Strike duo seal comebackDANIEL Nardiello was the Rotherham United hero as his late winner earned Steve Evans’ men the impressive scalp of Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers.
Following their unbeaten tour of Scotland last week, the Millers’ returned to action at the New York Stadium in the first of four home friendlies against Dougie Freedman’s men.
New signings Richard Brindley and David Worrall made their first outings infront of the home faithful while fellow recruits Danny Hylton, Rob Milsom, Adam Collin and Michael Tidser were named amongst the substitutes for Steve Evans’ men.
The home side had the first sight of the visitors’ goal when Worrall attempted to bulldoze his way into the box but American international Tim Ream was on-hand to make a last-ditch tackle but inavertedly he almost diverted the ball into his own goal as the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the target.
The ex-Bury winger was in the thick of the early action and after collecting possession minutes later, he fired a rasping effort which whistled over the bar from just outside the box before Matthew Mills had to be on-hand to snuff out the winger as he looked to met an inviting cross from Ben Pringle in the next phase of play.
On the quarter hour, Kari Arnason rose highest from a Pringle corner but the Icelandic international couldn’t control his header as it looped over the crossbar before Wanderers had their first attack of note when England U21 international Marvin Sordell cut in menacingly from the right flank before firing a low drive which stung the palms of home ‘keeper Scott Shearer.
Minutes later, Lee Frecklington was harshly adjudged to have halted Conor Wilkinson in his tracks just outside the box and Robert Hall fired a tantalising free-kick which struck the side netting.
Just past the half-hour mark, Arnason unsuccessfully tried his luck from distance as he failed to trouble Adam Bogdan in the visitors’ goal before Mills almost bundled the ball home from point-blank range as he was the first to meet Hall’s inviting free-kick at the other end.
With half-time approaching, Daniel Nardiello came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock twice in a matter of seconds as he agonisingly failed to meet Worrall’s superb centre before he was slow to react from Pringle’s inswinging delivery seconds later despite being in acres of space in the box.
However, Wanderers stunned the home faithful by making the breakthrough three minutes before the interval.
There looked little danger when Hall picked up possession just outside the box but he worked his way past a number of half-hearted challenges by the home side and after reaching the byline, he pulled the ball back into the advancing run of Sordell, who calmly slotted home from point-blank range.
In first-half stoppage time, Claude Davis headed over as he climbed highest from another pinpoint Pringle delivery.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
Following the restart, the Millers’ started on a frontfoot and an arrowed ball was cushioned by Alex Revell paving the way for Frecklington, to open up his body before firing a dipping effort which was inches wide of the target.
Moments later, Joe Skarz attacked with menace before rolling a ball into the path of the advancing Nardiello, who curled an effort narrowly wide before Worrall caught Wanderers’ napping by snatching possession and releasing the ex-Barnsley striker but despite having a sight of goal, his effort was blocked by a retreating defender.
Revell then stung the palms of Bogdan with an instinctive volley from distance before Frecklington agonisingly failed to connect with a Pringle centre minutes later.
However, the Millers’ were rewarded for their pressure with a deserved equaliser on 63 minutes.
Following a quick counter-attack after Craig Morgan won possession, Pringle advanced along the left flank before floating a superb centre which saw Revell stoop to head home from six yards giving Bogdan no chance.
The Championship outfit almost regained the lead within seconds when Ream’s arrowed ball saw Chris Lester get on the wrong side of his marker but despite advancing on Shearer, he dragged his shot wide when he should have done better.
With Bolton making a flurry of substitutions, the game inevitably lost shape and rhythm until Revell was upended on the edge of the box giving the home side a sniff of victory.
From the resulting free-kick, Pringle curled a delightful effort which had Bogdan at full stretch but the Wanderers’ keeper held on to retain parity.
However, the Millers’ stunned the visitors’ by scoring the decisive winner with three minutes to go.
After picking up possession on halfway, Pringle threaded a superb pass which caught the visitors’ defence square and Nardiello beat the offside trap before keeping his cool to calmly the slot the ball home past the advancing Bogdan.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 2 Bolton Wanderers 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Shearer, Brindley, Skarz (Rowe 88), Arnason, Davis (Rose 58), Worrall, Frecklington, Revell, Nardiello, Pringle (Walker 88), Morgan. Subs:- Mullins, O’Connor, Hylton, Bradley, Milsom, Noble, Collin, Agard, Tidser.
Bolton:- Bogdan, Mears (Riley 72), Mills (Kamara 72), Ream (Baptiste 67), Andrews (Davies 72), Hall (Tierney 67), Sordell (Pratley 72), Gregus, Wilkinson (Knight 72), Bolger (Odelusi 67), Lester (Eagles 67). Subs:-Lynch, Trialist.
Attendance:- 2,295 (269)