EDUCATION | Match Day Report – RUFC Shadows v UFCA

Published: 04/03/2024

Well-worked set pieces see the Millers pick up an away win against UFCA. Rotherham Shadow Academy travelled to UFCA for a league clash on Wednesday with confidence high, due to the team’s 3-0 win earlier in the season. Conditions were wet and cold, adding extra challenge to the fixture. Action commenced and within minutes, Rotherham… Continue reading EDUCATION | Match Day Report – RUFC Shadows v UFCA

Well-worked set pieces see the Millers pick up an away win against UFCA.

Rotherham Shadow Academy travelled to UFCA for a league clash on Wednesday with confidence high, due to the team’s 3-0 win earlier in the season. Conditions were wet and cold, adding extra challenge to the fixture.

Action commenced and within minutes, Rotherham striker, Josh Tuduin showed off quick feet in and around the box trying to get an angle at goal and ended up winning the Reds an early corner. Moments later, Rhys Topham saw space open up outside the box and tried his luck, but the UFCA defenders managed to get bodies in front of the ball.

Momentum stayed with Rotherham as they showed a dominant display of possession in the first quarter of the game, but couldn’t break down the UFCA defence for any clear-cut chances. The slim bits of possession that the Yellows had in the early parts of the game seemed to be shut down very quickly by high-energy pressing from Matt Ireson. Kieran Dever was brought on in the 30th minute following a harsh challenge on Ryan Tomu.

UFCA did eventually start to find a few half-chances, with the number 8 striking an ambitious long shot, which was high and wide. Just minutes later, however, number 17 picked the pockets of the Rotherham defence, then forced a great save by the Millers’ skipper, Harrison Spiller.

Rotherham hit back with a couple of half-chances from Tomu and Tuduin. The team showed some great, patient passing to set up a few crosses but with only the striker to aim for in the box, the Millers could not capitalise.

Defences seemed to be on top in the first half, with chances sparse for both teams and frustration was building for the boys in red. Coach Jamie Yates expected much more from his players after the break.

Rotherham came firing out of the blocks in the second half. Callum Wilkinson picked up the ball in the attacking third, but the defender forced him wide leading to an off-balance shot. The positive start continued as Tuduin yet again showed good feet and spun his defender, to get into a great position on the right side of the box. He decided to shoot but the shot was tame leaving the UFCA keeper with an easy save.

The Millers finally broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, as Ireson fired a cross into the box which was parried by the keeper straight into the path of Tuduin in the six-yard box, who tapped it in for an easy finish.

However, UFCA did not let their heads drop and a bit of sharp passing and quick feet saw them get a great chance at an equaliser. The shot was high and dipping towards goal, but not quite enough as it bounced off the crossbar.

Going into the last 30 minutes of the clash, Arran Hartle and Sam Onigbinde were brought on from the bench to make the difference down the right side.

With Rotherham now up 1-0, chances were appearing more consistent, and it wasn’t long before a corner was floated deep straight onto the head of centre back, Alfie Bakes. His header was powerful and direct, going straight back across the goal which left the UFCA keeper with no chance. The goal was scored in the 65th minute.

Just 5 minutes after the second goal, Rotherham made it three from a Rhys Topham free kick. The shot was saveable, although the keeper parried the ball into his own net.

UFCA did hit back with a consolation goal. A combination of a slip from the Rotherham right back, and the keeper being forced to come outside his box, saw a simple finish for the UFCA striker.

The match ended with a well-earned 3-1 win for Rotherham.

When asked about the mentality going into this clash, Matt Ireson said “We wanted to take it to them as it was a game we aimed to win”. He was also asked about the success of set pieces in the game, to which he responded, “At the end of every session we’re always working on them. Recently I’ve just floated balls in there knowing Alfie will get on the end of them. Matt also received minutes in the U18s academy team. He said “I was buzzing. I know now when I’m on the pitch, I’m someone that’s got an opportunity.”
The Shadow Academy go into next Wednesday with a consecutive away game, this time against a very strong Sheffield United side.