Victory over Chesterfield ensures a second place finish for Rovers youngsters in the Youth Alliance League.
Rovers 1 (J. McKay 28’)
Cantley Park, Doncaster
North East Youth Alliance League
Saturday 18th April
Doncaster finished the season with another three points against Chesterfield, a first half goal from Jack McKay proved to be the difference between both sides. The Spireites threw the kitchen sink late in the second half but the defensive line and especially goalkeeper Johnathan Iveson held firm.
Rovers should have taken the lead in the first five minutes, a superb whipped free kick by Michael Carberry was directed to the back post but the advancing Joe Pugh missed the ball by an inch.
Chesterfield had the next chance of the game and if it wasn't for Iveson in the Doncaster goal they would have been one down, a superb through ball Martel Daswell was picked up by Jake Beesley who was free of the Rovers back line. Out came Iveson who closed down the angle to make a brilliant point blank save.
It was a back and forth ten minutes and Jack McKay had the next effort on goal, Matthew Parkin crossed the ball from the right-side which was won in the box by Pugh, his headed knock down was into the path of McKay but his right-footed curler was well saved by the legs of Dylan Parkin.
Jack McKay finally found the back of the Chesterfield goal on the 28th minute.
Will Longbottom picked up the ball deep inside the Spireites half after some very slack defending, the youngster decided to have a pop on goal from 20 yards out which forced Parkin to make a save, fortunately for Rovers he pushed it into the path of McKay who was there to poke the ball home from five yards.
Parkin was a busy man in the first half and he was called upon again by his Chesterfield defence, Pugh tried his luck again from 25 yards out but unfortunately for the striker it was straight down the throat of the goalkeeper.
Half time: Doncaster Rovers U18's 1-0 Chesterfield U18's
Joe Pugh continued to cause problems for Chesterfield after the half time break and he nearly double Rovers' lead. He picked up a misplaced throw in by Hudson and after taking on two players he unleashed a driven low effort that was just wide of the left post.
Chesterfield began to apply some pressure half way through the second period, a throw in by Beesley found Daswell in some space, the tricky midfielder used that space to his advantage and took aim from 25-yards but it sailed well over the crossbar.
Doncaster had a blatant penalty appeal turned down by the man in black on the 72nd minute, the ball came over from the left side via a cross by Parkin. It was heading in the direction of Pugh and he would have got there if he was not having his shirt pulled by Jarrald on the penalty spot, but the referee was not interested.
It turned out to be a very frustrating morning for Pugh, he did well to link up with McKay on the edge of the Spireites box but his left-footed effort was well over the crossbar.
Chesterfield could have nicked a point in the dying stages of the half through Tom Marshall. A long ball over the top was miss-judged by Williamson.
It landed at the feet of Marshall who was in acres of space, but once again Johnathan Iveson was there to made himself big and make a stunning 1-on-1 save to reserve all three points for Rovers.
It was a season full of goals and impressive performances but in the end it was not enough for the red and white hoops to claim the Youth Alliance league title, but a 2nd place finish is something that Head of Youth Development Paul Wilson and Youth manager Paul Stancliffe will be looking to improve on next season.
Full time: Doncaster Rovers U18's 1-0 Chesterfield U18's
DRFC Starting XI: Iveson, Greasley, Carberry (Off 68), Head, P.McKay (C), Williamson, Linley, Parkin, J.McKay, Pugh, Longbottom.
DRFC Subs: Mbuti, McLaren, Barker (On 68), Gains, Walker.
CFC Starting XI: Parkin, Hudson, Randle (Off 38), Daswell, Jarrald, Maguire, Ovenden (Off 45), Marshall, Beesley, Morrison (Off 45), Daley.
CFC Subs: Milner (On 45), Holmes (On 38), Lynam, Rowley, Taylor (On 45).