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Match Reports


26 February 2024

Match Reports


26 February 2024

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Rotherham United’s U18s were narrowly-beaten 3-2 in a thrilling five-goal encounter with Bradford City on Saturday in the Youth Alliance League.

An exhilarating clash with their West Yorkshire counterparts saw the hosts edged out at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park, with Kane Richardson and Reece Wilson on the scoresheet for the young Millers – who once again featured a number of U16 players including Dean Gardner and Ben Scothern.

It was the Bantams who made the early running as they took the lead inside 20 minutes, before Rotherham United found a reply through Richardson.

A nicely-executed left-footed lob would mark the hosts’ way back into the fixture and see the game crank up another notch in the process.

The visitors would swing the pendulum back in their favour as they quickly restored their lead at 2-1 and in a chaotic 15 minutes for the Millers, they suddenly found themselves two behind as the Bantams made it three before the break.

It was widely agreed by the Academy coaching staff that the interval came ‘at a good time’ for the youngsters, who had been the subject of Bantams’ pressure before the whistle had blown, but the opportunity to discuss the opening 45 minutes of action would prove useful to the hosts who came out for the second half looking bright again.

The opening minutes of the second phase were tightly-contested with neither side giving up much in the way of attacking opportunities.

The first one of note fell the way of first year professional Josh Ayres, who did well in the area where he took a smart first touch onto his right foot, before he fired his resultant shot straight at the goalkeeper from eight yards out.

Ayres had carried a threat all morning with his hold-up play in-particular catching the eye but it would be a powerful run in from the flank that would give the Millers a lifeline in the tie.

The forward’s dart into the box saw him shrug off the advances of a Bradford City defender and pave the opportunity for him to shoot, but some excellent presence of mind saw him pick out the run of Wilson, who was left with a simple tap in following Ayres’ excellent cutback.

The Millers continued to bombard the Bantams in their quest for an equaliser and fired warning shots across their bow with a series of corners and long-throws into the penalty area.

They thought they had restored parity when the lively Ayres followed up a ferocious Ben Hatton strike which had only been palmed clear by the goalkeeper, but as he wheeled away to celebrate was greeted by the offside flag.

Their final – and arguably – best chance of the game dropped for Ayres moments from time after some penalty area pinball saw it drop kindly for him close to the goalline, where he failed to connect truly and had his shot at the target turned behind for a corner.

Academy | Hamilton, Seisay (Gardner 56), Gordon (Paisley 66), Lee, Roddis, Scothern, Hatton, Giwa, Ayres, Richardson (Clarke 82), Abraham (Wilson 48).

Unused | Blow.


    P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Mansfield Town U18 15 8 3 4 28 19 9 27
2 Burton Albion U18 15 9 0 6 34 27 7 27
3 Lincoln City U18 16 7 2 7 37 29 8 23
4 Rotherham United U18 14 7 2 5 33 32 1 23
5 Grimsby Town U18 12 6 4 2 32 16 16 22
6 Doncaster Rovers U18 17 6 3 8 27 30 -3 21
7 Hartlepool United U18 12 6 2 4 21 22 -1 20
8 Bradford City U18 14 6 1 7 24 26 -2 19
9 Harrogate Town U18 14 4 4 6 21 24 -3 16
10 Huddersfield Town U18 14 2 6 6 20 38 -18 12
11 Notts County U18 13 3 1 9 18 32 -14 10

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