WHO says the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy can’t capture the imagination of the footballing public?
Nearly 7,000 supporters descended upon Don Valley Stadium last night to watch the two Uniteds - Rotherham and Sheffield - fight for a place in the Northern Area quarter-final draw.
not the most memorable or proudest achievement in the history of either club, but the sight of Ched Evans wheeling away in delight after claiming the visitors’ 96th minute winner demonstrated that, in one corner of South Yorkshire at least, English football’s most maligned competition definitely does matter.
If the prospect of a visit to Wembley was not incentive enough then with their respective teams entering this contest on the back of disappointing defeats, both Andy Scott and Danny Wilson had good reason to approach it in deadly serious fashion.
His selection doubtless influenced by Preston North End’s decision to postpone Saturday’s League One fixture at Deepdale due to international commitments, Wilson handed rare starts to George Long and Ryan Flynn.
But the United manager placed his faith in players with realistic hopes of starting the next derby on their fixture calendar; the October 16t clash with arch-rivals Wednesday.
Chris Porter, one of those who faced fierce criticism following a profligate display against Charlton Athletic, responded by scoring after nine minutes.
But with Gary Megson’s side looming large on the horizon, it was the sight of Nick Montgomery completing a 90 minute shift in midfield which will have most pleased United’s manager.
Scott was slightly more experimental with Lewis Grabban, Danny Schofield and Ben Pringle shifting positions throughout.
The ploy appeared to have worked a treat when, soon after Porter’s clinical finish, Grabban was sent scampering into the box and drew a fine save from United’s teenage goalkeeper.
Likewise Jason Taylor on the stroke of half-time.
Despite trailing, Scott will have been satisfied with Rotherham’s contribution before the interval.
But the opening skirmishes of the second period continued in similar fashion with the hosts enjoying plenty of possession.
Rotherham got their just reward when Alex Revell equalised 24 minutes after the re-start and despite his effort prompting Wilson’s charges to attack with greater purpose, Danny Schofield wasted a wonderful opportunity to edge them in front.
Cue Evans’ late late show and a huge sigh of relief from the United contingent.