Rotherham United Academy overcame Mansfield Town u18s in a pulsating encounter at Graham Solley Development Centre to continue their winning start to the 2021/22 campaign.
In a topsy turvy affair, the Millers took the lead through Ciaran McGuckin in the first half before going in level thanks to a stunner from Jack Deakin.
The forward then added a second just after the break to turn the game on it’s head before a brace from substitute Adam Clark inspired the Millers to victory.
The Millers started on the front foot as Sam Greenhouse’s long throw caused havoc in the visiting penalty area, eventually resulting in Curtis Durose letting fly from 25 yards with a strike which cleared the cross bar.
The home team were rewarded for their promising start to the match when Ciaran McGuckin broke the deadlock on 11 minutes.
Ben Hatton found himself with time and space on the right wing before delivering a perfect low cross towards the striker, who swept the ball into the bottom left corner to give his side the lead.
The Stags looked for an immediate response and almost found it when Diego Edwards saw his effort well saved by Burnett, just two minutes after falling behind.
The Millers almost doubled their lead on the half hour mark, as some neat build-up play around the penalty area created the space for McGuckin to let fly, as he saw his rasping drive palmed away by Mason.
Mansfield always carried a threat at the other end and were close to a leveller when Wauchope crossed towards Deakin, who was eventually snuffed out thanks to some good defending from Nathan Exton.
Richard Hairyes’ side responded through Hamish Douglas, who rose highest to meet Sam Greenhouse’s delivery with a powerful header over the bar.
The Stags equalised on the stroke of half time through the dangerous Deakin, who collected possession 25 yards from goal before thundering home a powerful low strike from 25 yards out to restore parity.
HALF TIME | Academy 1 v 1 Mansfield Town
McGuckin forced Mason into another smart save just after the break. Douglas picked out the forward from the left as he looked to stab towards goal, but the Stags’ stopper was there to tip clear.
Four minutes later and the visiting team were ahead, as Deakin added his second of the match when he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area to score from close-range.
The young guns showed great spirit to turn the match back in their favour through a quick-fire double from second half substitute Adam Clark.
Firstly, he collected an intricate through pass from Holvey before drilling a powerful effort towards goal from a wide angle, which kissed the keepers palms before the power took it into the back of the net.
The Millers were ahead two minutes later from Clark, as he capitalised on some pinball in the penalty box to score a tap-in from a yard out.
Mansfield pushed hard for an equaliser in the latter stages of the match and thought they’d found it in the third minute of stoppage time, when Edwards headed Abdullah’s cross straight into the arms of a grateful Burnett.
With the clock ticking, the Stags were presented one more chance to throw the ball into the Millers box from a free kick, sending everyone – including the goalkeeper – into the mixer.
Edwards delivered a dangerous ball which caused another goalmouth scramble in the area, before Deakin got the decisive touch to drag the ball wide, as the Millers continued their 100% start to the season.
FULL TIME | Academy 3 v 2 Mansfield Town
ACADEMY | Burnett; Greenhouse (Clark 50’), Carroll, Exton, Jenkinson; Hatton (Bond 57’), Day, Durose, Holvey; McGuckin (Grove 88’), Douglas.
UNUSED | Ford, Grove, Shepherd.