A youthful Rotherham United Reserve team were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Hartlepool United at Roundwood in the Final Third Development League.
In front of a watching Neil Redfearn, Academy Manager Garreth Barker oversaw a spirited effort by the Millers who dominated the early exchanges.
After taking a 2-0 lead through Jerry Yates and Kuda Muskwe, the Millers were pegged back before the break. After a battling second half performance the visitors won the game with four minutes remaining with Scott Fenwick bagging his second goal of the match.
With only Yates having featured at professional level out of the squad of 16, it was a real opportunity for the Millers’ Academy prospects to shine. They didn’t disappoint after a lively start to the game. On 14 minutes Darnelle Bailey-King crossed low to the back post where Yates was on hand to side foot home to give Rotherham a well deserved lead.
At the other end first year scholar Harry Fidler made a smart low save to deny raiding Pools' full-back Scott Howes. Just before the half hour mark the Millers doubled their advantage. Yates controlled a pass inside by Mason Warren before sliding a ball in behind for Muskwe, who coolly rounded the ‘keeper before slotting into an empty net.
Hartlepool hit back straight away when Brad Walker sailed a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards leaving Fidler no chance. After an important interception by Bradley Peace-McDonald denied Hartlepool a clear cut chance, the visitors managed to break through again on 40 minutes when Fenwick showed neat footwork before firing past Fidler.
After the break the visitors could have taken the lead but Fenwick headed over when well placed, and Peace-McDonald fired away from behind his ‘keeper after good work by Kudus Oyenuga.
On 56 minutes Muskwe leaped at the back post to meet a Bailey-King cross, but headed across goal when well placed to hit the target. Back down the other end and the Millers had Adam Saxton to thank for a goal-line clearance after a Fenwick strike.
The young Millers side held their own and seemed set to record a notable point, but they were undone on 86 minutes when Fenwick met a cross from Oyenuga to seal the win.
Rotherham: Fidler; Saxton (Osborne 86), Abraham, Peace-McDonald, Smalley, Warren, Potts (Redmayne 68), Wiles (Martin 88), Bailey-King, Yates, Muskwe.
Subs not used: Johnson, Dickinson.
Hartlepool: Carson; Howes, Bates, Tate, Jones, Hawkins, Green, Walker, Nelson-Addy, Fenwick, Oyenuga.
Subs not used: Jewson, Dawson, Wood, Richardson, Elliott.