Millers record reserve win over Walsall...
Rotherham United’s reserves recorded a 2-0 victory in The Central League Cup over a young Walsall side at Roundwood on Tuesday afternoon.
First half goals from Kuda Muskwe and Jerry Yates proved decisive as Matt Hamshaw’s team, which included two schoolboys in the defence, overcame a youthful Saddlers outfit in the group stage of the competition.
Muskwe shot an early warning sign across the bows of the visitors inside two minutes which required an astute block from a Walsall defender to prevent his goalbound effort on the angle from reaching its destination.
However, the Millers forward only had to wait another four minutes before he did break the Walsall rearguard to find the net. Muskwe took charge of the situation on the edge of the area and ghosted inside with the ball, before firing an effort at goal which Ethan Dawe in the Saddlers goal couldn’t hold and was unfortunate to see squirm out of his grasp and over the line.
The impressive Ben Wiles was denied a second for the hosts not long after following a charge through the middle of the pitch which allowed him to take aim from distance, only to see Dawe atone for his earlier error with an excellent save.
Left back Joe Mattock’s cross yielded a good chance moments later which Muskwe meeting at the back post, but he failed to make a telling connection.
Half an hour had passed when Walsall conjured their most notable opportunity which came from a free kick on the edge of the area. Dan O’Sullivan’s set piece delivery was nicely floated to the back post, where Dylan Parker was unfortunate to see his header well held by Laurence Bilboe.
Five minutes before the interval the visitors threatened again and this time came within inches of a leveller. Parker looked odds on to score this time after racing in behind to latch onto a bouncing ball in the box and must have thought that he had after prodding the ball beyond Bilboe, but watched on with bated breath as his effort trickled agonisingly wide.
The Saddlers were made to pay for that miss in stoppage time of the first half when the creative Wiles forged another opportunity which Yates would gladly received. The Millers forward took the ball in his stride as he raced into the area before firing an effort across the goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
Half time | Reserves 2 v 0 Walsall
Just three minutes of the second half had elapsed when Hamshaw’s side almost added a third through substitute Moussa Diouf. Mason Warren’s pass set him free behind the Walsall defence but a brave attempt at closing down from Dawe in the visitors’ goal was enough to ensure Diouf could only prod his effort narrowly wide of the near post.
Wiles almost turned predator from provider 20 minutes from time with a speculative effort from 25 yards out, having already threatened minutes earlier following a mazy run. Dawe was again called into action to produce a fine save as he tipped the midfielder’s 30 yard strike over the crossbar whilst backpedalling frantically.
Muskwe should have doubled his tally for the afternoon as the game entered the final stages with Wiles again creating the chance. A delightful ball in from a wide free kick picked out the scorer of the Millers first, who was unlucky to see his effort go over the crossbar as he made contact at full stretch at the back post.
The last chance of the game came for Saddlers substitute Tyrone Ruddock, who find himself in behind one-on-one with Bilboe, but was denied in some style by the Millers’ keeper who got down brilliantly to turn away the effort with his legs.
Full time | Reserves 2 v 0 Walsall.
RESERVES | Bilboe, Mattock, Warren, Onariase, Wiles, Mvumbi, Bray, Beeden, Woodcock, Yates, Muskwe.
SUBS | Gratton, Diouf.