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Match Reports


22 July 2023

Match Reports


22 July 2023

Barnsley gained more valuable pre-season minutes ahead of the forthcoming campaign in a friendly outing at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday afternoon.

Seven members of the Reds’ first team squad featured for the duration in what was an entertaining encounter at the hosts’ training ground.

The first half passed with little incident as both sides failed to gain a foothold in the contest. Liam Roberts, fresh from joining on loan from Middlesbrough earlier in the week, had to be alert to keep out Harry Leonard and Dilan Markanday, while the former was also denied by Kacper Łopata’s brave block, which left our defender winded having took a rather painful hit to the nether regions.

Adam Phillips came closest for the Reds with a trademark long range drive that zipped along the saturated turf and skidded just wide of the upright.

There were signs of cohesive interplay, too, for Barnsley, as we linked up well in midfield before Nicky Cadden fired a low cross into the box that narrowly evaded the incoming Oli Shaw shortly before the break.

HALF-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Barnsley

If the first period had been short of action, the second was anything but as the match sparked into life on the hour mark when Rovers were awarded a penalty after Murkanday was upended in the box.

Up stepped Leonard, but he was thwarted by a superb Roberts save as the Reds’ stopper plunged brilliantly to his left to tip the ball wide of the post.

Blackburn began to turn the screw and Harley O’Grady-Macken struck the woodwork before Leonard’s follow-up was somehow shovelled to safety by Roberts in a crazy goalmouth scramble.

But the hosts wouldn’t be denied a third time and Leonard was on hand to capitalise on uncertainty in the Reds’ backline, stealing in to round Roberts and slot home.

Moments later, however, we found a leveller when Devante Cole worked space in the left channel and picked out James Norwood – introduced at the interval – who made no mistake from six-yards as he steered into the top corner.

Rovers were awarded a second penalty soon after, and this time John Buckley took responsibility and found the bottom left corner, despite Roberts guessing correct again.

In the blink of any eye, the hosts had a third as Zak Gilsenan burst through on goal and rifled an unstoppable drive in at the near post.

Norwood halved the deficit with 10 minutes remaining as he expertly intercepted a loose pass in the final third and raced clear before producing a fine chip over the onrushing Aynsley Pears.

The Reds’ number nine then rattled the crossbar with a magnificent curling strike, while Pears thwarted Łopata on the rebound with a smart block as we searched for a second equaliser.

But Rovers put the game beyond doubt on the counter-attack as Tom Bloxham added a fourth with a close range finish.

Barnsley netted a late consolation with the last kick of the game when Cole slid in to connect with Cadden’s cross from point blank range as the referee called time on a seven-goal thriller.

FULL-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Barnsley


REDS XI: Roberts (GK), Cotter (Trialist), James (Shepherd), Łopata, Kitching, Cadden, Phillips, Kane, Styles (Chapman), Shaw (Norwood), Cole.

Not used: Killip (GK), Winfield, Makiessi, Marsh.

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