REPORT | Youth Team Win Impressively Against Rotherham United

Our youth team earned an emphatic victory after overcoming the tough challenge posed by a strong Rotherham United side in their latest league match.

The Young Mariners fell behind in Saturday’s EFL Youth Alliance clash when Ben Hatton opened the scoring for the visitors but a Shakeel Brown free kick got them back on level terms before the break.

As the contest at the Bradley Football Development Centre went on, Town gained control of the midfield and grew in confidence, playing some excellent attacking football against physical opposition and restricting the South Yorkshire outfit to few genuine chances.

Charlie Clements completed the turnaround from a penalty after Rotherham’s Zac Hibbard was sent off for a handball on the line and after a second spot-kick was well saved, Clements went on to make the result safe with the home side’s third goal, before Henry Brown added a late fourth.

Cameron Gardner made a return to manager Neil Woods’ line-up after missing the 5-2 away victory at Notts County last time out due to being selected on the first-team bench at Wrexham on the same day, while Cameron Walsh also came into the Town starting XI.

Gardner saw an early shot blocked at the edge of the penalty area, before another attempt from the left clipped the bar.  Henry Brown chased the ball down on the right but his cross was caught by away goalkeeper Bailey Hamilton.

Rotherham were looking to use their clear height advantage to good effect with long throws and high balls into the box but Town stood up to the threat well, with Grayson Giles sliding in to block an attempted long pass from Ed Mare and keeper Seb Auton coming off his line to confidently claim another delivery from the Millers’ left-back.

A free kick from Mare was also caught by Auton after a foul by Alfie Foy, then Gardner launched a Grimsby attack when he found Henry Brown on the right.  He cut inside on a run into the box but was unable to work an opening for a shot.

Town kept pushing forward and a strike by Clements was blocked after a low Gardner cross from the left was held up by Giles, then Henry Brown linked up with Giles on the right to create a chance for Gardner, whose shot from 18 yards went just over the bar.

A through-ball from Gardner proved too far ahead of Giles as the hosts continued to look for an opening goal but when the deadlock was broken on 24 minutes, it was Rotherham who took the lead against the run of play.  A long throw from Hamid Seisay was headed away as far as George Giwa and when his attempt was blocked, the ball fell for Hatton to guide a low shot past Auton and into the net from 20 yards.

Town’s response to going a goal down was positive and a low, long-range effort from Foy was blocked, before a shot from Gardner went through to Hamilton.

A Hatton corner from the away left was headed wide by striker Josh Ayres, then a Clements cross was headed away at the other end after good link-up play with Henry Brown.

Clements battled well to win a corner on 37 minutes and Shakeel Brown’s delivery from it led to another flag-kick, this time on the opposite, left flank.  This time, Hamilton punched away from danger.

It was a promising spell for Town though, and one which would eventually lead to an equalising goal.  Gardner won another corner on the left and after Shakeel Brown played it short to Giles, he got the ball back from the striker and was fouled to the left of the penalty area.  Shakeel Brown took the resulting free kick himself and he whipped the ball to the far post, where it beat Hamilton and hit the net.

With the interval approaching, the Young Mariners aimed to complete their comeback and Harvey Cribb launched an attack when he found Henry Brown on the right.  Cribb continued his run to get the ball back inside the box and the move led to Gardner sending a low shot narrowly wide.

A stoppage came for Giles to receive treatment for a nosebleed and as the half moved into stoppage time, Hatton beat Town defender Finley Abrahams to run into space on the left but after cutting inside, his shot was caught by Auton to ensure the scores remined level at the break.




No changes were made before the restart and Grimsby created the first opening when Henry Brown beat keeper Hamilton to a through-ball from Cribb, although the attacker was forced wide and the visitors escaped.

Giles was just wide with a shot on the turn four minutes in after good play by left-back Walsh, then Rotherham’s first opportunity of the second half saw Hatton slice wide from 25 yards after another Seisay long throw.

An away corner soon afterwards was headed out by Henry Brown for a throw-in, then Auton got down to stop a low shot by Reece Wilson from 25 yards as the Millers pressure continued.

But Town had their own opportunity to create danger when Clements was brought down in a dangerous position on 55 minutes.  Shakeel Brown’s shot from the free kick deflected off the visitors’ wall for a corner, which was punched clear by Hamilton.

A penalty appeal came when Henry Brown went down inside the box three minutes before the hour but the claims were ignored by the referee, who had no hesitation in waving play-on.

Rotherham made the game’s first substitution on 60 minutes, with James Clarke replacing Ayres.

Town’s first change was made soon afterwards as Jack Collins came on for Giles, with Clements moving into a move advanced position alongside Gardner.

An away free kick on 65 minutes was headed clear and the hosts broke through Collins, who won a corner at the end of a great run down the left.  Keeper Hamilton was first to Shakeel Brown’s delivery.

Harry Roddis replaced Mackenzie Paisley three minutes later in Rotherham’s second change , before a low cross from Walsh was deflected behind for a Town corner but the hosts were unable to create a goalscoring opportunity from it.

The Young Mariners did not have to wait much longer to seize the advantage though, as they made their breakthrough on 75 minutes.  Gardner took the ball past the advancing Hamilton on the left and lifted it back across for Clements, whose goal-bound header was blocked on the line by the arm of Hibbard.  The referee pointed to the penalty spot and after the defender was shown the red card, Clements stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way.

Kane Richardson was introduced from the Rotherham bench in place of Mare after the goal, then Cribb was booked for a foul just inside his own half but Seisay’s free kick beat everybody.

Town had a chance to make it 3-1 when they were awarded a second penalty in the space of less than five minutes after Henry Brown was brought down inside the box.  Again, Clements took it but this time, Hamilton guessed correctly as he dived to his left and made a good save.

Grimsby captain Billy Bradley, who had performed well at right-back, was shown the yellow card after an incident on the home left which also saw Rotherham goalscorer Hatton go into the referee’s book.

Time was now starting to run out for the away side but there was still plenty of work for the Young Mariners to do if they were to secure an impressive victory.

A foul by Cribb gave Rotherham a free kick on 86 minutes and Richardson’s delivery from it was headed out for a corner, although the ball from the flag went out for a home throw.

Two minutes later, Town secured the points with a well-worked third goal.  Henry Brown got to the byline on the left and looked up before pulling the ball back for Clements to finish from close range.

Cribb was replaced by Harry Shipstone and soon afterwards, it was 4-1 as Henry Brown got himself on the scoresheet with a solo effort which saw him cut in from the left and find the far corner of the net.

The goal was the cue for more home substitutions, with Fortune Onoh and Mamadu Jalloh coming on as Shakeel Brown and Foy made way.

A Gardner free kick from 30 yards was saved as Grimsby finished the game on the attack and after Hamilton dived to stop the low effort, the referee’s final whistle signalled the end of what had been a superb performance by the Young Mariners.

Town’s youth team are due to be in action again on Friday, with an away trip to face Bradford City.


Town: Seb Auton, Billy Bradley, Cameron Walsh, Alfie Foy (Mamadu Jalloh, 90), Finley Abrahams, Harvey Cribb (Harry Shipstone, 87), Henry Brown, Charlie Clements, Grayson Giles (Jack Collins, 63), Cameron Gardner, Shakeel Brown (Fortune Onoh, 90)

Sub not used: Jaxon Blankley

Rotherham: Bailey Hamilton, Owain Gordon, Ed Mare (Kane Richardson, 76), Rylee Grove, Hamid Seisay, Zac Hibbard, Ben Hatton, Reece Wilson, Josh Ayres (James Clarke, 60), George Giwa, Mackenzie Paisley (Harry Roddis, 68)

Subs not used: Hayden Blow, Oska Niewiem




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