Millers earn opening day win.......
Rotherham United made the perfect start to their Sky Bet League One campaign by defeating Plymouth Argyle thanks to first-half goals from Freddie Ladapo and Ben Wiles.
Paul Warne’s side celebrated the return of home fans in fitting style when Ladapo came back to haunt his former club, by netting from close range, early on before the AESSEAL New York Stadium was at fever pitch when Wiles rifled home, soon after.
Warne was able to call on the services of ‘keeper Viktor Johansson and centre-half Michael Ihiekwe, who both shrugged quad injuries, to take their place in the starting line-up.
Summer recruits Ollie Rathbone, Hakeem Odoffin, Rarmani Edmonds-Green and Shane Ferguson were named among the home replacements.
In a lively opening, Argyle had the first sight of goal when Jordan Houghton volleyed narrowly over from the edge of the box following the breakdown of a visitors’ corner.
In Rotherham’s first attack, Ben Wiles blasted over wastefully after Dan Barlaser caught out Argyle with a short pull-back corner.
However, the Millers continued to press and they opened the scoring with their next foray of note on ten minutes.
The home side planted another set-piece into the danger area and Argyle were at sixes and sevens in the ensuring melee and with Ihiekwe among one of those trying to force the ball home, the ball ricocheted into the path of Ladapo, who silenced the visitors faithful, by tapping home into the unguarded net.
Ryan Lowe’s side responded positively to the early setback and Dan Scarr headed narrowly over from Conor Grant’s free-kick before home skipper Richard Wood showed all his experience to usher Ryan Hardie, who was a late call-up into the visitors’ line-up, into touch following a menacing run.
The home fans were on their feet again when Wiles appeared to be tripped in the box by Macaulay Gillesphey but the referee waved away home protests before Grant’s long-range free-kick stung the palms of Johansson, at the other end.
Just before the half-hour, Houghton, once again, threatened the home goal with a stinging drive which was deflected over before Warne’s side took a firm grip on the game, by doubling their advantage, seven minutes before the break.
In a sweeping home move, Lindsay clipped a delicate ball into the channel, and Smith, ghosted away from his marker, before delivering a first-time cross, which evaded the attentions of a retreating Argyle defender, and Wiles, got the ball under his spell, before curling a lovely effort into the top corner of the visitors’ goal giving Mike Cooper no chance.
Half-time: Rotherham United 2 Plymouth Argyle 0
The Millers were caught napping at the start of the second period and Wiles’ under-hit backpass gave Hardie, a sniff of goal, but his lobbed effort cleared the home crossbar before Barlaser deservedly became the first to see yellow for halting an Argyle counter with a deliberate handball.
Warne’s side gradually regained their composure and Smith’s knock forward saw Ladapo in a tussle with an Argyle defender, as he edged towards goal but his final shot lacked power and Cooper was able to smother with ease before Wiles – with his weaker left-foot - failed to connect with Chiedozie Ogbene’s cross, and another chance was lost.
Rotherham threatened again when Wes Harding’s ball over the top saw Mickel Miller take the ball in his stride, before firing goalwards but Cooper was his equal with a low save to his right before Ogbene squandered a good chance when he fired into the home fans behind the goal after being released by Smith.
The Millers fans were then treated to their first glimpse of Rathbone, Odoffin and Ferguson in competitive action.
Lindsay almost added gloss to the scoreline, near the end, when he headed over following Smith’s cross before Ladapo had a shot blocked at close quarters, after Harding’s run from deep.
Full-time: Rotherham United 2 Plymouth Argyle 0
Rotherham United 2
Plymouth Argyle 0
Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Harding, Barlaser (Rathbone 58), Wood, Wiles (Odoffin 76), Ladapo, Ogbene, Miller (Ferguson 83), Lindsay, Ihiekwe, Smith. Unused- Chapman, Sadlier, Kayode, Edmonds-Green.
Plymouth- Cooper, Gillesphey, Houghton, Wilson, Scarr, Edwards, Mayor (Broom 63), Hardie, Grant (Randell 76), Camara, Jephcott (Shirley 76). Unused- Burton, Galloway, Law.
Referee- S Stockbridge
Attendance- 9417 (1102)