Rotherham United advanced into round two of the FA Youth Cup after a dramatic 7-6 penalty shootout win over Fleetwood Town at New York Stadium.
The match finished 1-1 after extra-time after the Cod Army led through Kim Willoughby but it was quickly cancelled out by a Michael Williamson free-kick. After chances for both teams, the match went to penalties with the Millers advancing after Danny Vile missed in sudden death.
Fleetwood began the game brightly with Keano Deacon trying his luck from distance but he dragged his shot wide of Charlie Bryan’s near post.
On 15 minutes the visitors tried their luck from distance again when Conor Smith fired in a shot from 30 yards, which flew just wide of Bryan’s near post.
Millers striker Ayrton Bevins showed some silky footwork with a jinking run into the area, but as he headed to the by-line his cross was blocked, with the resulting corner cleared away.
A minute later the same player was again causing problems with another probing run into the area, but once again a last ditched block denied him the chance to test Oliver Martin.
After a good spell for the Millers, Fleetwood reminded Garreth Barker’s side of what they were capable of after Aden Wainwright flashed a header wide of the far post, after a cross from the right.
On 33 minutes the impressive Jordan Lazenbury picked up possession on the angle, before a dipping half-volley which sailed just wide of the far post.
Williamson came the closest to testing Martin when after a scramble in the penalty area, he fired in a goalbound effort which was blocked in front of the Fleetwood stopper.
Rotherham United 0 v 0 Fleetwood Town
The Millers started the second half much brighter, clearly playing higher up the field as Fleetwood found themselves pushed back.
As the game approached the hour mark the Millers almost made the breakthrough when a corner to the back post was headed against the upright by Danny Rowe.
Fleetwood responded with a chance of their own when Willoughby was slid in on goal on the angle, but his low drive was well smothered by Bryan.
The impressive Bevins almost made a name for himself on 61 minutes when he tried a spectacular 45 yard lob which beat the ‘keeper but landed narrowly wide.
Fleetwood responded again with their clearest chance of the game so far. A ball forward from the back was latched onto by sub Jonny Conway, he drew out the Millers defence before playing in Willoughby who drove the ball high and wide from 12 yards.
The game was now wide open with both sides going looking to attack. The Millers were desperately unlucky when Williamson turned his opponent in the area with a terrific body swerve, then from a tight angle crashed his shot against the underside of the bar and out.
More good football from the Millers followed when an accurate ball forward from Reece Lucas was touched into the path of sub Jerry Yates by fellow sub Andy Norfolk whose low drive was parried by Martin.
Just when it looked like the Millers were in full control they were hit with a sucker punch on 71 minutes. A deep cross from the right from Willoughby was headed in at the back post by sub Conway.
The Millers responded instantly with a clever piece of thinking by Williamson. A great run by Bevins drew the foul from the Fleetwood defence, and whilst Martin was assembling his wall, Williamson took a quick free-kick firing the ball into the bottom corner.
The home team were now in the ascendancy, and a swirling free-kick into the area was fumbled by Martin but after a scramble, Fleetwood eventually hacked it off the line.
After a scrappy final 10 minutes the game finished all square and extra time was required.
After a re-shuffle at the back Rowe was pushed further forward and the Millers went to a back three. It was Rowe who had the first effort of extra-time with a long range drive which flew over Martin’s crossbar.
Fleetwood sub Shane Glean stung the palms of Bryan who palmed his effort wide, then from the resulting corner Glean fired just wide of the upright.
In the second half of extra-time the Millers had two appeals for a penalty after challenges on Rowe and Bevins but both were turned away.
In the closing stages Willoughby fired over from just inside the area for the visitors, whilst in stoppage time Harley Wigley had a header cleared off the line, but the two sides couldn’t be separated and the match went to penalties.
Lucas hit the post with the first spot kick for the Millers, whilst Dominic Barrett fired into the corner for Fleetwood. Williamson had his low drive saved by Martin, but Robbie Bromley crashed his shot against the bar. Yates got the Millers off the mark in the shootout with a low drive, and then Bryan pulled off a brilliant save to deny Willoughby. Norfolk stroked home, then ‘keeper Martin stepped up to beat his opposite number to make it 2-2. Rowe slotted in to make it 3-2 and Conway via the underside of the bar made it 3-3. Bevins sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to make it 4-3 and Crowley blasted his spot kick down the middle to level again. Wiles comfortably converted, as did Smith to make it 5-5. Wigley made it 6-5 to the Millers but Matthew Williams made it 6-6. Cadman scored as the shootout continued but Vile missed low down as the Millers ensured a 7-6 win and passage into round two.
Rotherham United 1 v 1 Fleetwood Town
(Millers win 7-6 on penalties)
Rotherham: Bryan; Lucas, Wigley, Rowe, Johnson (Hallatt 91), Gibson (Norfolk 58), Wiles, Williamson, Cadman, Bell (Yates 58), Bevins.
Subs not used: Ramsdale, Fenton.
Fleetwood: Martin; Williams, Muscat, Barrett, Vile, Willoughby, Lazenbury (Crowley 93), Bromley, Smith, Deacon (Glean 72), Wainwright (Conway 52).
Subs not used: Bleeker.