The Millers included a mix of youth and experience for this reserve clash at the Proact Stadium, despite Steve Evans’ side only arriving back at 4am after heavy traffic in Wycombe last night. First team substitutes Kayode Odejayi, Daniel Kearns and Kieran Agard all started, whilst Scott Shearer returned in goal playing his first match since sustaining his shoulder and elbow injuries. Craig Morgan also continued his rehabilitation from injury starting alongside Dan Rowe at centre half.
There was very little in terms of goalmouth incident with neither side producing any clear-cut openings in the first 20 minutes. Odejayi forced Josh Barrington into a routine claim when his header looped into the youngsters hands after a cross from the right – that was the closest the Millers came in a stagnant opening.
On 26 minutes Odejayi headed towards goal again, this time planting his header over the bar after a cross from the right by Nicky Walker.
As the game drifted towards the half hour mark, Agard’s hard working and lively start to the game brought reward. A long punt forward by Shearer wasn’t dealt with by Jonathan Wafula, in stepped Agard who showed good upper body strength to win the ball, before firing past Barrington from 12 yards.
Chesterfield’s best opening came on 31 minutes when on the counter attack the ball was pulled back to Jordan Clark who rattled the crossbar with a shot from 20 yards.
A minute later it was the Millers turn to hit the upright. Good work again by Agard down the left resulted in a pinpoint centre, but Odejayi’s header from eight yards flicked the post and rolled to safety.
The Millers made a positive start to the second half and 10 minutes inside the second period it was 2-0. Kearns picked the ball up just inside the area before showing great disguise to work a yard of space for himself, before firing past a helpless Barrington.
Chesterfield came close to a response when Kristian Ramsey-Dickson ran clear on goal but after rounding Shearer, his shot was cleared off the line by Reece Lucas. He didn’t have to wait long for another opportunity however, after the Millers failed to clear a cross into the area the ball looped to Ramsey-Dickson who headed beyond Shearer into the top corner.
The home side were now in the ascendancy and could have levelled just bafter the hour but Ramsey-Dickson shot straight at Shearer after a pull back by Tendayi Darikwa. Then with 20 minutes remaining Danny Whitaker found space just inside the area but dragged his shot wide.
The Millers thought they had sealed the win when a perfect through ball by Phil Woods was slotted away by Walker, but the linesman’s flag was raised for an apparent handball.
Late chances for Ramsey-Dickson and Tim Whittaker were squandered as the Millers held out for a narrow victory.
Chesterfield 1 v 2 Rotherham
Chesterfield: Barrington; Wafula, McNicholas, Randall, Broadhead, Whittaker, Darikwa (Hazel 69), Clark, Ramsey-Dickson, Whitaker, Henshall.
Subs not used: Mason, Scully, Slack, Fereday.
Rotherham: Shearer; Lucas, Morgan, Rowe, Travis, Cadman, Woods, Walker, Kearns (Bell 73), Odejayi (Williamson 78), Agard (Beedham 78).
Subs not used: Thompson, Hart.