Rotherham United left it late in the day to claim a victory over Kettering Town at Nene Park with Alex Revell and Alec Denton scoring the decisive goals.
Paul Raynor once again took charge of the side, that included three trialists and a selection of first-team players. The opening exchanges were evenly split as both sides got to know their opposition, and it wasn’t until Revell, starting the game in the centre of a front three headed Lionel Ainsworth’s cross over the bar that the game really got going.
Within minutes, the home side had also created their first opportunity, and in similar fashion it resulted in a header off target by the number nine Gele Pacome
As the half-hour mark approached, Michael O’Connor was at the end of some clever interplay between Kieran Agard and Mitchell Rose, but his shot on the angle was deflected wide of the goal.
Kettering were handed a golden opportunity to open the scoring on 36 minutes after the Millers’ trialist in central defence misjudged his clearance and handled the ball in the area. Sean Bonnett-Johnson stepped up, but blazed his penalty high into the empty stand behind the goal.
Either side of the penalty, the Poppies went close with Pacome rolling just wide of Andy Warrington’s goal before Danny Voight forced an excellent reaction save from the veteran stopper.
Kettering 0-0 Millers
As well as a new line-up for the home side, there was a look as the Poppies showcased their new blue and white hooped change strip. The new look outfit came within inches of opening the scoring three minutes after half time, but David Mayo-Ugookor’s first time shot drifted just wide of Warrington’s outstretched fingertips.
Mayo-Ugookor had another excellent opportunity just after the hour mark after some fine work by Will Blaze, but he got too much on the ball from the cross and saw his effort scoop high over the crossbar.
The in-form Nicky Walker, fresh from his four goals at the weekend in the Youth Alliance was brought on, but it was Revell, who had been on the pitch from the start that missed the next opportunity, as he narrowly headed O’Connor’s corner wide. At the other end, Mayo-Ugooker again caused problems, firing a shot in that was saved well by Warrington.
The deadlock was finally broken on 83 minutes with substitute Walker the catalyst. The substitute twisted and turned on the right-hand side before delivering a pinpoint ball for Revell to head home emphatically from close range.
The second arrived just three minutes later, and Revell again was involved. This time the Millers forward raced onto a ball over the top, wrong-footed the defender with some clever footwork before unselfishly laying off for Denton to double the lead from just inside the area.
It could, and would have been three with the final action of the game but for a fine save. Substitute Danny Schofield found Revell with an excellent cross to the far post, and as the striker headed back across goal, Laurie Walker stretched out a hand to just tip the ball over the bar.
Kettering 0-2 Millers
Kettering: Gathercole, Burns, Radford, Palmer, Gerring, Bonnett-Johnson, Hervell, Beckles, Voigt, Pacome, Carney.
Second-half: Walker, Koroma, Peake, Long, King, Asllani, Blaze, Mayo-Ugookor, Lamplough, Langston, Byerley
Subs: Tiny, Oniah, Bowman, Rodall
Millers: Warrington, Rose, Lucas, Trialist, Johnson (Schofield 84), O’Connor, Trialist, Trialist (Beedham 81), Ainsworth (Walker 69), Revell, Agard (Denton HT).
Unused: Thompson, Rowe, Travis, Woods.