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Match Reports


6 March 2024

Match Reports


6 March 2024

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Rotherham United’s U18s prevailed in a nine-goal thriller on Tuesday afternoon as they overcame Notts County in the Youth Alliance League.

A topsy-turvy encounter in respect of the scoring would end in the hosts securing three points in the youth league with Joe Skarz’s side triumphing courtesy of a Josh Ayres brace and goals from Joel Holvey, Mckenzie Paisley and Hamid Seisay.

The youngsters’ ranks were bolstered by the inclusion of three U19 players in the form of goalkeeper Nat Ford, Hamish Douglas and Holvey, who provided the hosts with some additional ‘savvy’ against their Nottinghamshire counterparts.

A bright start at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park saw the Millers fall behind inside 20 minutes as Notts County came flying out of the blocks.

They weren’t behind for long though and restored parity with Holvey on target. The wide man – currently on loan at Gainsborough Trinity – delivered a ball into the area which found Ayres, whose header was saved, before Holvey, who had initially provided the ammunition, followed in to convert the rebound.

The equaliser buoyed the hosts who found another gear thereafter and edged themselves in front from the penalty spot just shy of the half-hour mark.

A handball decision against a Magpies defender paved the way for Ayres to take charge of the dead ball from 12 yards out and he duly obliged by despatching his spot kick to make it 2-1.

Ayres doubled his tally for the afternoon just under 10 minutes later when the youngsters scored what would be considered a real ‘Rotherham United goal’.

Their high press saw them turn over possession in an advanced area and Ayres made no mistake after robbing the ball back when it came to the finish as he applied a smart strike to make it 3-1 to the home side.

That meant that Skarz’s youngsters went in with a two-goal cushion at the interval and very much in the ascendency and their start to the second period mirrored that of their end to the opening 45 minutes.

They put further daylight between themselves and County five minutes into the second half when a Ben Hatton drive upfield allowed the recently-turned-professional chance to cut the ball back across the face of goal, where Paisley helped himself to a goal inside the area.

A mad half hour followed for the Millers who had been the dominant force throughout the game with Notts County admirably battling their way back into the game.

Before the hosts knew it, they had surrendered their three-goal advantage with the Magpies dragging the scores back level at 4-4.

The home side would rediscover the form that had found them so far in front earlier in the game and they would win it at the death when defender Seisay rose at the back post to head home a Holvey delivery from a corner to win it 5-4 in the 88th minute.

Speaking following the game, Skarz said:

“There were a lot of elements of the performance that were really pleasing and to be honest, that has been the case in the last eight games we’ve played.

“It may sound crazy to say with us scoring five goals, but I don’t think the lads were at their scintillating best today and we were disappointed to let Notts County get back into it at 4-4, when really we should have been out of sight.

“It was great to have some of the older lads in the team because they were a shining example of what good looks like for the U18s and huge credit must go to Hamish, Joel and Nat, who conducted themselves brilliantly in the game.

“As I said, there were an awful lot of positives to take from the 90 minutes and that is what we’ll look to build on going forwards, but it also important that we look at the mistakes that we made and learn from them, as is part of the process of developing these young lads.”


Academy | Ford, Gordon (L Clarke 90), Holvey, J Clarke, Sesiay, Douglas (Roddis 58), Hatton, Grove (Lee 6), Ayres, Richardson (Wilson 81), Paisley (Giwa 62).



Youth Alliance League - North East Division

    P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Mansfield Town U18 17 10 3 4 41 19 22 33
2 Burton Albion U18 17 9 1 7 34 30 4 28
3 Rotherham United U18 16 8 3 5 39 37 2 27
4 Grimsby Town U18 14 6 5 3 35 20 15 23
5 Lincoln City U18 17 7 2 8 38 32 6 23
6 Hartlepool United U18 15 7 2 6 26 31 -5 23
7 Bradford City U18 15 7 1 7 27 27 0 22
8 Doncaster Rovers U18 17 6 3 8 27 30 -3 21
9 Harrogate Town U18 17 5 5 7 24 27 -3 20
10 Huddersfield Town U18 16 3 6 7 24 48 -24 15
11 Notts County U18 15 4 1 10 23 37 -14 13

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