Rotherham United Under 18s left it late to stage a stunning comeback to beat Notts County 4-3 in a pulsating contest in Nottinghamshire.
The Academy took the lead through Ben Hatton in the 12th minute of the match, but the hosts responded brightly to the setback and found themselves 3-1 up before Josh Ayres pulled one back just before the break.
Buoyed by the goal, Rotherham came out with a new found intensity in the second half and levelled through top-scorer Reece Wilson with 65 minutes on the clock.
The Millers continued to push for the winner and found it late on for the second week running. Hatton saw his effort saved by the keeper before keeping his composure and clipping the ball for Wilson to add his second of the contest to complete the turnaround.
Lead Professional Development Phase Coach Gavin Atherton was left delighted with his sides character to come back and win the game.
“We found ourselves 3-2 down at half time in the game, the conditions were not brilliant and I think they dealt with them a lot better than we did in the first 20 minutes of the game,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“They were the better side in the opening period and deservedly found themselves 3-1 up before we pulled one back before the break.
“At half time, I took the opportunity to remind them of how we play and what we’re about and the players agreed that we needed to be much better in the second half and in fairness to them, they reacted in the right way."
“In the second period we went out and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and dictated the play, whilst getting to grips with our game out of possession, we put them on the backfoot and ended up scoring late to win the game.”
Atherton was quick to praise the role of young attacker Ben Hatton – who has been one of the standout performer for the U18s this term – in the winner.
The coach was particularly impressed with Hatton’s awareness and composure at such a late stage in the game and believes it bodes well for the future.
“I would like to single out Ben Hatton for his role in the winning goal. He had a shot which was saved by the keeper and showed unbelievable composure to clip the ball towards the back post for Reece to head the ball in.
“I thought it was absolutely brilliant that he had the awareness to find the right pass, rather than trying to go for goal himself.
“For someone at such a young age to be that calm and collected at such a late stage of the game is absolutely brilliant and fair play to him for that.”
ACADEMY | Blow, Shepherd, Mare, Grove, Seisay, Roddis, Paisley (Niewiem 60’), Clarke, Ayres (Wilson 70’), Giwa (Lee 60’), Hatton.
UNSUED | Bassett, Gordan.