A goal from U14 Reon Potts and two penalty saves by U14s ‘keeper Luke Chadwick were not enough for Rovers U18 to avoid defeat to Rotherham U18s in the Youth Alliance League.
Youth team boss Paul Stancliffe was forced to make changes to his side including the introduction of U14 goalkeeper Luke Chadwick who was making his debut in the division.
It was a fast start for Rotherham, as not even two minutes had passed by, but they took the lead through Jacob Gratton after he wrestled his way the Rovers’ defence to power home into the bottom left corner Chadwick’s goal.
Rovers responded with some slick passing movements which resulted with Marti Smith charging down the left before riffling an effort on goal which Charlie Farrar saved.
Reon Potts – who was another youth team player making the step-up – saw his goal ruled out for a close offside.
Goalkeeper Chadwick made an excellent save on the half-hour mark as he dashed off his line to extinguish Jacques Etia’s shot. The rebound landed kindly for Gratton, but his shot was blocked by Smith on this occasion.
Five minutes before the break Cameron Barnett had a decent chance for Rovers as he saw an opportunity from 25-yards sail inches wide of the mark.
Despite boasting the better chances, Rovers were trailing at the break, but came out equally determined in the second-half.
This was reflected when Potts opened his account for the U18s with a sensational goal which saw him cut back in on his weaker foot and fire into Farrar’s top left corner on an acute angle.
The game then became balanced both in performance and result so Stancliffe introduced Liam Ravenhill and Owen Derrett to the game within five minutes of each other.
Ravenhill made an immediate impact when his follow-up effort was blocked off the line by a Millers defender.
On the 84th minute, Rotherham were awarded a penalty for an alleged push in the box. Tyrone Lewthwaite took the kick, stroking the ball to bottom right corner of Chadwick’s net, but the 14-year-old was equal to his effort and tipped the ball out for a corner.
Minutes later, Lewthwaite made amends as he gave Rotherham the lead from another corner – shattering a Rovers side who had previously had the better chances.
Within the closing minutes of the game, the visitors were awarded another penalty after Rovers committed a rash challenge.
Gratton was given the responsibility this time but the determined Chadwick saved yet again – this time with his foot as he dived towards his left-hand post.
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