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Match Reports

Match Report: Rotherham United U18s 0 PNE U18s 6

28 January 2024

Match Reports

Match Report: Rotherham United U18s 0 PNE U18s 6

28 January 2024

Preston North End’s U18s cruised through to the northern semi-final of the Youth Alliance Cup thanks to a 6-0 victory away to Rotherham United.

Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile opened the scoring in the 16th minute and it was only four minutes before skipper Max Wilson made it 2-0 with a close-range finish.

Kaedyn Kamara’s shot from distance made it three before the break, and the victory was sealed by Kacper Pasiek’s double and Cole McGhee's late finish in the second half.

In their first away trip of 2024, the Lilywhites looked solid defensively during the opening minutes, with U16 ‘keeper Li-Bau Stowell making a double close-range save to prevent a goalscoring opportunity for the Millers.

With eyes on the semi-finals, Rodriguez-Gentile broke the deadlock for his side to put them on the front foot inside the first 20 minutes. With their confidence beaming high, Andy Fensome’s men were far from done.

The rapid Ethan Eccleston flew down the wing and beat a Rotherham defender, sending in a terrific ball which found Wilson in the box. The captain was calm and composed in front of goal and converted his shot, doubling the scoreline for his team with his second goal in as many games.

Right on the half-hour mark, Kamara – recently back from injury – struck a spectacular volley from the edge of the box which beat the ‘keeper comfortably.

With only a couple of minutes left in the first half, the hosts had the chance of pulling one back from the penalty spot, but North End’s young shot-stopper Stowell got down well to keep it out.

As the second half got underway, jubilation continued for PNE with Pasiek finishing a superb cross into the box by Troy Tarry on the wing.

The two then combined again just more than ten minutes later when another splendid cross from Tarry was converted by Pasiek.

With nine minutes left of the 90 to play, McGhee scored to put even more gloss on an already impressive scoreline to send PNE on their way to a Youth Alliance Cup northern semi-final against Hartlepool United.

Speaking after the game, coach John Welsh praised the team’s performance. He said: “I think overall they’ve done really well. It’s different for us because we have actually travelled two hours away, and we’ve had to be up early and be organised to make sure we are on the road.

“It's different to what we're used to because usually when we play it's not as far away. The lads have taken everything on board really well. 

“In the first half, we were first to things all the time, even keeping the ball and going forward. They worked well with each other meaning we started winning it high up the pitch.

“They kept doing what we asked them to do. So, all credit to them, we wanted them to go out and win, and that’s what they’ve done.”

Speaking about his exceptional penalty save and clean sheet, Stowell said: “The whole moment felt top. Firstly that we kept the clean sheet and then obviously with the penalty save, it makes the game ten times better when you’re a goalkeeper. 

“When I saved it, I was buzzing. I obviously didn’t want to show it. I was thinking I just need to get it away and then I could have my moment, but I was so pleased that in the end we kept the clean sheet.”

PNE line-up: Stowell, Blake, Pasiek, Horan (T. Mawene, 73), McGhee, Brindle (Robinson, 80), Eccleston (Tarry, 45), Kamara, Rodriguez-Gentile (Carroll, 73), Wilson, Khan. Subs not used: Cutler.

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