Rotherham United’s Academy progressed to the next phase of the FA Youth Cup as they overcame non-league outfit Haughmond FC by winning 3-1 in the First Round.
The Millers’ youngsters were handed a long midweek trip to Shropshire to face the Mond, where a promising group from the Midland League Premier Division outfit awaited them eagerly anticipating a potential cup upset.
Ciaran Toner’s side stood up to the test and successfully saw off the challenge presented to them in their first involvement of this year’s competition, as Jacob Gratton netted a brace while Robbie Gateshill also etched his name onto the scoresheet.
With the tie poised at 2-0 to the Millers, the hosts did claw one back from the penalty spot but the Rotherham United youngsters held their nerve and eventually, extended their advantage to see out the tie.
Lead Professional Development Phase Coach Toner was pleased to see his side stand up both mentally and physically to a ‘different experience’ in the FA Youth Cup, adding that he feels that the Millers will benefit from the clash with Haughmond FC.
“We really ramped it up psychologically with the lads beforehand because we wanted to make sure that we used the opportunity,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“The priority was obviously to get through to the next round but we wanted to ensure that we gave them an experience of what knockout football is all about. They aren't used to that and the FA Youth Cup is a prestigious tournament.
“We tried to put a bit of constructive and conditioned pressure on them and ultimately we ended up learning a lot about the players and I think they learned a lot about themselves."
“In terms of the game, I thought that Haughmond were really up for it and they gave it their all right up until the end. They didn't leave anything out on the pitch and we should give full respect to them for that. They made it difficult for us.
“On reflection do I think we were in any danger of losing the game based on our performance? Not really. With that said, it provided our lads with an opportunity to experience what real competition football is all about.
“It was great that we were able to progress in the competition and give the lads some new experiences in the process.
“Part of the process here is to try and expose the players to as many different aspects to personal and professional development as we can.
“It was great that we could come away with the win because that's important. We perhaps weren't at our best but we knew that was probably going to happen because of how we had framed it up beforehand and the lads came through it, so it pleasing.”
Millers | Ellis; Makwedza, Hull, Beeden, Smith; Peel-Evans (Scott 81), Spence, Gratton, Hodgkinson; Gateshill (Kenny 73); Greaves.
Unused | Burnett, Wenham, Millen, Hanley, Salah.
Rotherham United's Academy have drawn Mansfield Town away in Round Two of the competition, date TBC.