City’s under-18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup at the second-round stage with a 3-2 extra-time defeat to category-two Barnsley at Oakwell.
Despite the young Bantams' relentless and valiant efforts to force the game beyond 90 minutes, twice coming from behind to draw level, it was the Tykes who edged the tie, and will host Lincoln City in round three.
Inside the opening 10 minutes, Barnsley acted swiftly in their attempts to break the deadlock. Following a mix-up at the back between Zac Hadi and Fin Gledhill, Emmaisa Nzondo darted in to challenge for the ball. Gledhill was deemed to have caught Nzondo, presenting the hosts with a penalty.
It was Nzondo who stepped up to take it, after coming off the bench at the University of Bradford Stadium on Tuesday for Barnsley's first team against the Bantams in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, yet he was brilliantly denied by a combination of Hadi’s immense save and the woodwork.
City had shown tremendous defensive strength in the first 45 but were finally undone four minutes before the interval. A header into the box was brought down by Luke Alker who turned his man and slotted it into the bottom corner to give the hosts the advantage.
The Bantams began with a more attacking approach in the second half which became evident when an hour in, Max Murray began to cause trouble. He raced away down the right-hand side and whipped a low ball into the feet of Gabe Wadsworth.
The City skipper was only denied the equaliser due to a solid block at the back post from a Barnsley trialist.
The opportunity was a sign of things to come, as City soon found the leveller through Murray himself.
Dylan Wilkinson showed great skill to hold the ball up in front of Barnsley’s backline before sliding a pass into Murray. His initial shot was blocked but the rebound was thundered into the net, pulling Neil Redfearn's side deservedly level.
However, the score was not tied for long as two minutes later, substitute Kieran Graham poked home a cross aimed at the near post, restoring the Tykes' advantage.
City rallied once again. Wadsworth was pulling all the strings in midfield and 83 minutes in, his great skill and dribbling into the box was ended by a cynical foul. Harry Ibbitson claimed the ball and took it to the penalty spot.
The Bantams frontman sent Ravenhill the wrong way from 12 yards to slot the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner and drag the visitors level again/
The final stages of the 90 minutes saw a nice passing move find City's Ollie Thompson on the edge of the box. He hit a looping shot which forced Ravenhill into making a difficult save, tipping it over the bar and ensuring an extra half-hour would be played.
100 minutes were on the clock when Barnsley regained the lead for the third time. A corner swung in deep was met by the head of the trialist who was denied by the crossbar. Yet, Nzondo was on hand to convert the rebound from close range.
City refused to accept defeat, and seconds before half-time in extra-time, Franklin Denison hit a curling effort from 20 yards out. His attempt looked destined for the top corner, but Ravenhill managed to tip the ball out for a set-piece.
The second period was another end-to-end encounter with the young Bantams pushing hard to send the tie to a penalty shoot-out, but Barnsley held on to edge the encounter and advance to round three.
CITY STARTING XI: Zac Hadi, Dylan Wilkinson, Lewis Boney (Zante Rose-Campbell 123), Ollie Thompson, Leon Brooks, Fin Gledhill (Mahmoud Mohamed), Max Murray, Franklin Denison, Harry Ibbitson, Gabriel Wadsworth, Mo Sedibeh (Bilal Hussain 5’ (George Goodman 54’)). SUBS NOT USED: George Lord, Mohamed Fikri.
BARNSLEY STARTING XI: Rogan Ravenhill, Ziggy Kozluk, Geoffrey Lundoloki, Trialist A, Jonathan Bland, Bayley McCann, Vimal Yoganathan (Kieran Graham 45’), Malachi Tommy-Mbogba, Luke Alker, Rafael Monteiro, Emmaisa Nzondo. SUBS NOT USED: Jake Andrassey, Will Thompson, Jack Woodcock, Kallum Reid, Owen Warburton, Robson Woodcock.