Rovers U18s battled back from a goal down to take a point in their second merit league game against Rotherham United at the Sheffield Hallam University Sports Centre.
Tony Cook’s side trailed after the first 15 minutes but goals from Corie Cole and Jack Goodman saw Rovers take the lead before being pegged back late on to see the spoils shared between the South Yorkshire rivals.
The two sides met for the fourth time this term with Rovers already completing a league double over the Millers and the hosts taking victory in the FA Youth Cup in January.
It was the home side that started the brightest with an effort saved by Rovers ‘keeper Luke Chadwick and another blocked by centre-half Jak Whiting in the box while the visitors were at a man-disadvantage with Charlie Petch receiving treatment on the touch-line as the ball was cleared.
Approaching the quarter-hour mark, Rovers' defensive work was breached as United took the lead from a set-piece after a free-kick on the left-wing met Billy Douglas who headed back across goal past Chadwick and into the back of the net.
The hosts continued a good spell down the left-hand side in the first half-hour and saw another effort, this time from range, directed goalward but this time the ball went high and wide as Rovers looked to find a route back into the game.
Minutes later, the Rovers midfield managed to work the ball out to Alex Wolny on the right-wing who carried it down the line, crossed towards Goodman in the box and after contesting with United’s defender, the Rovers number nine managed to lay off to an unmarked Cole to smash into the roof of the net from close range to get the visitors back on level terms.
Rovers looked to threaten again towards the break with Tom Parkinson crossing towards Goodman but the attacker failed to connect with the ball as the two sides entered the break one-goal-apiece.
Cook’s team pushed on after the break with Wolny having a shot put behind for a corner and Owen Scattergood introduced in place of Will Green.
Approaching the hour mark, Rovers took the lead after Cole picked up the ball in the Millers’ half and passed into Goodman who turned away from the defender on the edge-of-the-box and drilled past the hosts’ number one into the bottom-right as the striker turned to celebrate with his teammates under the Yorkshire sun.
The visitors then brought on Michael Nesbitt in place of Alex Fletcher before United found themselves back on level terms through Hamish Douglas from a corner, moments after a superb save from Chadwick to turn away for the set-piece, as the ball fell to the hosts’ defender in what looked to be an offside position but it was deemed not to be as the ball was tapped home and the goal was given.
Rovers then brought in more reinforcements, this time bringing on Tom Henson and Will Hollings in place of Jack Raper and Cole respectively as they looked to find a winner and they almost did late on when Wolny struck but the Millers ‘keeper somehow managed to block the effort as the final South Yorkshire derby of the season ended in a draw.
Rovers U18s will now aim to build momentum heading into their last few games of the season as they turn their attentions to the final home game of the season against Grimsby Town on the 3G pitch at the Eco-Power Stadium on April, Friday 29.