The U’s face off against Rotherham United for the third time this season as both sides battle it out for a place in the Papa John’s Trophy Semi-Finals…
The U’s route to the Quarter-Finals
Having successfully navigated their way out of Group H (Southern) thanks to wins against Oxford United and Tottenham Hotspur U21’s, the U’s were rewarded with the home tie against Walsall in the Second Round.
Despite having to thank ‘keeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle for keeping the U’s in the game on several occasions - which later saw the Guyana international win Round Two ‘Player of the Round’ - goals from Sam Smith and Shilow Tracey either side of the half-time whistle were enough to see the U’s through to the Round of 16, where they would welcome Portsmouth to the Abbey Stadium.
Harvey Knibbs made it two accolades from two EFL Trophy knockout games when the Aston Villa academy graduate was presented with the Round of 16 ‘Player of the Round’ award following the forwards brace against Portsmouth at the start of January, setting Mark Bonner’s U’s up with a Quarter-Final tie against Rotherham.
The Miller’s route to the Quarter-Finals
Three wins in Rotherham’s three group games, scoring 15 and only conceding just a single goal in the process saw Paul Warne’s side ease through Group E (Northern).
The story could have so nearly been different for the South Yorkshire side, had it of not been for the penalty heroics of Viktor Johansson against Port Vale in the Second Round. Having seen the game finish all square at 1-1 after ninety minutes, the game was to be settled from the spot, with the Millers eventually running out 5-3 winners on the night.
Rotherham did manage to make easier work of it in the Round of 16, however, with Sadlier, Smith, Kayode and Ladapo all scoring in a 4-2 win over League One counterparts Crewe Alexandra at the start of January.
Down Memory Lane
Rotherham will come as no strangers to the U’s, with both sides only clashing a month ago. Despite the U’s being well in the game mid-way through the second half, the Miller’s quality eventually shone through, with Daniel Barlaser excellently slotting home from the edge of the U’s area in the 66th minute.
Saturday’s hosts Rotherham boast the historical advantage over the U’s, having won 12 of the 26 games between the two sides, three better than United’s eight wins.
Fans may remember the U’s 6-1 annihilation of Rotherham in Division Two back at the turn of the new millennium, whereby braces from Ian Ashbee and Tom Youngs, coupled with goals from Zema Abbey and Jonas Axeldal secured a memorable comeback win for Roy McFarland’s side.
U’s Head Coach Mark Bonner appreciates the challenge his side will face on Tuesday night at the New York Stadium, “Rotherham are really strong and have now got everybody fit and available. Their home form has been brilliant, I think they’ve won eight out of their last nine home games in the last batch of games, despite having a couple of defeats in away games.”
Martin Coy has been appointed as referee for Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy Quarter-Final between The U’s and Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.
He will be assisted by Conor Brown and Graeme Fyvie. The fourth official will be Andrew Kitchen.
How to Watch
Kick-off at the New York Stadium is at 7:00pm, with tickets now available to be purchased. Tickets will also be available on the door on the night at the New York Stadium (on the door prices). Advanced tickets can be purchased here at the following prices:
Adult: £13 (£15)
Concession: £8 (£10)
Juvenile (13-17): £3 (£3)
Junior U13: £2 (£2)
If you can't make it to the game, stream the clash live on iFollow. Match Passes cost just £10 and are available to buy now. The simplest way to do so is by clicking here and selecting the Rotherham fixture.
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However you choose to do so, get behind the U's once again this Tuesday.