Rotherham United’s virtual road to glory came to an end as they bowed out of the FIFA Ultimate Quaranteam Cup at the final 32 stage when they were narrowly defeated 2-1 by Mansfield Town.
Second half strikes from Jimmy Knowles and Nicky Maynard were enough to book the hosts a place in the last 16 of the competition, despite Kyle Vassell’s last gasp strike setting up a nervy final few minutes in Nottinghamshire.
Ben Galloway once again opted to stick with the same formula that had seen his side brush aside Colchester United and Preston North End in
In a closely-contested encounter at the virtual One Call Stadium it was the visitors who took the early initiative, coming close through a rasping Vassell strike which forced a good save from the Stags’ stopper to keep the scores at 0-0.
There was little to report on until seconds before the break when Maynard’s powerful drive flashed just wide of Daniel Iversen’s near post, but the scores would remain deadlocked going into half time.
Half-time | Virtual Mansfield Town 0 v 0 Virtual Millers
The scoring was opened shortly after the restart and it was the hosts who found the goal in fairly spectacular style.
With 52 minutes on the clock, Mansfield forward Knowles picked up the ball on the edge of the area and rocketed the ball at the target where Daniel Iversen was powerless to resist as it flew into the back of the net.
Key match action was rare in a mainly possession-based encounter and a resolute Stags’ defence meant that even after taking the lead, the virtual Millers struggled to test the goalkeeper.
It was as the Millers pressed for a way back into the game that Mansfield doubled their advantage with five minutes left on the clock.
Some wing wizardry from Danny Rose took him all the way to the Millers’ byline where a clever cutback saw him pick out an unmarked Maynard, who was left with the simple task of blasting the ball home from close range to make it 2-0.
In a style not too different from their non-virtual counterparts, the Millers refused to give up and did net a minute before the end when Vassell’s efforts in the final third were rewarded with a goal, but it would prove too little too late, as Mansfield held on to their advantage to ensure their safe passage into the next round.
Full-time | Virtual Mansfield Town 2 v 1 Virtual Millers
Virtual Millers | Iversen; Jones, Ihiekwe, Tilt, Mattock; Ogbene, MacDonald, Wiles, Koroma; Vassell, Ladapo.
Subs | Price, Wood, Olosunde, Clarke, Crooks, Adelakun, Smith.