Town’s U23s secure third consecutive win against Barnsley
- Mark Hudson’s side win 3-1 away at Barnsley
- Cup-tied Alex Pritchard scores twice in 75 minutes for the U23s
- Rarmani Edmonds-Green scores Town’s other goal
Mark Hudson’s Under-23 side secured a third consecutive win after beating Barnsley 3-1 in Friday’s Professional Development League North match at Oakwell Training Ground.
Hudson handed starts to Alex Pritchard, who is cup-tied for Town’s Emirates FA Cup match against Manchester United, and Jon Stanković, who once again played a planned 45 minutes in central defence as he steps up his recovery from a long-term injury.
Barnsley had much of the early possession and went closest to opening the scoring when Kane Swinburn struck the post seven minutes in, following good work from Louis Walsh.
A few minutes later and the home side took the lead after striker Victor Adeboyejo headed home a looped cross from the left, which Town’s defence was unable to deal with.
Hudson sent his side out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and full-back Jordan Williams caused the home side problems down the right-hand side, before firing just over the bar from 18 yards midway through the first half.
Town soon began to pile on the pressure. Pritchard, who had a number of good early chances, fired a fierce low effort just wide on the half-hour mark, and midfielder Scott High nearly celebrated his 17th birthday in style as he went close with a looping effort from the edge of the box which was only inches too high.
Minutes later and Hudson’s side finally found the equaliser. Dom Tear, who scored in the U23s’ previous two games, this time turned provider as his in-swinging corner was headed home by 19-year-old centre-back Rarmani Edmonds-Green.
Barnsley had a chance to re-take the lead on the stroke of half-time, but winger Amir Berkovits chose to go for goal from a narrow angle and fired the ball across the face and wide. The two sides went into the break level, with Town having the best of the first-half chances.
As was the case on Monday against Sheffield Wednesday, Hudson brought on Romoney Crichlow-Noble in place of Stankovic as Town’s only half-time change.
Hudson saw his side continue to pile on the pressure as the second half got underway. Pritchard played an excellent low pass through to Rekeil Pyke, who was looking for his third goal for the U23s since returning from a loan spell at Port Vale last month, but the centre forward fired the ball just wide of the far post.
Hudson’s men were soon rewarded for their dominance as Pritchard found space on the edge of the box before firing a powerful strike into the top corner, leaving Barnsley’s ‘keeper Jake Greatorex helpless, to give Town the lead after 56 minutes.
Olly Dyson, who scored in Town’s 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the week, replaced Pyke up-front and instantly made an impact. Town had the ball in the net following good build-up play in the final third, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
It was only ten minutes later that Town finally doubled their lead, and it was Pritchard again with the goal. Dyson did well to win the ball back in the area before laying it off to Scott High, who found Pritchard on the edge of the box. The midfielder then superbly looped the ball over the Barnsley ‘keeper into the far corner of the net to give Hudson’s side a two-goal cushion. Pritchard has now scored four goals in his last three starts for the U23s and the First Team.
Barnsley came agonisingly close to a second goal just minutes later, but brilliant defensive work from Williams to clear the ball off the line kept Town’s two-goal lead intact.
The pace of the game slowed in the final 15 minutes, with Town having most of the possession late on. Barnsley captain Adam Lund had the home side’s best chance in that time, firing a long-range shot over the bar, but it wasn’t enough to trouble Hudson’s side and Town held on for their fifth league win in seven games.
The result moves Town ahead of today’s opponents in the table with 27 points after 22 games.
Highlights of the game will be available on #HTTV on Sunday.
Town’s Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1):
Ryan Schofield; Mason O’Malley, Jon Gorenc Stanković (Romoney Crichlow-Noble, 46’), Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jordan Williams; Scott High, Regan Booty; Dom Tear, Alex Pritchard (Aaron Rowe, 76’), Lewis O’Brien (c); Rekeil Pyke (Olly Dyson, 57’)
Luke Mewitt, Micah Obiero