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Rotherham 0 v 1 Sheff Utd - Report

31 July 2012

A 15 minute delay and summer downpour...

A 15 minute delay and summer downpour didn't damped the spirits in a sold out New York Stadium, with both sets of supporters in full voice for the Millers' final pre-season friendly at home.

When the action did finally get under way, only a sublime finish midway through the first-half by Manchester United loanee John Cofie couldĀ seperateĀ the teams.

With the Millers reverting back to their traditional red and white, and the Blades sporting their new black and orange change strip, Harry Maguire set the standard for the game with an early chance, going close with a header on 35 seconds. Less than two minutes later and a sublime Ben Pringle through ball found Daniel Nardiello whose chip was just beaten away by the onrushing Mark Howard.

Johnny Mullins headed wide before 10 minutes in the home side finally had the ball in the back of the net. Pringle's inswinging free-kick was glanced into the far post by a Blades head only for the raised flag of the referee's assistant to put an end to the celebrations.

The new woodwork was soon put the test as both sides pushed for the opener; Pringle again the key man for the Millers rattling the bar from a free-kick after Maguire had headed against the post moments earlier.

A slight lull in proceedings came to an end as the home side created the best move of the game. Arnason's clever header in the midfield found Pringle wide on the left whose reverse pass set Ainsworth clear in the middle; the winger opened up his body and fired towards the bottom corner, only for Howard to palm wide.

Buoyed by the uplift in atmosphere, the Millers continued to press with Nardiello's fine solo work on the left leading to a cross that Kayode Odejayi met, only for Howard again to get behind the ball.

However, the missed opportunities soon proved costly, and Cofie raced down the left-hand side, to get on the end of Erik Tonne's ball before cutting inside and curling past Scott Shearer from the corner of the area. The big 'keeper was soon on hand to prevent a second goal less than a minute later however, as he made a point-blank save from McAllister's header.

Half-time
Millers 0-1 Sheff Utd

The visitors introduced four substitutes after the break, including former Rotherham loanee Stephen Quinn who was greeted with a warm reception from the home support.

Despite the Blades' refreshed look, the home side continued to press for the equaliser and dominated the early exchanges after the restart with a quick succession of Kari Arnason throws causing unrest in the Sheffield United defence.

However, their best chance of the spell came when Nardiello found himself with time to float a perfectly weighted cross into the path of the unmarked Odejayi, who skewed his shot wide of the target from close range.

Millers boss Steve Evans waited until the 62nd minute to make his first changes of the game, as Jason Taylor and Kieran Agard entered the fray. The former Everton and Yeovil frontman was involved straight away as his bursting run and pass allowed Pringle to whip a ball to the far post, where Lionel Ainsworth was lurking only to fire miscue his shot under the challenge of a Sheffield United defender.

Manchester United loanee Cofie continued to look threatening as the spearhead of the visitors' attack and came close to doubling his tally for the night with a ferocious effort from the edge of the area on 72 minutes.

New recruit Shaun Miller came on to take his place just moments later and almost made his first touch for his new club a goal when he latched onto a Richard Cresswell centre, only to be thwarted by a smart block from Shearer.

The Millers almost capitalised on a lapse in concentration in the visitors' defence when Shearer lofted a long ball forward for the industrious Agard to chase down, only to see his effort smothered by the onrushing Howard in the Sheffield United goal.

Substitute Taylor was next to come close when he fired a shot goalwards after the option of a pass out to Pringle on the wing was cut out and was unlucky to see his powerful drive whistle just over the crossbar.

Evans' side continued their quest for an equaliser and were unlucky not to get one when Mark Bradley's deep cross found Pringle at the back post, but as the midfielder lined up his shot an excellent intervention from Quinn cleared the danger.

Sheffield United almost wrapped the result up with a breakaway attack that left Millers defender Laurie Wilson with three players to contend with, but Quinn's effort was well turned around the post by Shearer.

Full-time:
Millers 0-1 Sheff Utd

Millers: Shearer, Bradley, Mullins, Sharps, Wilson, Ainsworth (O'Connor 79), Noble (Taylor 62), Arnason (Evans 79), Pringle, Odejayi, Nardiello (Agard 62).
Unused: Warrington, Revell, Rose.

Sheff Utd: Howard, Westlake, Williams (McMahon HT), Maguire, Hill, Flynn (McFadzean 72), McAllister (Doyle HT), Montgomery (McDonald HT), Tonne (Quinn HT), Cofie (Miller 73), Porter (Cresswell 69).
Unused: Long, Ironside, Philliskirk, Harriott, Chappell.

Attendance: 11,033

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