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gawthorpe 2We kept up our impressive home record in the U18 Professional Development League yesterday morning, beating Barnsley 3-2 to add to the previous home wins this season against Charlton Athletic, Coventry City and Ipswich Town.

It’s a much changed team from that which kicked off the season with Michael Fowler, Will Harris and Ethan Kershaw all currently out on loan at local non-league clubs. It’s a very young team too with second year scholars such as Dan Moss and Dylon Meredith not currently featuring, presumably injured.

It meant we’d three under-16s on the bench and there was also a change there with coach Danny Cadamarteri away which meant John Townson was in charge. But we dealt with going behind and conceding a soft penalty to win the game and by the end we were deserving winners.

We didn’t start well and, in truth, the first quarter of the game was not particularly good from either side, only coming to life when Barnsley went in front on 24 minutes. It sprung us into life and six minutes later we were level with a brilliant free kick from Kai Smith. The kick was on the left hand side and the wide man curled it round the outside of the wall into the corner of the net.

The rest of the first half was fairly even but seven minutes from the interval Barnsley won a corner on the right. We dealt with it easily enough but as we cleared the ball the referee blew and pointed  to the penalty spot. Apparently he claims there was holding by a Burnley defender but no one else seem to spot it. I confidently predicted that Harry Allen would save it, blind optimism presumably, but he didn’t need to as the Barnsley player fired wide.

Just three minutes into the second half, he was pointing to the same spot again, this time awarding us a penalty for handball. Without the option of seeing it again I couldn’t confirm whether it was or wasn’t but I did think the Barnsley defender was unfortunate, he looked very close to the ball when it was fired at him.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. We didn’t and Mitch George made no mistake from the spot and we were in front for the first time, not for long though. Seven minutes later a poor defensive error proved costly as Barnsley equalised.

But it was our day. Substitute Matt O’Neill was played in on the right hand side of the box. Rather than shoot first time, he moved inside the defender brilliantly before placing his shot past the Barnsley goalkeeper.

They didn’t really threaten an equaliser and we survived reasonably comfortably throughout the remainder of the game including the rather generous five minutes added on.

We are at home again on Tuesday afternoon against Bolton in the Lancashire Youth Cup, but the next home league game will be in four weeks time when we play Hull on 20th October.

The team was: Harry Allen, Kane Patterson, Edon Pruti, Richard Taylor, Matty Rain, Jayden Major (Matt O’Neill 55), Joe Conley, Kian Yari (Lewis Richardson 69), Kai Smith, Terry Mupariwa, Mitch George (Dylan Moonan 86). Subs not used: Joe O’Shaughnessy, Udoka Chimna.

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