Rotherham United’s reserves showed good character to come from behind against Grimsby Town to record a 2-1 win in The Central League.
After Brandon Buckley had opened the scoring in spectacular fashion, Joel Spence headed home an equaliser after a well-timed run into the box, before a classy finish from Jacob Grattin ensured that a predominantly youthful Millers outfit prevailed at Roundwood.
Summer signing Adam Thompson was handed his first competitive minutes in the second string outing on Tuesday afternoon, having had his early Rotherham United career hampered by injury. French winger Julien Lamy was also among the senior players involved while Akeem Hinds and Jake Cooper were also handed starts.
The Millers’ youthful opponents displayed early exuberance befitting of their ages and sent an early warning just three minutes into the fixture. After a stray pass in the home rearguard, Ayodeji Owoeye had chance to shape up to shoot and obliged, only to be denied by a smart stop from Elliott Ellis in goal.
Five minutes later, the Mariners did take the lead and it was in spectacular fashion that they did so. There looked to be little danger when Grimsby skipper Brandon Buckley picked up the ball on the edge of the box, but he proved otherwise, opening up his body to curl a sumptuous effort into the top corner from 20 yards out and make it 1-0.
Goalmouth chances were few and far between after the opener and it took until the 21st minute before the Millers were able to conjure a decent opportunity. That opening fell to Sp after Lamy had headed the ball back into a dangerous area following a cross, but goalkeeper Ollie Battersby made himself big to deny the midfielder from point blank range.
The hosts had knocked on the Grimsby Town door a couple of times and were rewarded for their persistence on the half-hour mark. This time Hinds provided the ammunition with a cross from the left which Spence timed his run to perfection to meet and position himself to plant a header home to make it 1-1.
Half-time | Reserves 1 v 1 Grimsby Town
Lamy proved to be a livewire for the Millers in the final third after the restart, coming close to giving his side the advantage on a couple of occasions. A jinking run into the areas was his first foray of note before a charge onto a through ball provided him with the opportunity to shoot on goal, albeit from a tight angle, with the resultant effort crashing into the side netting.
In between Lamy’s advances, full back Harrison Beeden had almost proven an unlikely goalscorer, arriving late at the back post to expertly steer a volley at goal only to be denied by a flying save from Battersby.
The second half was all Millers pressure and Battersby was kept busy for the duration, being forced into a number of fine saves. The pick of those came from an unorthodox home chance, which saw a ball into the box helped on at the near post and headed for the top corner, until an excellent palmed save ensured the scoreline remained at 1-1.
Lamy continued his search for a goal with his efforts gathering pace as the second half progressed. The Frenchman came close 15 minutes from time with the most precise of his chances, cutting inside 20 yards out to curl a strike narrowly wide of the far post with the goalkeeper beaten.
Gratton was presented with a decent opportunity with just over five minutes remaining and after showing good technique to get over a volley in the box, was unfortunate to see his venomous effort go straight down the middle of the goal and into the ‘keeper’s arms.
Moments later, the same player would be handed another chance to register his name on the scoresheet and this time, Gratton would grasp the opportunity with both hands. After picking up the ball on the edge of the area, the midfielder picked his spot and found the bottom corner with the goalkeeper nowhere near it this time.
With seconds left on the clock, Gratton almost added a quickfire second taking aim from 35 yards with Battersby well off his line, only to see his effort graze the roof of the net.
Full-time | Reserves 2 v 1 Grimsby Town
Reserves | Ellis; Beeden, Cooper, Thompson, Hinds; Lamy, Spence (Etia 77), Peel-Evans, Gateshill (Hodgkinson 59); Gratton, Greaves.
Unused | Hull, Smith, Kenny.