Barker pleased with youth team win...
Rotherham United’s Academy Manager Garreth Barker was delighted with the way his side played in their 3-1 victory over Burton Albion in the Youth Alliance Cup. The Millers went into the game on the back of a narrow defeat at home to Hull City, and despite an encouraging performance, Barker was keen to see his side add a result to their performance in the cup.
“We went away to Burton, and we made a conscious decision to play the game down because a couple of the boys get up a bit for it and the adrenaline gets going and has them charging out of the blocks. Instead we wanted to play our own game through the phases and do things how we wanted to. In fairness it was a good performance by both teams but I thought we had the better chances and our play in the final third was significantly enhanced from the previous game with a lot more composure. One of the factors of that was that we were willing to come backwards into the middle third and not try to force things. I think this allowed us to move their back four round and start to develop little routines to utilise.”
Michael Williamson scored two goals in the game, stroking home after a defensive lapse to open the scoring and pouncing on a loose ball from Reece Lucas’ long throw either side of Jake Fenton doubling the lead. However, an under hit pass back in the second period got the home side back into the game meaning that the Millers are still yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
“One of my main pre-match aims was to keep a clean sheet which we didn’t manage but these things will happen at youth team level and the positive to take from it is that when you ask the player what went wrong he explains that he knew he was wrong and didn’t know why he did it, so he’s already learned from the fault and you don’t have to reinforce it. Overall I was really really pleased for the boys.”
For the second goal, Andy Norfolk provided an intuitive flick that sent goalscorer Fenton through and Barker says that the technical ability that the players possess often goes unnoticed.
“According to the player it was a purposeful action. We’re still not sure and the jury is still out on that one, although it was a touch of genius if he meant it. Sometimes you watch them do stuff in training and just think ‘wow’ the only problem then is when they don’t actually know what they’ve done. Some stuff is just instinct.”
It sets up a Yorkshire derby in round two as the young Rotherham outfit will travel to West Yorkshire to face Bradford City who currently have a perfect six wins from six, record in the league.
“It gives us a good tie against Bradford who are one of the stronger teams in the group, and if we play how we did against Burton and Hull then we fancy ourselves to give anyone a good game of football to play how we want to.”
Highlights of the game are available here: