Barnsley won 4-2 on penalties to pick up a bonus point in their Checkatrade Trophy Group F tie against Everton Under-21s after a 1-1 draw at Oakwell.
Ryan Hedges’ fine first-half strike was cancelled out by Bassala Sambou’s close-range header, forcing a shoot-out which saw former Everton academy graduate Adam Davies save two spot-kicks against his old club to edge the Reds closer to the next phase.
Daniel Stendel handed a first start to striker Cauley Woodrow as the Barnsley head coach made 10 changes to the side that beat Southend at the weekend, while Zeki Fryers also appeared for the first time since the end of last season.
The closest the Reds came to carving a first proper chance was 10 minutes in when George Moncur slipped Hedges into the box but his pull-back to Jacob Brown was cleared before the striker could get a shot away.
At the other end, Sambou sliced at thin air following good work down the left for Everton’s first sniff of goal two minutes later.
The Tykes finally tested Joe Hilton in the 34th minute when Woodrow picked up possession and curled a decent effort towards the top-right corner from 22 yards, forcing the goalkeeper to palm away for a corner.
The breakthrough came five minutes before half-time thanks to Hedges’ rasping low drive. A short corner routine appeared to go wrong before space opened up for Hedges to fire left-footed into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Before the restart Lloyd Isgrove replaced Woodrow as Stendel tinkered with the line-up, meaning Ben Williams went to left-back as goal-scorer Hedges moved onto the wing.
In the 50th minute Davies’ first call of action was to collect a tame effort from Josh Bowler but soon the Wales international was picking the ball out of his net.
Sambou was completely unmarked two yards from goal and he duly nodded Bowler’s in-swinging corner into the roof of the net with 53 minutes played.
While Barnsley were controlling possession, the Everton youngsters showed flashes of promise with their pace out wide as Manasse Mampala cut inside after 72 minutes but could only shoot straight at Davies.
The Reds could have avoided the impending penalty shoot-out half-way through the four added minutes had Isgrove been expecting Mike-Steven Bahre’s delivery but the winger stabbed his effort straight at Hilton.
The two teams played for an extra point from the spot and Davies saved twice from Boris Mathis and Shayne Lavery, as all four Reds penalties were converted by Moncur, Brown, Bahre and Mamadou Thiam.
Barnsley: Davies, Fryers, Hedges (Thiam 60), Moncur, Bird, Jackson, J. Williams, Woodrow (Isgrove 46), B. Williams, Adeboyejo (Bahre 76), Brown.
Subs not used: Greatorex, Lindsay, Helliwell, Moon.
Everton U21s: Hilton, Browning, Adeniran, Bowler, Sambou, Feeney, Markelo (Mathis 90+4), Kiersey, Ouzoundis, Mampala (Lavery 86), Astley.
Subs not used: Hewelt, Simms.
Referee: Matthew Donohue