City 0 Rotherham 3

REECE Staunton is not old enough to remember City's time in the Premier League.

Born in December 2001, the defender does not even turn 16 for another month.

There were probably clothes being worn among the meagre Valley Parade crowd last night of a greater vintage.

But the defender is assured of his name in the history books after becoming the youngest-ever City player.

Coming on after 74 minutes, the 15-year-old beat the previous record set by Robert Cullingford in 1970 by 174 days.

City might have been well beaten by that point but it was a proud moment for a youngster the club rate so highly that they have already given him a first professional contract. Pity there weren't more to see it.

On a night of history-making, Staunton's was not the only club record. There was a less welcome one when the gate was revealed as just 931, the lowest in a competitive fixture at Valley Parade.

The music man showed a post-match sense of humour as 'Ghost Town' blared out at the final whistle. The magic of the Checkatrade Trophy strikes again.

The youthful look about last night's squad included a first start for centre half Alex Laird, who had a brief taster as a substitute in the win over Manchester City's young hopefuls a fortnight earlier.

Rouven Sattelmaier was back in goal after a ten-week absence with a hamstring injury and City passed the selection rule test with four senior starters – Timothee Dieng, captain for the night, Shay McCartan, Dominic Poleon and Adam Thompson.

But you could argue the big winner of the night was nowhere near the place.

None of the challengers for the second strike position did anything to unseat Alex Jones, the current man in the shirt and surely likely to keep it against Plymouth this weekend.

Rotherham, as Stuart McCall had predicted, had a strong backbone to their line-up in the light of crashing out of the FA Cup at League Two side Crewe.

It was one of those first-team figures who was instrumental in the opening goal after 17 minutes.

Jonson Clarke-Harris muscled his way in behind the back four, Dieng tried to clear but the ball pinballed into the path of Jerry Yates, who coolly fired past Sattelmaier.

The German, who had already denied Clarke-Harris early on, was then grateful to Laird for being in the right place at the right time.

As Anthony Forde's low cross came in, Yates almost had a second goal to celebrate his imminent 21st birthday but the centre half blocked his goal-bound effort.

Jordan Gibson's twinkling feet, so effective in the previous group game, again looked to open up the visitors. He responded with City's first effort of note, forcing a low save from Lewis Price.

But Rotherham reinforced their lead after 32 minutes following more unconvincing home defending.

Danny Devine, having a difficult night at right back, was the culprit, conceding a penalty as he caught Clarke-Harris while attempting to clear Jon Taylor's inswinging free-kick.

The Rotherham striker picked himself up to emphatically dispatch the spot-kick. A frequent scorer against City, remarkably it was his first Millers goal since Boxing Day 2015.

It was a disjointed effort from the hosts but they almost had one back when Gibson's corner was flicked on by Dieng. The loose ball hit Clarke-Harris before keeper Lewis Price scrambled to grab it on the line.

Rotherham, though, looked in cruise control and put the game beyond the Bantams with a third goal just before the break. The ball broke to Richie Towell and the on-loan Brighton midfielder steered past Sattelmaier from 20 yards out.

It threatened to get worse from the restart as Taylor bent a shot past the far post. But with the contest already done, it quickly deteriorated into a scrappy second half.

The stillness of the audience meant you could catch every word from McCall and the manager's exasperated nature was apparent. Sensibly, he kept schtum when McCartan launched one wild effort way up into the deserted Kop.

Staunton's arrival in place of the anonymous Poleon produced some interest – an "I was there" moment for those who had forsaken the front room.

He was soon joined in City's side by 16-year-old Jake Maltby for the last knockings.

Sattelmaier raised a smile when he dribbled the ball out of his goal and ended up 40 yards up the pitch. And Gibson, the one bright spot, was not far away with a curling consolation attempt.