Academy defeated by Fleetwood but advance in cup...
Rotherham United’s Academy booked their place in the next round of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, despite ending their group campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Fleetwood Town.
The Millers youngsters suffered their first defeat in 2017/18 on the road at Fleetwood despite Aaron Ibe’s reply to give his side hope in the final stages of the game.
Lead Professional Development Phase Coach Ciaran Toner admitted that he pleased to see his side advance despite defeat and believes the experience of an overnight stay for a different competition will have provided his players with a vital learning curve in their development.
“It was a good opportunity for us for numerous reasons. It offered us the chance to stay overnight because of the distance which gave the players the chance to experience the first team environment,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“It could have been a draw. Do I think we would have deserved it? Probably not, but only because we underperformed on the day and that's testament to how the lads have been playing so far this season.
“Although we've lost the game I think it was an excellent opportunity for the players to learn about game management and game preparation.
“We've still gone through and we've had three games and won two in the mini-group. We've finished as the highest second place in our remit and I think the boys have deserved to go through.
“I think it's the first time the club have gone through to the second stages which is a great reflection of the hard work that we're putting in to try and develop these players.”
The Millers youngsters were dealt an early blow when the hosts took the lead in blustery conditions before a second looked likely to condemn them to defeat, but Ibe’s late strike set up a finish that saw the visitors apply some late pressure.
“Leading up to the goal we defended quite a lot of corners that had a strong wind with them and we showed some good resilience to that,” Toner continued.
“Unfortunately, on that one occasion we failed to stop a cross and we ended up being 1-0 down.
“We made a change at half time and we felt that we could change things around and mix things up and we started the second half really well.
“To then be pushing on and trying to get goals to get back into it is obviously going to leave you a little bit susceptible to counter attacks and they ended up scoring late on.
“We had an instant reply to that late on and had about six or seven minutes of pressure towards the end.
“They've been unbeaten and that's our first loss and in terms as performance-wise as a group we've set high standards.”
Millers | McMahon, Atherton, Hinds, Murr, Southern-Cooper, Ibe, James, Osborne (Mvumbi 73), Kayode, Maguire, Hutchinson (Carlton 45).
Unused | Johnson, Beeden, Martin.