Millers get their first win on tour...GOALS from Mark Bradley and Mitchell Rose either side of the interval earned Rotherham United the first victory of their Scottish tour as they breezed past Livingston with a minimum of fuss.
Following their goalless draw with Greenock Morton last night, chief Steve Evans’ reshuffled his pack for the second game in as many days with Jamaican defender Claude Davis making his first appearance of pre-season.
Recent recruit Michael Tidser was given his first start following his cameo substitute role at his former club while former Millers striker Mark Burchill was originally named in the starting line-up but was replaced prior to kick-off at Almondvale.
The hosts started brightly and they had the first sight of goal when an eye of the needle pass broke the Millers’ defensive line but as Marc McNulty squared the ball invitingly into the path of the advancing Jack Beaumont, who looked a certain scorer, the Millers’ were rescued by a timely offside flag.
However, in their first meaningful attack of note, the Millers’ stunned the home side by breaking the deadlock on seven minutes.
Following a ball forward, Alex Revell was upended by Jason Talbot in an inviting position and from the resultant free-kick, Tidser swung a delightful centre to the far post which was met by Bradley, who calmly steered the ball into the heart of the visitors’ goal giving Darren Jamieson no chance.
The visitors’ were lifted by the opener and Bradley came within a whisker of making it two when Michael O’Connor’s flighted cross was cushioned down by Revell into the path of the Millers’ right-back who unleashed a volley which whistled narrowly past the home goal.
The home side were finally grabbing a foothold in the proceedings and Moussa Mampuya’s rampaging run forward saw the home full-back fire an effort into the side netting from a promising position before Daniel Nardiello latched onto a clearance moments later at the other end but although the Livingston defence backed off, he blazed his shot well over.
Minutes later, Nardiello released Rob Milsom, whose first time cross was met by the head of David Worrall but his downward header failed to trouble the home ‘keeper.
With half-an-hour gone, Icelandic international Kari Arnason tried his luck from distance but his free-kick flew harmlessly over the bar before Nardiello curled an effort well wide of the target moments later.
Half-time:- Livingston 0 Rotherham United 1
With only Joe Skarz escaping the cull of Evans following the introduction of ten substitutes at half-time, the Millers’ wasted a glorious opportunity to double their advantage minutes into the second stanza.
Ben Pringle got a yard on his marker before swinging a delightful cross to the far post which found the unmarked Danny Hylton, but the ex-Aldershot striker’s point-blank effort was saved instinctively by Jamieson.
Moments later, Pringle was again in the thick of the action when he cut inside before unleashing a low drive which Jamieson smothered at the second attempt, with Kieran Agard waiting to pounce.
After Richard Brindley was flattened by Talbot on the right flank, Pringle delivered another tantalising centre which was bundled clear by the home rearguard.
The ex-Derby midfielder was at the centre of Rotherham’s attacking intent and after Connor McDonald lunged at Rose on the touchline, Pringle swung an inswinging free-kick which was met by the head of Johnny Mullins, who bizarrely headed over despite having the goal at his mercy.
However, the Millers’ were rewarded for their pressure when they doubled their advantage with ten minutes remaining.
A cross from the left flank was only half-cleared by the home rearguard and Rose pounced on the loose ball to unleash a rasping effort which flew into the top corner of the home goal.
Full-time:- Livingston 0 Rotherham United 2
Livingston:- Jamieson (Walker 67), Mampuya (Mullen 67), Talbot, Mensing, Fordyce (Donaldson 56), Beaumont, Trialist (Downie 60), O’Brien (Trialist 80), McNulty, Trialist, McDonald.
Rotherham:- Collin (Shearer HT), Bradley (Brindley HT), Arnason (Morgan HT), Davis (Mullins HT), Skarz (Rowe 70), Worrall (Rose HT), O’Connor (Frecklington HT), Tidser (Noble HT), Milsom (Pringle HT, Walker 85), Revell (Hylton HT), Nardiello (Agard HT).
Referee:- John Beaton
Attendance:- 389 (tbc)