The Millers in pre-season action...
Record signing Jordan Bowery got his first goal in a Millers shirt but it proved indecisive as Rotherham United fell 2-1 to Conference North outfit Tamworth.
After falling behind in the opening three minutes, Bowery headed home a Ben Pringle corner moments later only for some quick thinking in the second half to summon the Millers to defeat at the Lamb Ground.
Assistant Manager Paul Raynor took charge of the Millers’ later starting game this afternoon, and a side which featured five new faces and trialist Jonathan Greening.
A frantic start saw both sides struggle to keep possession in the opening exchanges before the Millers fell behind just three minutes in. A long ball from the goalkeeper James Belshaw was misread by Craig Morgan, allowing Kayden Jackson to nip in and roll beyond Scott Loach and into the net via the far post.
It proved a wake-up call for the Millers and they quickly hit back two minutes later when Mat Sadler crossed from the left, but Bowery was off target with a header. However, he wouldn’t make the same mistake in the 10th minute as more good work by Sadler resulted in a corner which Ben Pringle curled onto the striker’s head and his effort bounced into the far post to level things up.
In typical pre-season style, the game suffered a lull during the first period, but the busy Pringle continued looking to influence it, first sending a teasing cross in from the left which was just beyond Agard, before popping up on the right and curling one towards Bowery, only for the striker to be flagged for offside.
On the half-hour mark, Morgan put a diagonal ball behind the defence which Kieran Agard latched onto, and the striker’s half-volley from the angle stung the palms of Belshaw.
As the half entered the final 15 minutes, the Millers began to unlock the Lambs’ defence with two chances being spurned by last season’s leading goalscorer Agard. Firstly, Loach started a counter-attack which led to Michael Tidser’s piercing through ball to Pringle being squared to the frontman who lost his balance when given a golden opportunity, and moments later he did get a shot away but Belshaw was out quick to block with his feet.
Tamworth 1 – 1 Millers
The second-half saw an unchanged Millers side start well with Tidser setting up Richard Brindley, whose shot was drilled wide from distance.
However, the good start didn’t last long, as Tamworth quickly retook the lead as a free-kick, 25 yards from goal caught out Loach at the near post and just crept in beyond the scrambling stopper.
Rotherham soon went in search of an equaliser as Tidser’s clever through-ball almost put Agard clear and when he was crowded out, Brindley eventually managed to get a shot in which Belshaw got down well to his left to tip wide. From the resulting corner, Bowery was given another free-header but couldn’t find the necessary contact.
In a rare attack by the home side, some neat interplay led to a shot from 25 yards which Loach tipped over the bar acrobatically. From the corner, the Millers broke and another Tidser through ball set Conor Newton free, but the former Newcastle man failed to bring the ball under control.
As the game reached the hour mark the Millers continued to press with Bowery cutting in from the left but only finding the goalkeeper with his effort, and Pringle not connecting properly with a speculative volley from 30 yards which was gathered up comfortably.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, the Millers fired in two more shots from distance. Jonathan Greening managed to spread the ball to Brindley who made a terrific run down the right before cutting in and forcing a save from the Tamworth stopper, and Tidser just moments later drilled his effort over the bar.
The game ended with relatively little action barring a controversial moment when a back-pass was awarded against the Millers despite the ball appearing to come off the thigh of Kirk Broadfoot.
Tamworth: Belshaw, Pursehouse, Preston, Hildreth, Grayson, Clarke, Adams, Sleath, Taylor, Hibbert, Jackson.
Millers: Loach, Brindley, Broadfoot, Morgan, Sadler; Newton, Greening, Tidser, Pringle; Agard, Bowery.
Unused: Thompson, Lucas, Walker, Johnson.