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Report: Bristol City Under-23s 4-1 Barnsley Under-23s

Bristol City Under-23s secured back-to-back wins in the Professional Development League with a 4-1 victory over Barnsley. 

City boasted different scorers for all four goals, starting with Liam Walsh’s converted penalty to draw the Robins level. Sammie Szmodics doubled their lead, before Niclas Eliasson fired home and Antoine Semenyo rounded off an afternoon’s work.

Luke Williams named an experienced side for the fixture at Ashton Gate, with Pedro Pereira, Walsh, Eliasson, Szmodics, Hakeeb Adelakun and Semenyo all included in the starting XI.

Elsewhere, Niki Mäenpää - who is continuing his return from injury – captained the side, while Ashley Williams completed 65 minutes in City colours.

It was the hosts who started the brighter of the teams and having won two corners in the opening five minutes, Adelakun went close to opening the scoring, only for his angled shot to flash inches wide of the post.

The visitors responded to the early threat and against the run of play scored the game’s first goal. Elliot Simoes pinched possession from the City defence and broke into the box, before nestling a shot into the bottom corner.

As Williams’ side looked to play their way back into the game, they were presented with the perfect opportunity as Rudi Pache, under considerable pressure from Eliasson, was adjudged to handle the ball inside the area.

Walsh was quick to nominate himself for the penalty and the former Everton man confidently struck his spot-kick down the middle, with Jake Greatorex diving to his right.

The Barnsley shot-stopper was called into action moments later as he palmed away Semenyo’s angled strike, but he couldn’t do the same when presented with a one-on-one situation against Szmodics.

Semenyo thread a delightful pass through the heart of the Tykes’ defence to spot the run of Szmodics, and with Greatorex racing from his line, the summer recruit showed excellent composure in curling a strike into the back of the net.

With the half-time whistle fast approaching, the Robins extended their advantage. The lively Szmodics picked up possession on the edge of the six-yard box and in an attempt to lay the ball off to Adelakun, the ball bobbled through to Eliasson, who finished from a yard.

City started the second half at a similar tempo they had ended the first and within two minutes of the restart, Semenyo powered an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net, after a neat lay off from Szmodics.

Semenyo went close to his second when he was picked out by Barney Soady’s shin-high cross, but much to his frustration his close range effort crashed against the crossbar.

Despite their three-goal cushion, the Robins maintained their attacking intensity with Eliasson, Tyreeq Bakinson and Szmodics all taking aim. The latter did find a way past the busy Greatorex, after converting Soady’s deep cross, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Barnsley pushed in search of what would have only been a consolation goal, but Mäenpää was alert to deny Simoes’ close-range strike before substitute Kole Lambert’s shot from distance was comfortable for the 34-year-old.

The young Robins will look to extend their winning run to three consecutive matches when they return to league action away to Leeds United on Sunday (September 1st, 1pm).

Starting XI: Mäenpää, Pereira (Rees 65’), Soady, Bakinson, Williams (Harrison 65’), Baldwin, Eliasson (J Smith 75), Walsh, Semenyo, Szmodics, Adelakun. Subs not used: Buse, Day.

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