Millers earn eye-catching friendly win.....
Rotherham United’s preparations for their Sky Bet Championship campaign gathered a pace as they earned a morale-boosting victory over top-flight Sheffield United.
In front of a healthy crowd at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, the Millers claimed the scalp of their near neighbours thanks to a superb early goal from a Trialist.
The home faithful got another glimpse of recent recruit Cafu in Millers colours while fellow summer signing Dillon Phillips was named on the bench.
The home side had the first glimpse of goal when Cameron Humphreys launched a long throw into the box which bisected the Blades centre halves but the Trialist failed to make a telling touch and Wes Foderingham snuffed out the danger.
The Blades had a good opportunity when Cafu’s free-kick was plucked out of sky by Foderingham, who set the visitors away and Andre Brooks’ slide rule pass presented Iliman Ndiaye with the chance to cut inside with menace but his tame effort was straight down the throat of Viktor Johansson.
The Millers had a few decent moments when Jordan Hugill found himself in space but his cross was cut out before Ollie Rathbone attempted to find the Rotherham striker with a clever reverse pass but it was intercepted by a retreating defender.
However, Rotherham took the lead with an audacious piece of skill from the Trialist on 12 minutes.
There looked little danger for the visitors when the Millers planted the ball back into the box following a home attack but the Trialist with his back to goal, showed a clever piece of skill, with an opportunistic flick, possibly with a view to keeping the ball alive from a tight angle, but Foderingham was helpless, as the ball lofted over him and into the corner of the Blades net.
The home side were having the better of the proceedings and Cafu’s corner was met by Tyler Blackett but his near-post effort – with the aid of a deflection - narrowly cleared the visitors’ crossbar.
Moments later, Tolaji Bola swung over a cross which evaded home runners before Cafu tried his luck with a lovely curling effort from distance which was arrowing into the top corner of the net before Foderingham’s acrobatic intervention.
The Blades were decidedly second best for the opening half but the Millers were indebted to firstly Johansson for denying Daniel Jebbison with a fine, reflex save, before the Blades striker looked a certain scorer from the rebound but Humphreys came out of nowhere with a superb last ditch block, as the ball looped agonisingly over the home goal.
Jack Robinson failed to make the most of a free header from the resultant corner when he nodded wide.
Just past the half hour mark, Rotherham came within a coat of paint from doubling their lead.
Cafu weighed up his options from a long range free-kick and the Portuguese midfielder struck a lovely effort which beat the outstretched hand of Foderingham but agonisingly cannoned against the woodwork before falling to safety.
Cafu was impressing the Millers faithful with his composure and calmness in possession, and after Ollie Norwood tripped him on the edge of the box, Conor Bramall failed to exact retribution from the following free-kick when he smashed an effort straight into the Blades wall.
Just prior to half-time, Brooks and then Ndiaye, moments later, blasted wastefully over from promising positions.
Half-time: Rotherham United 1 Sheffield United 0
In the opening exchanges of the second 45, Rathbone put his body on the line to prevent Osborn from shooting goalwards following good work by Ndiaye.
At the other end, Cafu and Bramall combined superbly with the latter fizzing a pass into the path of Ben Wiles, who fired over from a narrow angle.
Minutes later, Jebbison found himself in a footrace with Grant Hall and after ushering the Rotherham defender out of the way, Johansson won the battle of wills in the one-on-one situation to block his goalbound shot at close quarters.
Ndiaye volleyed narrowly wide from Osborn’s assist before Cafu and Hugill – who had both impressed - were withdrawn just prior to the hour mark.
With the Millers retaining a slender lead, Ndiaye made something out of nothing to dig out a shot which was deflected just wide of the target.
Sub Charlie Staniland was cautioned for hauling down Georgie Kelly – who netted a hat-trick at the weekend – as the Irish striker charged him down before darting towards the Blades goal.
Harrison Neal failed to trouble Johansson in the home goal with a long range effort.
The game naturally lost a bit of momentum with the Blades making eight changes with around 15 minutes to go before the Millers made a further three in the last ten minutes.
The final whistle brought acclaim from the Rotherham faithful, who will have been impressed by their side’s display.
Full-time: Rotherham United 1 Sheffield United 0
Rotherham United 1
Sheffield United 0
Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Bramall (Abraham 84), Blackett (Hull 78), Cafu (McGuckin 58), Wiles (Seisay 84), Hugill (Odoffin 58). Trialist (Kelly 53), Bola, Rathbone (Durose 64), Hall (McCart 68), Humphreys (Ayres 84). Subs: Phillips, Hatton, Giwi, Grove
Sheffield United- Foderingham, Baldock (Sachdev 78), Basham (Barratt 78), Robinson (Gomis 78), Larouci (Smith 78), Neal, Norwood (Staniland 39), Osborn (Buyabu 78), Brooks (Maguire 78), Ndiaye (Hackford 78), Jebbison (Blacker 78). Unused- Amissah, Dickinson.
Referee- A Madley
Attendance- 7216 (3779)