Rovers caught out late on by vastly experienced Burke.Rotherham United Development – 2 (Shinnie, 40; Burke, 87)
Doncaster Rovers Development – 1 (Mandeville, 33)
Wednesday 30th March 2016 (1pm)
Roundwood Sports Complex, Rawmarsh
Final Third Development League
A very young Rovers side could hold their heads high after a ‘backs to the wall’ performance against local rivals Rotherham came very close to earning a point.
However they came up just short against the Millers who could call upon experienced Scottish loan duo Andrew Shinnie and Chris Burke to dig them out of a hole after Liam Mandeville’s opener.
Neither ‘keeper was tested inside the opening fifteen minutes as the game got off to a quiet start but Marko Marosi’s reflexes were on hand to deny a powerful drive from forward Kuda Muskwe when he found space in the box.
And, despite the hosts enjoying the majority of the possession, it was some quick thinking from the youthful visitors which sprang the game in to life on the half hour mark. A foul on Billy Whitehouse – playing wide right – was swiftly taken in to the feet of Mandeville whose awareness caught the defenders napping and he was allowed to calmly chip over the onrushing Alex Cairns.
It looked, at that point, as though Rovers could well take a lead in to the break but for a lapse in concentration by defender Conner Williamson whose scuffed clearance landed at the feet of a grateful Shinnie to wrap his left boot around and send in to the top corner from 16 yards.
Marosi was once again called upon moments later to deny a full length header from Muskwe with a top drawer reaction save from six yards and send the teams in level at the interval.
Half time – Millers 1 - 1 Rovers
Marosi was replaced at half time on his return from injury and his replacement Louis Jones saw crosses rain down on his box early on in the second period.
Burke was a constant menace down the left up against substitute Tyler Walker - someone just half his age – but the teenager competed well.
Shinnie had a dig from range on 73 minutes which was deflected to a relieved Jones, while down the other end Rovers were restricted to long range efforts; most notably via Matthew Parkin who found space 25 yards out but his shot continued to rise over the bar.
Pacy front man Darnelle Bailey-King sprung the offside trap late on as the game neared its conclusion and, though he blazed his strike in to the side netting, Rovers failed to heed the warning.
On 87 minutes, Rovers earned a rare corner but overcommitted and Mandeville’s corner was cleared to Burke who raced through to the edge of the area where he coolly placed home for the win.
Full time - Millers 2 - 1 Rovers
Rotherham Development: Cairns, Buxton, Rose, Potts (Adeyemi, 85), Peace-McDonald, Belaid (Wiles, 63), Burke, Dawson, Muskwe, Shinnie, Bailey-King (Smalley, 89)
Unused Subs: Bilboe (GK), Redmayne
Rovers Development: Marosi (Jones, 46), Fielding (Walker, 36), Carberry (Barker, 89), Linley, M’Buti, Williamson, Whitehouse (Henderson, 78), Parkin, Pugh (Wanless, 83), Mandeville, Longbottom.
Unused Subs: N/A
Cautions: Williamson (18)
Referee – A Bannister