Lincoln City Under-18’s put in an impressive performance on Saturday morning as they defeated Rotherham United in the EFL Youth Alliance.
After a combative and energetic first half which appeared to be ending goalless, Hayden Cann opened the scoring just before the break before The Imps put on a show of deadly finishing in the second half as goals from Jovon Makama, Nathan Odokonyero and Jasper Tetlow sealed the three points for the young Imps in a professional display at the Soper of Lincoln Elite Performance Centre.
Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges as both sides adapted to the windy conditions. Billy Brooks was proving threatening from set-pieces, but he could not find a City player in the box during the opening 20 minutes.
After struggling to find a way beyond the visitors’ defence, Ben Sault was the first to force a shot towards the Rotherham goal. A quick free-kick was laid off to Mekhi Angol who, after driving towards the edge of the area, found Sault in empty space, allowing him to fire a shot towards goal. However, his effort could only cannon off of the post.
The game continued to be fought out in the middle of park as the game edged close to half-time. Neither Sam Long or Alfie Burnett in the Rotherham goal were threatened, as neither attack could muster a threatening chance.
However, that changed with a minute left of the first half. After Rotherham’s Ciaran McGuckin forced Long into a save, Hayden Cann then handed the Young Imps the lead with only seconds remaining of the opening 45 minutes. A free-kick into the box from Brooks found the head of CANN, whose finish proved to be unstoppable for the stranded visiting ‘keeper.
After a slow start to the second half, City then doubled their lead in the 55th minute through Jovon Makama. It was Brooks who was involved once more, as a neat interchange on the right-hand side allowed the number 10 to slip MAKAMA in behind, who then blasted a powerful shot beyond the reach of Burnett in the Rotherham goal.
With the game still not sealed, the young Imps had to keep their concentration. Rotherham had the chance to claw one back in the 66thminute, after Rotherham’s Jake Champion pounced onto a loose ball to find himself in space in the box. The Millers’ number 16 cut-back inside the box, but a fantastic last-ditch tackle prevented Champion from finding one of his teammates.
Tom Shaw’s side subsequently sealed the three points moments later with two quickfire goals, firstly after being played through on goal, Nathan ODOKONYERO rounded the Rotherham ‘keeper to calmly slot home into an empty net.
City were hungry for more, and duly found their fourth goal of the morning in the 73rd minute to round off a professional display. A clever free-kick from the edge of the box on the right-hand side found Jasper TETLOW, who slotted home beyond the reach of Burnett in the Rotherham goal.
Next up for the young Imps is the visit of Oldham Athletic to the Soper of Lincoln Elite Performance Centre, on Saturday 31st October.