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Club News


13 November 2023

Club News


13 November 2023

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A Ben Hatton hat-trick inspired Rotherham United Under 18s to a resounding 5-1 victory over Walsall in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup on Saturday.

The Academy made a dream start to the contest finding themselves 2-0 up inside the first 20 minutes thanks to a Reece Wilson strike and Hatton’s first of the contest.

The Millers had four before half time with Hatton again on the scoresheet, following a goal from McKenzie Paisley in the 32nd minute.

The home side rounded off a convincing win in style when Hatton sealed his hat-trick with 15 minutes left, to cap off a 5-1 success.

The victory leaves Rotherham fourth in their group, but just three points off leaders Bolton Wanderers with a game in hand.

Academy Manager Richard Hairyes was delighted with the performance that saw off the Saddlers and believes the team are playing with a strong identity. 

“We’ve had a good start to the season and we’ve got a real identity this year, which is seeing us play some really good attacking football," he told 

“The lads are getting used to the changes and the structures that we have in place, which is also a massive positive for us.

“Our full-time staff are very much involved, including myself, Gavin and Joe Skarz. What it does is bring a variety of different sessions and the players really are loving it. That is clear to see because no matter how hard we work them, they’ve always got a smile on their face.

“I think – particularly in the first half – Walsall were really surprised with how well we played. Not just in terms of our attacking football, but our aggression as well, which is really important for us.

“It was 4-1 at half time and being greedy, we thought we should have had more. In the second we gave the lads a challenge of not giving any more goals away, whilst also remaining on the front foot and winning the half again.”

Whilst being full of praise for forward Ben Hatton following his hat-trick, Hairyes was also keen to single out top-scorer Reece Wilson, who also found the net during the handsome victory. 

“Ben is a special player and he’s as good as anyone that you’ll see in his position at our level. We’ve been really excited about him for a long time," he continued.

“He’s had a few niggles and setbacks, but if he can continue in the way he is and stay fit, he has every change of earning himself a professional contract at the end of the season.

“It wasn’t just Ben that impressed, though. Reece Wilson has been one of the surprises of the season so far for us.

“He’s played a lot more than we expected and that is testament to him. He looks like a Rotherham United forward. He knows where the net is, he’s strong and he works hard. He’s currently the leading scorer in the team and there’s no reason why that can’t continue.”

ACADEMY | Hamilton, Shepherd, Mare (Hibbard 60'), Roddis, Seisay, Grove, Hatton, Giwa, Wilson, Abraham (Clarke 60'), Paisley (Niewiem 80'). 

UNUSED | Blow, Gordon. 

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