The Millers come from behind to win...
ROTHERHAM UNITED will go into their Championship campaign in good heart following a eye-catching victory over Bundesliga outfit 1. FSV Mainz 05 thanks to late goals from Matt Derbyshire and Jordan Bowery.
Following their narrow defeat at the hands of Leicester City in midweek, the Millers reshuffled their midfield engine room for their first ever hosting of overseas opposition at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Lee Frecklington and Richie Smallwood were given a chance to cement their spots for the season opener next week as Emmanuel Ledesma and Paul Green had to settle for substitute berths while Danny Ward was missing following a knock sustained against the Foxes.
The Millers were quick out of the blocks and Chris Maguire showed good poise to cut inside before unleashing a long range effort which stung the palms of Loris Karius before Frecklington lined up a volley following a sweeping move in the next phase of play but Pierre Bengtsson was well-stationed with a clearing header to prevent him striking goalwards.
The German side had their first foray of note when Bengtsson skipped to the byline to fire a tantalising cross which was met by Christian Clemens at the far post but he failed to trouble Kelle Roos in the home goal.
Just past the quarter hour, Maguire shrugged off the attentions of his marker following a long throw to fire a dipping effort which had Karius at full stretch to keep the ball out before Derbyshire pounced on the loose ball but his overhead kick flew harmlessly over the bar.
Moments later, Derbyshire was in the thick of the action once again as headed over following a cross from the left flank before Greg Halford rose highest to meet Frecklington’s whipped free-kick to head narrowly over but the ex-Forest man was penalised for nudging his marker in the process so any goal would have been chalked off.
Just before the half-hour mark, the home faithful had their hearts in their mouths when Clemens tried his luck with a long distance free-kick and his curling effort had Roos scurrying across his goal as it narrowly cleared the upright.
Minutes later, Smallwood fizzed a half volley across the face of goal as Mainz failed to clear their lines decisively following a Halford long-throw before Roos showed good agility to keep out Jairo Samperio’s deflected effort as it arrowed towards the bottom corner but any goal would have been ruled out for offside.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 0 1.FSV Mainz 05 0
The visitors had the first sight of goal following the interval when fine interplay saw Yunus Malli expose Tom Thorpe one-on-one to work a shooting position but his drilled effort was smartly blocked by the feet of Roos before ex-Koln and Schalke striker Clemens was the next to threaten the home goal with a snap shot which fizzed past the upright.
The home side had faint appeals for a spot kick when Thorpe’s arrowed ball saw Derbyshire get on the wrong side of Balogun, who appeared to clip his heels, but referee Paul Tierney waved away home protests.
Just before the hour mark, the visitors came within a whisker of the opener when Daniel Brosinski got to the byline before presenting Malli, with an opportunity to strike and his stroked effort cannoned against the post before a combination of Roos and the retreating defence managed to divert the ball to safety.
The visitors shuffled their pack by making six substitutions and the move almost paid dividends when Florian Niederlechner stung the palms of Roos with a rasping effort from just outside the box.
The Germans were rewarded for their pressure as they broke the deadlock with 18 minutes to go when Danny Latza’s deep free-kick was headed by across goal at the far post and the ball fell invitingly for Balogun, who kept his composure to drill the ball into the heart of the home goal.
The Millers responded superbly to the setback and Aidy White and sub Jordan Bowery combined smartly to see the latter drill an effort which seemed to take a deflection before striking the outside of the post.
However, the Millers were not to be denied as they levelled matters with just ten minutes to go when they turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye.
Bowery led the cavalry charge to release Derbyshire in the channel and the ex-Forest striker showed his class when he cut inside his marker before curling a delightful effort which beat the outstretched hand of Robin Zentner before the ball nestled in the far corner of the net.
Bowery turned from provider to finisher in the dying minutes when he struck the decisive effort when Jonson Clarke-Harris won possession deep inside his own half and an arrowed ball from the left flank saw Bowery collect smartly to advance menacingly towards goal before striking a drilled effort which caught out Zentner out at his near post as it fizzed into the visitors net.
Full time:- Rotherham United 2 1.FSV Mainz 05 1
Teams- Rotherham- Roos, Collins, Maguire (Bowery 67), Frecklington, White (Wood 82), Halford, G Ward (Ledesma 67), Thorpe, Trialist, Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris 82), Smallwood (Green 82). Unused- Collin, Buxton, Richardson, Yates, Warren.
Mainz- Karius (Zentner 62), Balogun, Bengtsson (Latza 62), Muto (Niederlechner 41), Malli (Moritz 62), Baumgartlinger, Bell, Samperio, Brosinski (Park 62), Frei (Bungert 62), Clemens (Koo 62).
Referee- Paul Tierney
Attendance- 3746 (11)