Millers taste defeat......
ROTHERHAM United tasted defeat for the first time in their pre-season campaign as Mansfield Town ran out 2-1 winners at the One Call Stadium
Sean Raggett’s first goal in Millers colours proved in vain as first-half goals from Craig Davies and Tyler Walker gave the hosts the victory.
For the short hop to Nottinghamshire, the Millers travelling contingent got another glimpse of summer recruits Clark Robertson and Kyle Vassell. Marek Rodak and Raggett were handed their first pre-season starts following their cameo substitute appearances in the midweek win over Cardiff City, after putting pen to paper on season long-loans, earlier that day.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when Vassell and in-form Michael Smith combined smartly to present Joe Newell with the opportunity to cross but Matt Preston snuffed out the danger with a smart header.
Moments later, Matt Palmer’s threaded pass paved the way for Anthony Forde to drill a dangerous centre which former Millers ‘keeper Conrad Logan was forced to parry to safety before Mansfield were given the chance to open the scoring with their first foray of note on nine minutes when Hayden White’s diagonal ball saw Mal Benning sneak on the blind side of Anthony Forde, who felled the home full-back in the box, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
From the resultant penalty, Craig Davies kept his nerve to wrongfoot Rodak and slide the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
However, Mansfield’s joy was short lived as Rotherham got themselves back on level terms within three minutes when Newell won a corner, following a purposeful run and cross.
In the next phase of play, Forde curled a hanging centre and Raggett timed his run to perfection, by emerging from the ruck of bodies in the box before planting a powerful header into the heart of the home goal.
The Millers were lifted by the strike and Forde skipped to the by-line to give Billy Jones the chance to whip a deep cross to the far post and Vassell, who had ghosted away from his marker, was unable to control his point-blank header under pressure from Logan before Smith made something out of nothing – with a clever piece of skill, to drill a cross across the face of the Mansfield goal but White was on his toes to clear the danger.
Just before the half hour mark, Will Vaulks latched onto a loose ball before trying his luck from distance but Logan got his body behind his stringing drive before Palmer blazed an effort over, from a promising position on the edge of the box, in the Millers next attack.
Minutes later, Calum Butcher’s cushioned knock down fell kindly for Benning, who struck a fierce volley which had the Millers faithful ducking for cover behind the goal before Forde showed fleet of foot to work a shooting position, on the edge of the box, but his left-footed effort failed to trouble Logan in the home goal.
With half-time approaching, Mansfield regained the lead when White injected pace into a home move with a darting run from the flank and Walker took advantage of his good work to take a touch to ghost into the box before firing past a flat-footed Rodak with a crisp finish.
Moments later, the Millers had their hearts in their mouths when Alex MacDonald beat the offside trap to bare down on goal but he failed to get the ball under his spell and Rodak was able to smother the danger.
Half-time:- Mansfield Town 2 Rotherham United 1
The Millers had the first opportunity of note in the second half when Mansfield failed to clear their lines decisively but Vassell failed to capitalise when he skied his volley over the bar before the visitors had faint appeals for a spot kick when Smith appeared to be felled by the trailing leg of Lewis Gibbens in the box but the referee waved away Rotherham protests.
Moments later, Forde’s free-kick was punched clear by Logan before Newell cut inside on his weaker right foot, before ballooning an effort harmlessly over the bar.
Following a period of Rotherham pressure, Smith kept the ball alive to deliver a delicious centre which saw Jones head goalwards but Logan correctly guessed his intentions to keep the ball out.
Just past the hour mark, Warne made a flurry of substitutions with home grown youngster Ben Wiles being one of those to enter the fray while long-term injury victim Jamie Proctor received a generous hand from the Rotherham travelling contingent.
The Millers were looking to most likely and Michael Ihiekwe came within inches of meeting a visitors’ corner – with the goal at his mercy before Taylor was almost the grateful recipient of David Ball’s slide-rule through ball but the ball skipped off the surface, evading his attentions.
Minutes later, Ball’s clever pass was latched upon by Ryan Williams, who waltzed into the box to drill a low effort which was smothered by Logan before Ball’s superbly disguised pass gave Proctor, a glimpse of goal, and the Millers frontman almost enjoyed a fairytale return to the first-team fold, with a delicate chip which left Logan in no man’s land, but unfortunately, for the visitors, it flew narrowly wide of the target.
Full-time:- Mansfield Town 2 Rotherham United 1
Mansfield Town 2
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Mansfield- Logan, White, Benning, Preston, Pearce (Gibbens 39), Bishop (Sterling-James 63), MacDonald, Davies (Graham 79), Butcher (Mellis 46), Walker (Angol 63), Hamilton. Unused- Olejnik, Atkinson, Digby.
Rotherham- Rodak (Price 62), Vaulks (Ajayi 46), Forde (Taylor 62), Palmer (Wiles 62), Robertson (Wood 62), Purrington (Mattock 62), Vassell (Proctor 70), Newell (Williams 62), Smith (Ball 62), Raggett (Vyner 46), Jones (Ihiekwe 70).
Referee- D England
Attendance- 2083 (466)