Shadow Scholarship | Barnsley 2-1 Sunderland

Jack Bennett scored a brace as the Barnsley FC Shadow Scholarship came from behind to seal their place in the National Football Youth League Cup final courtesy of a victory over Sunderland Shildon.

The visitors looked like they may snatch a place in the showpiece final after taking the lead midway through the second half but Bennett’s brace turned the game on its head in a dramatic game at Oakwell.

Barnsley started on top and soon had the first chance of the game, with Harry Mayo’s curling effort falling wide of the mark.

Mark Tinker’s side were forced into an early change as Bailey Oates came off injured and was replaced by Brandon Fearn.

In what was a cagey first half, the Reds continued to dominate possession without truly threatening the Sunderland goal.

Mason Butcher beat a couple of defenders before playing in Jake Vigrass, who forced the first save of the game from the visiting ‘keeper with a low drive.

Jake Barton was called into action just before the break, turning away a close-range header from a corner.

HT: 0-0 

In an impressive start to the second half, Bennett could have given the Reds the lead but he couldn’t direct his effort from a tight angle on target.

Fearn drove forward from the defence before playing in Mayo on the right wing, whose cross was just too high for Bennett to turn in.

Sunderland took the lead against the run of play just short of the hour mark, the striker slotting in from close-range after a counter-attack.

A stunning save from the Black Cats’ ‘keeper prevented Bennett from equalising just two minutes later from N’Dow’s ball across the face of the goal.

Two more setbacks followed as Fearn and Jimmy Pursell came off through injury.

Regan Millard and Sam Awty came on in their place, with the latter providing the through ball for Bennett to level the match with a low drive past the ‘keeper.

It was almost like deja vu with five minutes remaining with Awty once again playing Bennett in behind and the striker clinically finishing to complete the turnaround and seal the Reds’ place in the Cup final.

Barnsley XI: Jake Barton, Jack Tinker, Sam Cook, Dom Claxton, Bailey Oates, Mason Butcher, Jimmy Pursell, Essa N’Dow, Jake Vigrass, Harry Mayo, Jack Bennett.

Substitutions: Lewis French, Brandon Fearn, Regan Millard, Ben Marsh, Sam Awty.