Shadow Scholarship | Barnsley 2-1 West Brom

A brace from Jack Bennett helped the Barnsley FC Shadow Scholars reach the semi-finals of the National Football Youth League Cup courtesy of a hard-fought win over West Brom.

Having led 2-0, the Baggies made it a nervy ending with a goal five minutes from time but the Reds held on to secure their place in the final four of the Cup.

They will now face Carlisle United, Burnley FC OR Rochdale AFC North, or Everton FC OR Newcastle United Foundation for a place in the final.

Barnsley couldn’t have got off to a better start as, after just 50 seconds, Bennett received the ball and hit an unstoppable volley on the turn into the top left corner.

Essa N’Dow and Jake Vigrass sent shots over the bar as the Reds continued to dominate the early stages against a solid West Brom outfit.

The visitors should’ve drawn level with just over half an hour played but their striker couldn’t convert from close range after a shot had rebounded off the crossbar into his path.

A well-worked free kick from Bailey Oates and Vigrass saw Barnsley nearly double their lead on the brink of half time but nobody was there to finish the latter’s ball across the face of the goal.

HT: 1-0 

Just as they did in the first half, Mark Tinker’s side began the second period on top and soon got their reward.

Jimmy Pursell won the ball back and broke 50 metres before releasing Bennett, who made no mistake from inside the box, finding the bottom corner to double the lead.

Barnsley kept looking for a third goal which would truly secure their progression with Oates seeing a free kick deflected wide before Harry Mayo fired just past the top corner from Jack Tinker’s drilled cross.

Essa N’Dow was the next to try his luck with his header being denied by a fantastic reaction save before Vigrass’ shot deflected just over the bar.

Vigrass was in the right place to clear a header off the line at the other end shortly afterwards but there was nothing anyone could do to prevent West Brom pulling a goal back with five minutes remaining, the unmarked striker finishing from close range.

Despite a nervy finish, the Reds held on to secure their place in the final four of the NFYL Cup in the first season of the programme running.

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

Substitutes: Sam Awty, Lewis French, Ben Marsh, Sam Cook, Aidan Hargreaves, Brandon Murillo.