Millers defeated in final reserve fixture...
Rotherham United’s second string ended an impressive 2018/19 Central League season with a 3-1 defeat at home to Doncaster Rovers.
The Millers ran eventual league winners Wigan Athletic close but ultimately couldn't overcome the Latics, who secured the title with a win over Morecambe on the final day.
Will Longbottom opened the scoring for the visitors before Matt Palmer’s sumptuous free kick levelled the scoring, but it was Rovers who kicked on, with Reives Boocock netting a brace to ensure three points in the reserve table for his side.
Matt Hamshaw took charge of a mixed side in the club’s final Central League fixture of the 2018/19 campaign, with experience coming with the inclusion of senior professionals including Darren Potter, Matt Palmer and Ben Wiles.
Otherwise the Millers named a side made up of Academy players, with a young trialist also featuring in the reserve clash with near-neighbours Doncaster Rovers.
The visitors made the brighter start to the encounter at a warm Roundwood and Hamshaw’s side had Price to thank for the scores remaining level just four minutes into the game. Reives Boocock’s clever turn was followed by a powerful snapshot, which was expertly palmed around the corner by the Millers’ stopper.
Rovers took the lead just one minute later though and this time Price was powerless to resist after Will Longbottom charged into the penalty area and unleashed a venomous strike to the far corner, which the former Sheffield Wednesday stopper got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Following stoppages for injuries to Harrison Beeden and then Wiles, the Millers levelled the scores from a perfectly-executed set piece. A nicely placed free kick just over 20 yards out was taken by Palmer, who curled his effort up and over the wall and out of the reach of Lewis Landers at full stretch in the Doncaster goal.
The first half had been littered with stoppages with players from both sides taking knocks and having already shaken off the effects of an earlier challenge, Wiles found himself in the wars again. This time the young midfielder was unable to continue, forcing the Millers into a second change.
The Millers’ next foray of note almost saw them edge their noses in front in the Central League clash in the Tuesday afternoon sun. Some silky footwork and a nicely weighted pass from Jacob Gratton set Akeem Hinds off down the left, where his cross found Palmer at the back post. His powerful strike looked like it was goalbound until hitting Peel-Evans en-route to the target allowing Doncaster to hook it clear.
Doncaster had looked dangerous in wide positions and capitalised on another swashbuckling move down the right shortly before the interval. Boocock was the beneficiary in the box as he positioned himself cleverly to sweep home the cross from a wide position and make it 2-1 to the visitors.
Yates almost levelled seconds before the interval as the Millers produced some fine wing play of their own. Trialist supplied the ammunition with a teasing ball in from the right flank, paving the way for Yates to steer an effort at goal which would have rippled the net had it not been for the save of Landers.
Half time | Reserves 1 v 2 Doncaster Rovers
Despite the Millers best efforts to find a way back into the game in the early exchanges, it was the visitors who made the early second half running.
Max Watters ran in behind to expertly bring down a hopeful ball over the top of the home defence but watched on in anguish as his strike rolled agonisingly wide of Price’s post.
Price had been a standout performer for the hosts when called upon and lived up to that once more just moments later when he was forced to deny Doncaster one-on-one. This time a really brave stop at the near post was required to ensure that Boocock’s name didn’t feature twice on the scoresheet.
However, the Doncaster frontman was clearly intent on getting that elusive second goal and did so soon after. This time Price was beaten by Boocock, who took it beyond him and steadied himself to slot it beyond Hinds, who had retreated to the goalline to try and deny him.
Having netted his second, Boocock went in search of his hat-trick and would have been cursing Millers’ stopper Price on 75 minutes. A flowing move initiated on the left by Rovers saw a clever one-two in the box allow the forward to curl an effort at the top corner, where it was destined until the ‘keeper plucked it out the air at full stretch and held it.
Gratton almost found a late reply for his side after a low cross from Palmer, but was thwarted by Landers in the Doncaster goal who got down smartly to smother his low effort from 20 yards.
Full-time | Reserves 1 v 3 Doncaster Rovers
Price; Beeden (Hodgkinson 10, (Etia 62)), Hull, Cooper, Hinds; Potter; Palmer, Wiles (Peel-Evans 24), Trialist; Yates, Gratton.
Unused | Farrar, Spence.