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Match Reports


8 April 2024

Match Reports


8 April 2024

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Rotherham United’s U18s were narrowly beaten on their last outing in the Youth Alliance League as they slipped to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Hartlepool United, in a game in which they would be made to rue a series of good missed opportunities.

Joe Skarz’s side once again posted an exciting performance at the top end of the pitch as they hit two goals for the third consecutive game but were left frustrated by the scoreline as the visitors showed the sharper cutting edge at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park.

Goals from George Giwa and Josh Ayres saw the Millers come up just short in the weekend’s Youth Alliance League action.

The Millers youngsters started the game brightly and had an early advantage when Giwa weaved his magic with just seven minutes on the clock. Some fine solo work saw him beat his marker before advancing towards goal where he slotted home the opener expertly.

Parity was restored on the 20-minute mark when Hartlepool used the gusts of wind whipping around Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park to their advantage at a set piece. A swirling corner kick delivery caused chaos in the box before being inadvertently turned into the Millers goal by a home defender.

Skarz’s men did not dwell in their quest to restore the lead though and had it once more within 10 minutes.

This time it was the home side who sensed an opportunity when delivering a set piece in the wind and Ayres – who has been in red hot form in front of goal for the U18s this season – popped up to turn Joel Holvey’s delivery into the net with his head.

Frustratingly, Pools made it 2-2 with a goal which was almost a carbon copy of their first.

Another corner caught in the wind dropped beneath the crossbar, where this time an attacking Hartlepool player pounced to tap home and level the scoring once more.

By this time, the Millers had enjoyed a series of chances in front of goal which had been created as a result of some quality deliveries from the flanks. Ammunition had been supplied from their respective wings by Joel Holvey and Ben Hatton – the latter of whom was topping up on match minutes having recently been involved on the first team bench – but the hosts had been unable to make their box entries count.

Ayres – who found himself on-target in this game and has been lethal in front of goal throughout the season – was one of a few players who saw good chances come and go, with the goalkeeper and further near-misses denying him a second.

In the end, it would be Pools who found a third goal.

This time it wasn’t a set piece that proved to be the undoing of the Millers and instead, some neat interplay.

A one-two in and around the penalty area saw a Pools player advance into the box where he slid home the winner.

Lead Youth Development Phase Coach Joe Skarz said: “We’re frustrated by the result but as with every experience in Academy football, we can use it as a learning experience.

“The key take aways from this one were surrounding the players learning the importance of being ruthless in both boxes. Hartlepool took the chances that came their way and although we had plenty and managed to score two, it really could have been a lot more.

“It’s important that we praise the players for forging as many chances as they did and overall the performance was very good, but we definitely need to be more ruthless moving forwards to ensure that we reap the rewards of our creativity.”


Academy | Hamilton, Holvey, Roddis, Seisay, Ayres, J Clarke, Giwa (Niewiem 76), Gordon (L Clarke 87), Hibberd, Hatton (Paisley 68), Richardson (Wilson 52).

Unused | Blow.

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