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Club News


27 February 2024

Club News


27 February 2024

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A last-gasp Joe Toole goal denied Rotherham United Reserves all three points in their final Central League Cup group stage fixture, as the Trotters fought back to claim a 3-3 draw on Tuesday afternoon.

The Millers dominated the opening half and deservedly found themselves 2-0 up inside the first half an hour with Ben Hatton and Curtis Durose on the scoresheet. However, the away side reduced the deficit before the break when Sonny Sharples equalised from distance and they levelled from the penalty spot through Trevon Bryan on 65 minutes.

Rotherham thought they’d won it when Josh Ayres headed home inside the final 15 minutes, but there would prove to be a late sting in the tail, when substitute Toole found the back of the net from distance.

A young Millers side took to the field at the Graham Solley Sports Development Centre, with first and second year professionals Hamish Douglas, Curtis Durose, Josh Ayres, Joel Holvey and Ben Hatton named in a side made up predominantly of scholars.

The home side started the brighter and were denied the opening goal by Bolton stopper Jack Flint with just three minutes on the clock, when he got across to tip a goalbound Durose free kick around the post.

The keeper was busy inside the opening exchanges and was called into action to twice deny Ayres. Firstly, he was able to gather a head from a Holvey cross on 10 minutes, before denying the striker once more when he’d been slipped through one on one by Durose.

The pressure would eventually tell with 22 minutes on the clock, when Ayres held the ball up before releasing Durose who jinked his way into the box before having the presence of mind to pick out Hatton, who made no mistake from close range.

The Millers didn’t take their foot off the gas and were presented with an opportunity to double their advantage when Sam Inwood was adjudged to have handled a Durose cross inside the box. Having won the spot kick, the midfielder was the one to step up and he sent Flint the wrong way to make it 2-0 on 27 minutes.

Wanderers forged their first opportunity of the contest with 10 minutes to go until the break, when Sharples saw his free kick from the left turned just wide by Inwood. Having looked to turn provider, Sharples was the one to breach the Rotherham rearguard just two minutes later, when he his low strike from distance found it’s way past Bailey Hamilton through a crowd of bodies to reduce the arrears.  

Rotherham will have considered themselves unfortunate to be just a goal ahead after an impressive opening half and were cursing their luck once again when Ayres turned Hatton’s cross towards goal, only for his header to be hooked off the line by a retreating Charlie Hays-Green.

On the stroke of half time, another chance came and went for the home side to reestablish their two goal cushion, when James Clarke picked out the run of Ayres, who saw his low drive beaten away.

HALF TIME: Reserves 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

The Millers continued the second half on the frontfoot, with Ayres rising highest to meet a Durose corner on 52 minutes, but he couldn’t make a telling contact. The striker was agonisingly moments later, too. Hamish Douglas picked out Durose with a long pass upfield and he looked to pick out the forward with a low cross, but the keeper got there first.

The away side carried a threat at the other end and Bryan will feel he should’ve done better after being slipped through, only to scuff his effort wide. The lively forward was given the chance to get his name on the scoresheet on 65 minute, when he was tripped inside the box by Holvey. The forward picked himself up and converted from the penalty spot.

Wanderers thought they’d have another chance from 12 yards when Inwood rounded Hamilton before being upended inside the area, but the keeper was saved by an offside flag.

And the game looked to have swung back Rotherham’s way with just 13 minutes left, when Ayres deservedly opened his account for the afternoon, rising highest power home a Durose corner to edge the Millers 3-2 ahead.

Durose – one of the standout performers for the Reserves – had the opportunity to wrap up the points when he latched onto Holvey’s through pass, but his first-time effort was repelled by Flint.

And there would prove to be late drama when substitute Joe Toole picked up possession just inside Rotherham territory and advanced forward before letting fly from the edge of the box and despite getting a hand to it, Hamilton wasn’t able to keep it out.

FULL TIME: Reserves 3-3 Bolton Wanderers

RESERVES: Hamilton, Seisay, Holvey, Clarke, Roddis (Gordon 69’), Douglas, Hatton (Gardner 76'), Grove (Abraham 82’), Ayres (Wilson 82’), Durose, Giwa (Paisley 69’).


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