Patterson strike brings first defeat...
ROTHERHAM UNITED lost their unbeaten pre-season record as local rivals Huddersfield Town struck late at the New York Stadium.
The game looked set for a goalless draw following a tame affair but sub Martin Paterson’s strike with three minutes remaining saw Mark Robins’ men earn a morale-boosting victory.
Following their hard-fought friendly victory over Bolton Wanderers in midweek, Steve Evans reshuffled the pack with new signings Adam Collin, Michael Tidser and Rob Milsom making their first New York starts.
For the Terriers, Robins was making a return to the club which he served with distinction both as a player and manager while former loanee Liam Ridehalgh was named among the visiting substitutes.
The Millers’ had the first sight of goal when the visitors’ failed to clear and Milsom unleashed a rasping drive from the edge of the box which was blocked bravely by the retreating Peter Clarke.
The home side started brightly and Milsom and Joe Skarz combined well on the left flank and the latter delivered a tantalising cross which was misjudged by a visiting defender giving Alex Revell a sight of goal but he screwed his shot wide of the target.
Moments later, Skarz was fortunate to escape punishment against his home town club when he upended Adam Clayton with a reckless lunge before Town had their first effort when Danny Ward’s instinctive effort forced Collin into a parry before James Vaughan blasted over from the rebound.
The home side then came within a whisker of the opener when Milsom’s fine run released Kieran Agard whose pullback fell invitingly for David Worrall, who was crowded out but as the Terriers failed to clear, Michael O’Connor’s timely pass paved the way for Tidser, to strike goalwards but his deflected shot was smartly turned around the post by Alex Smithies.
O’Connor was then almost the lucky beneficiary of indecision by Smithies and Oliver Norwood but the highly-rated Terriers ‘keeper recovered to clear the danger.
After Vaughan was cynically hauled down by Craig Morgan, Clayton fired a drilled free-kick which Vaughan cleverly diverted into the home net with Collin wrongfooted but the ex-Everton strikers’ joy was curtailed when the assistant referee had flagged for offside.
Vaughan then fizzed an effort which failed to trouble Collin before Jack Hunt spooned an effort over the bar minutes later.
At the other end, Agard almost got on the end of a Revell flick-on but Smithies was alert to the danger before Mark Bradley climbed highest from a Milsom centre but his header blazed wide.
Just past the half hour mark, Worrall’s clever pass saw Agard skip past his marker to force his way in the box before drilling a cross which was cleared with Revell lurking menacingly.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 0 Huddersfield Town 0
Following the restart, Evans made nine changes to his side with only O’Connor and Milsom, escaping the cull with the ex-Aberdeen player reverting to a full-back role.
The visitors’ had the first sight of goal in the second stanza when Jordan Sinnott cut inside into the box before drilling a low effort which failed to trouble Scott Shearer.
Hunt then got the better of Milsom to advance menacingly into the box but Johnny Mullins’ was on-hand to snuff out the danger.
The Terriers’ were looking the most likely and an arrowed ball saw Vaughan get on the wrong side of Kari Arnason, who was napping momentarily, but Shearer stood his ground at point-blank range to block his deft goalbound effort.
In the Millers’ first foray of note in the second half, Ben Pringle struck a superb first time cross which saw Mitchell Rose climb above his marker but under pressure, he couldn’t control his header.
Following an incisive counter-attack, Danny Hylton narrowly failed to get on the end of a run and cross from Daniel Nardiello, which was the last involvement for the ex-Barnsley striker, who pulled up immediately after delivering the centre.
With time running out, Arnason had half a chance when he met an inviting Pringle cross but his header was crowded out by a ruck of bodies in the box.
However, the visitors made the decisive strike with three minutes to go when sub Adam Hammill waltzed into the home box evading a number of home challengers and after skipping to the byline, his pull back fell kindly for the on-rushing Paterson, who calmly stroked home from close range.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 0 Huddersfield Town 1
Rotherham- Collin (Shearer HT), Bradley (Brindley HT), Davis (Arnason HT), Morgan (Mullins HT), Skarz (Pringle HT), Worrall (Rose HT), O’Connor, Tidser (Noble HT), Milsom (Rowe 71), Revell (Nardiello HT, Walker 77), Agard (Hylton HT).
Huddersfield:- Smithies, Hunt, Clarke (Hammill 69), Lynch (Smith 88), Dixon (Carroll 69), Sinnott (Higginbotham 79), Norwood, Clayton (Crooks 88), Ward (Paterson 69), Scannell (Wallace 69), Vaughan. Subs:- Bennett, Carr, Ridehalgh.
Referee:- Craig Pawson
Attendance:- 2445 (421)