Shadow Scholarship | Carlisle United 1-3 Barnsley FC

The Barnsley FC Shadow Scholars came from behind to begin their Midlands Premier campaign in the National Football Youth League with an impressive victory.

In what was a repeat of last year’s NFYL Cup final, Carlisle went ahead early on but a brace from Josh Brown and a thunderous volley from Jack Bennett saw the Reds avenge that Cup defeat at Hillsborough Stadium.

Carlisle couldn’t have got off to a better start, their striker being played in behind the defence before poking the ball into the bottom corner to put the hosts ahead within the opening five minutes.

A fast start from the defending champions saw them threaten a second but Brandon Murillo came up with a crucial late challenge before Lewis French pulled off a stunning save to turn a curling effort around the post.

The Reds began to grow into the game and went close two times in as many minutes, Brown forcing a strong save from the ‘keeper before Elliot West blazed over from inside the box.

Barnsley deservedly levelled the match three minutes later, Brown’s drilled shot deflecting into the back of the net via a Carlisle defender.

HT: 1-1

Barnsley took the lead with 11 minutes played in the second half, Bennett’s sweet volley from Alex O’Connor’s pinpoint corner crashing into the roof of the net.

They extended their lead just seven minutes later, Brown coolly slotting away his second goal from the penalty spot after Bennett was brought down.

In a dominant second half display, the influential Sandile Masuku continued to pull the strings, putting Ethan Cocker in behind with a classy one-two before the substitute fired just wide.

Carlisle gave Mark Tinker’s side a big scare with 15 minutes remaining but the linesman’s flag was correctly raised before the striker netted from six yards out.

Captain Mason Butcher went close twice and Brown was off target with a late chance to seal a hat-trick but the Reds held on for an opening day victory.