The Millers in pre-season action against Stocksbridge...
Three Kieran Agard goals went a long way to helping Rotherham United overturn an early scare and run out 6-1 winners at Northern Premier League outfit Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Manager Steve Evans took the opportunity to look at the half of the squad for whom the majority featured in the narrow 2-1 defeat at Tamworth at the weekend. Only Febian Brandy on his return from injury, Paul Green and Richard Wood were on show for the Manager for two successive games.
With little over 60 seconds on the clock, a diagonal ball from the Stocksbridge left seemed like food and drink for the Millers defence but a lack of communication between Mat Sadler and Scott Loach saw the left-back head the ball into an empty net beyond the onrushing ‘keeper.
The lead didn’t last long however, and within five minutes the Millers had not only levelled, but taken the lead. First of all a routine ball over the top set Jordan Bowery free to lift over the goalkeeper for his second goal in as many games and then Ben Pringle’s cross was headed against the crossbar before Kieran Agard showed his predatory instinct to poke home from inside the six yard box.
The Millers seemed to get over that early scare and were soon creating chances with Bowery heading into the arms of Flynn, Agard glancing a header narrowly over the crossbar when Brindley picked him out from the right, and Brandy rifling a shot just over on the 20 minute mark.
Stocksbridge did begin to look for a way back into the game during the midway point of the first-half with Lee Garside firing just over from distance, and Scott Turner trying his luck unsuccessfully with a free-kick.
With the sun setting behind Loach’s goal, the Millers looked to further their advantage with Pringle taking aim from distance, and Bowery and Agard combining well ultimately to be off target.
Stocksbridge 1-2 Millers
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with a goal in under two minutes. Rotherham lad Nicky Walker, brought on a half-time to replace Brandy received a pass from Bowery inside the area and curled into the far post with his first touch of the game.
Within five minutes, the Millers had made it four, with Walker this time turning provider with an excellent reverse through ball to Agard to smash home from the right-hand side of the area.
Four became five pretty soon after as well with Brindley’s corner not being dealt with and eventually Walker fed Paul Green who got his head over the ball to rifle into the bottom corner.
The game suffered a lull following those early goals until a searching ball in the 72nd minute saw Bowery battle to leave the ball loose, and Agard net his third of the game by sliding under Flynn.
The Millers pushed for a seventh and it was almost magnificent by Walker, collecting the ball on the right-hand side before skipping inside beyond two challenges but in the end firing narrowly wide of the far post.
With 15 minutes to go, Sadler fired across goal in search of a goal at the right end, and Bowery probed down the right before pulling hi shot across goal and beyond the post. Bowery was also off target moments later following more good work down the left this time by Walker who crossed to the far post where the former Aston Villa striker headed just over from a matter of inches.
Manager Steve Evans made several changes with seven minutes to go, replacing hat-trick hero Kieran Agard and it was one of those changes, Alex Wiles who had the last attempt of the game when he met Walker’s corner, but couldn’t keep his volley down.
Steels: Flynn, Lever, Schofield (Payne 65), Biggins (Branbury 55), Laight, Senior (Cadzow 72), Turner, Woodward (Cadzow 65), Garside (Ring 7), Joynes (Shillito 55), Dyer-Stewart (Hughes 55).
Millers: Loach (Denton 83), Brindley, Sadler, Wood, Morgan, Brandy (Walker HT), Green (Wiles 83), Newton, Pringle (Warren 83), Bowery, Agard (Bailey-King 83).