Rowe on Target as U23s Beat Barnsley
Monday, 11th Sep 2017 20:54
Goals from Danny Rowe, Ben Folami and Conor McKendry saw Town’s U23s to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Barnsley at Portman Road.
Following a pre-match torrential cloudburst, the young Blues started brightly with Shane McLoughlin whipping over a second-minute cross towards strike pair Ben Morris and Folami but Barnsley keeper Jack Walton was able to claim.
Town continued to dominate but didn’t create a serious chance until the 12th minute when Rowe put them in front with a stunning strike.
Tom Adeyemi, playing his third U23s game as he works towards full match fitness, found McLoughlin in space midway inside the Tykes half and fed Rowe on the right. The former Macclesfield man cut inside before smashing an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net from just outside the box.
Barnsley hit their first shot in the 21st minute, however Josh Kay’s effort from distance having made the most of some hesitancy in the Town midfield flew high and wide.
Two minutes later, McLoughlin wasn’t far away from making it 2-0 after being threaded in on the right of the area by James Blanchfield, but the Irish U18 international shot across the face of goal from a tight angle.
Moments later, Folami cut the ball back from the byline on the right to Adeyemi, but his low drive from the edge of the box was too close to Tykes keeper and skipper Walton.
On 27 Pat Webber was booked for a foul on Dylan Mottley-Henry, then in the aftermath of the freekick Kay shot over from 20 yards.
Within seconds Town went close again when Rowe crossed from the right but Folami was unable to direct the ball goalwards from a tight angle at the far post.
Barnsley had won a succession of freekicks in dangerous positions throughout the half and on the half-hour mark Kay whipped across a dangerous ball from the left which flew across the edge of the six-yard box with Robbie Miller just unable to add the final touch.
In the 38th minute Kay felled Rowe five yards outside the area with the winger in fill flight after being sent away by a Gerken throw. Morris rather wasted the freekick, curling it deep into the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand.
Town were deservedly in front at the break having controlled the half for the most part and might well have been more than the single goal in front. Barnsley’s greatest threat had come from set pieces.
Blues keeper Gerken was forced into action soon after the restart, saving sharply to his right from Matthew Wolfe’s snap-shot inside the area. Louis Rowe scuffed the rebound and Gerken claimed comfortably.
Town again came close to their second goal in the 48th minute when Chris Smith headed Blanchfield’s left-sided corner just wide at the far post.
But the Blues finally doubled their lead in the 54th minute via Folami’s fourth U23s goal of the season.
After excellent work on the left from McLoughlin and Blanchfield, the Australian cut into the area from the left and hit a low right-footed shot into the net off the inside of Walton’s left post.
Just before the hour, Kay struck a 35-yard freekick straight at Gerken, then at the other end Rowe rifled a shot at Walton after McLoughlin’s pacy run down the left and cross. On 65 the 25-year-old winger sent a freekick from 25 yards out well over
Rhys Dolan headed wide for the South Yorkshiremen on 76 moments before being replaced by Kane Swinburn.
Two minutes later, the Tykes should have pulled a goal back. A cross from the right caught a number of players on the way over before reaching Amir Berkouits eight yards out. But, with Gerken coming off his line quickly, the striker blazed over.
As the Blues keeper prepared to take the goal-kick right-back Dylan Crowe, making his second U23s appearance, was replaced by Corey Ndaba.
Moments later Town should have made it 3-0. Morris’s cross from the right was too far in front of Folami but reached McLoughlin at the far post but the Irishman slid in ahead of the ball and it hit him and bounced away from the open goal.
Adeyemi made way in the 83rd minute having got more valuable minutes under his belt and having put in a solid display in the centre of midfield, making one or two breaks into the penalty area to join in with attacks.
The former Cardiff man, who was watched by manager Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor from the stands, could well now be in line for his first senior start for the Blues against Bolton at the weekend.
McKendry came on at left midfield with McLoughlin having moved to right-back and Ndaba at left-back with Webber also making way having suffered an injury. French first-year scholar Lounes Foudil came on for his U23s debut in central midfield.
With a minute and a half remaining sub McKendry worked his way into the penalty area from the left-hand side and feinted to shoot before tucking a low shot beyond Walton and into the far corner of the net.
The final whistle went soon afterwards to confirm a comfortable victory for Gerard Nash’s side, who have now won three in a row and four of their first five league games.
U23s: Gerken, D Crowe (Ndaba 79), Webber (Foudil 84), Adeyemi (McKendry 83), Woolfenden, C Smith, Rowe, Blanchfield, Folami, Morris, McLoughlin. Unused: M Crowe, Patterson.
Barnsley: Walton (c), Wardle, Dolan (Swinburn 76), Wolfe, Fielding, Miller, Mottley-Henry, Kay, Rowe (Greatorex 62), Berkouits, Williams. Unused: Tingle, Ocran, Clarke.
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