Barnsley’s pre-season campaign suffered a blow last night as they were thumped by Championship side Middlesbrough.
Braces rom Kike and Albert Adomah condemned the hosts to their first pre-season defeat as the Reds were outplayed at Oakwell.
Lee Johnson’s men showed early intent, with Manchester United loanee Joe Rothwell storming forward from deep, gliding past two defenders before firing his shot wide.
However, the hosts were lucky to be level at half-time as the hotly-tipped promotion contenders had the best chances. The visitors thought they had broken the deadlock after 15 minutes when Adomah had the ball in the back of the home sides’ net - before the linesman adjudged the Ghanaian international offside. Barnsley’s defence was all at sea from an Adam Clayton corner. Ben Gibson found himself in space after shifting off his marker before putting his header over the bar.
It was the Boro man’s last touch before he came off clutching his hamstring.
The League One side looked as if they had given away a penalty ten minutes before the break when Kike was brought down inside the Reds’ box, but referee Darren England waved for the forward to get back to his feet.
Middlesborough came out firing in a one-sided second half, scoring two inside the first five minutes after the restart. Kike opened the scoring just two minutes into the half, sliding the ball under Dibble from a one-on-one situation.
Two minutes later the Spaniard turned provider for Adomah’s first, leaving the Ghanaian an easy tap-in to double the lead.
Johnson’s men tried to get themselves back into the game, but when Adomah hit a thunderous left-footed strike from outside the box the game was over.
Fifteen minutes from time, Kike rubbed salt into the hosts’ wounds with his second of the night – Adam Clayton played in the 25-year-old whose shot was too powerful for the helpless Dibble.
Meanwhile, highly-rated midfielder Paul Digby is the second Reds youngster to be taken on trial by Manchester United in as many weeks.
The 20-year-old, who came through Barnsley’s youth system, started for United’s Under-21 side in their 1-1 draw against Stockport on Tuesday night.
Barnsley: Dibble, Bree (Roberts 45), Mawson (Wardle 85), Nyatanga (Holgate 45), Smith, Pearson, Rothwell, Watkins, Wilkinson, Phenix (Maris 55).
Subs: Walton, Jackson.
Middlesbrough: Mejias, Husband, Fry, Gibson (Jackson 27), Clayton (Carayol (76), Adomah, Maloney, Nsue, Wildschut, Kike (Forshaw 76), Fabbrini (Reach 60).
Subs: Konstantopoulous, Ripley, Ayala, Leadbitter, Tomlin, Kalas.
SCORERS: Kike 47 75, Adomah 49, 65.