, who was introduced with quarter of an hour to play – three-and-a-half years after he last featured for the Reds.
“It was a massive moment for Marshy,” insisted Devaney. “He’s a local lad who’s come through the academy, and we want to give those boys from the academy an opportunity.
“That’s why today with Jason and Jordan Helliwell coming on, Marshy obviously getting his goal, we’re all really pleased that they can show a little bit of what they’re about.
“I thought Jason performed really well. I know, in the end, he got tired and maybe could have done better for the third goal, but he’ll learn from that. So, there’s no blame; we’re all in this together.
“He’ll learn from that and, hopefully, next season, he can be a contender to be one of those, if we play in a back four, to be one of the two centre-halves, or in a back three.”