Striker Marc McNulty gave Sheffield United an injury scare after limping off after just ten minutes of his side’s Professional Development League victory over Barnsley at Stocksbridge yesterday.
But, as the saying goes, one man’s misery is another’s misfortune and it was McNulty’s replacement off the bench, Tyler Smith, who fired both goals as Travis Binnion’s young Blades extended their unbeaten run to nine games.
The impressive Smith had only been on the field a matter of seconds when he opened the scoring, rounding Reds goalkeeper Jack Walton and slotting home. McNulty appeared to pick up a foot injury after being accidentally trodden on by a Barnsley defender, and couldn’t shake off the knock.
Stefan Scougall, again getting valuable game-time in a strong Blades squad including Aaron Ramsdale, McNulty and James Wilson, made the second with a great run on the right, before Smith converted his cross after holding off two defenders.
Walton was perhaps a touch fortunate when he saved one Blades effort with his face, but he was in full control moments later when he tipped over David Brooks’ dipping volley.
Barnsley were back in the absorbing contest just before the hour mark, when substitute Louis Rowe pounced on some hesitant defending and rounded Ramsdale to slot home.
Barnsley pushed hard for an equaliser but United, marshalled by the excellent Wilson, Callum Semple and Regan Slater, held out.
United: Ramsdale, Bennett, Mallon, Wilson, Kelly, Semple, Slater, Scougall (Ford 64), McNulty (T. Smith 10), Brooks, Hallam (Hirst 62). Unused: Graham, Warhurst.
Reds: Walton , Proctor, Rodriguez, Swift, Dolan, Carvell (Saeed, 85), Wolfe, Palmer, Charles (Rowe, 46), Patrick, Brown (Tingle, 79). Unused: Greatorex, Lund.