The Millers start their pre-season tour of Scotland with a draw...
ROTHERHAM UNITED started their pre-season tour of Scotland with a hard-fought draw with Greenock Morton, as chief Steve Evans gave a run out to the majority of his first-team squad.
Following their 2-0 victory over Parkgate last Saturday in their first run-out of the campaign, new signings Richard Brindley, Rob Milsom and David Worrall started at Cappielow Park while former Aldershot striker Danny Hylton was paired with Alex Revell upfront.
The Millers started brightly and they had the first sight of goal when Revell had a shot blocked by a retreating defender.
Moments later, Lee Frecklington’s cross-cum-shot was almost diverted into his own goal by Mark McLaughlin but the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the target.
With quarter an hour gone, Ben Pringle was lucky to escape further punishment following a wild tackle before the hosts had their first attack of note with a long-range strike which failed to trouble ‘keeper Scott Shearer.
At the other end, Mitch Rose stung the palms of Derek Gaston with a rasping effort from distance before the visitors came within a whisker of the opener.
Following a sweeping move by the Millers, Pringle spotted Worrall in space on the right but he screwed his shot into the side netting from just inside the box when he should have done better.
Moments later, the Millers caught the home side napping once again and Hylton found the ex-Bury flyer in acres of space but after cutting inside, his left-footed effort was deflected wide of the target.
Just before the half hour, Pringle blazed over from distance before Rose’s weak pass led a home counter which resulted in Johnny Mullins tripping a home winger on the edge of the box.
From the resulting free-kick, Joe McKee curled an effort around the visitors’ wall which saw Shearer parry the ball to safety before the ball was cleared.
Just prior to half-time, Shearer’s clearance released Hylton, who shrugged off the attentions of Jonathan Page but as he looked to strike goalwards, McLaughlin bravely blocked his goalbound effort.
At the other end, Morton executed a perfectly disguised free-kick which gave Archie Campbell a sight of goal but his toe-poked effort was diverted to safety by the legs of Shearer.
Half-time:- Greenock Morton 0 Rotherham United 0
Evans overhauled his starting eleven at the start of the second stanza with 10 changes including ex-Carlisle keeper Adam Collin, who replaced Shearer between the sticks.
The Millers were quick out of the blocks and after Kieran Agard was hauled down on the edge of the box, Michael O’Connor floated a free-kick which saw Craig Morgan climb highest, but his downward header rolled harmlessly wide of the target.
The visitors almost had a lucky break when Mark Bradley charged down a home defender deep into his box but the ricochet fell into the grateful arms of sub Nicolas Caraux.
The Millers wasted a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when Nicky Walker robbed Page before advancing menacingly into the box and although he had a chance to shoot, he unselfishly found Daniel Nardiello, who screwed his effort wide despite having the goal at his mercy.
Moments later, Agard fired a skimming effort from distance which forced Caraux into a smart save before O’Connor’s free-kick was rolled into the path of David Noble, whose low effort was cleverly flicked goalwards by Agard but Caraux instinctively parried the ball onto the bar before Morton cleared the danger.
Morgan then saw yellow for a cynical lunge moments later before Collin was grateful for wasteful home finishing when he was well-stationed to snuff out the danger.
At the other end, Agard had a sight of goal but off balance, he failed to hit the target before new signing Michael Tidser was given a standing ovation on his return to his former club as he replaced Rose with quarter an hour remaining.
The midfielder almost made an immediate impact but he spooned his effort over the bar before Agard’s lay-off paved the way for O’Connor to fire a low drive which had Caraux at full stretch.
With minutes remaining, Nardiello weaved his way into the box before firing a snap shot which Caraux saved at his near post
Full-time:- Greenock Morton 0 Rotherham United 0
Greenock Morton (From):- Gaston, Taggart, Fitzpatrick, Bachirou, Page, McLaughlin, Trialist, Trialist, Campbell, McKee, O’Brien, Trialist, Jamieson, Trialist, Trialist, Wallace, Fulton, Trialist, Caraux, Knight.
Rotherham United:- Shearer (Collin HT), Brindley (Bradley HT), Rowe (Skarz HT), Mullins (Arnason HT), Milsom (Morgan HT), Worrall (O’Connor HT), Rose (Tidser 76), Frecklington (Noble HT), Pringle (Walker HT) Hylton (Nardiello HT), Revell (Agard HT)
Referee:- Barry Cook