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Report | Birmingham City U23s 2-2 Millwall U23s

13 September 2016

Rooney grabs a dramatic late leveller as young Lions secure a point at St Andrews

Paul Rooney headed a dramatic 88th-minute equaliser as Millwall U23s battled back from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw against Birmingham City at St Andrews on Monday night.

Justin Skinner's young Lions found themselves trailing by two goals with less than 23 minutes on the clock.

But the visitors, with right-back Shaun Cummings playing his first competitive 45 minutes since February, dug in and clawed their way back with a goal just before half-time from striker Harry Smith before skipper Rooney grabbed a late leveller to secure a share of the Professional Development League points.

The two teams certainly served up an entertaining game with Lions left-back Noah Chesmain unleashing a third-minute effort that curled narrowly past the post and then Blues' having an eighth-minute goal from David Popa ruled out for off-side after Lions keeper Tom King had parried a shot.

Moments after clearing a Rooney header off the line, Blues' Charlie Cooper fired the home side ahead on 14 minutes with a firm free-kick beyond the reach of King.

It was 2-0 to Blues just nine minutes later when Corey O'Keeffe found himself unmarked at the back post and guided a header from Steve Seddon's deep cross into the roof of the net.

At this stage Birmingham looked to be in control and could have added a third goal, only for Popa to miscontrol the ball in front of goal from a Josh Cogley delivery.

However The Lions dug in defensively and were handed a lifeline nine minutes before the break thanks to a towering header from Smith, who gave home keeper Connal Trueman no chance with a clinical finish.

It was so nearly 2-2 seconds later only for Trueman to fling himself across goal and keep out a stinging shot from James Brown as Millwall finished the opening 45 minutes on the front foot.

Lions keeper King produced a superb save to deny the lively Popa his second goal of the game in the 53rd-minute, somehow getting his hands to the ball at full stretch to keep out the striker's header from a Viv Solomon-Otabor cross.

Skinner's charges responded positively with Jamie Philpot and Smith working the home defence as the visitors searched for an equalising goal.

It had looked as if Millwall were going to run out of time when, with just two minutes remaining, up popped Rooney to meet a corner from the right perfectly and plant a firm header beyond Trueman's reach to reward  the determined Lions.

Millwall: King, Cummings, Chesmain, Donovan, Bray, Rooney, Brown, Farrell, Smith, Philpot, Twardek. Subs: Sandford, McNamara, White, Ebuzoeme, Mundle-Smith.

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