The Millers fall to defeat at Impact Arena...
Rotherham United were beaten for the first time during pre-season after they slipped to a 3-2 defeat to Alfreton Town at The Impact Arena.
The Millers were in front twice against the National League North outfit after a brace from Grant Ward, who took his tally to four for pre-season, but a late Joe Ironside effort won the game for Nicky Law’s Alfreton.
Manager Steve Evans again gave a run out to the majority of his squad, as the Millers completed their final outing before the pre-season tour of Scotland, starting with the game with Greenock Morton on Saturday.
The Millers looked livelier in the early exchanges with defender Richard Wood going close with two early opportunities, both from Lee Frecklington corners, but he guided his efforts either side of the posts.
On 15 minutes Danny Ward latched onto a useful through ball from left-back Danny Collins, but smashed his effort wide of the near post.
Alfreton had the best chance of the opening exchanges when the Millers failed to deal with a low cross from the left, allowing Sam Jones a shot at the back post but his effort was deflected wide by a combination of Collins and Adam Collin.
Grant Ward celebrated his loan agreement with the Millers by grabbing his third goal in as many pre-season outings on 26 minutes. The Spurs’ loanee arrived late at the back post to bundle in a cross from the left to give the Millers the lead.
On another day Wood could have had a hat-trick. From another Frecklington corner he got the run on his marker, but glanced his header just wide of the far post.
With five minutes to go before the interval the hosts provided the best moment of the half through Jones. He picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and arrowed an unstoppable effort into the top corner giving Collin no chance.
Danny Ward was unlucky not to put the Millers back in front when he lifted the ball over the onrushing Alfreton ‘keeper Lewis King, but Todd Jordan got back to hook the ball off the line.
Alfreton Town 1 v 1 Rotherham United
The hosts missed a glorious chance to take the lead when Dan Bradley got round sub Ross Dickinson, before pulling the ball back from the byline, but John Johnston’s shot came off the post. The follow up cross was the headed towards goal by Bradley, but Collin tipped the ball over the bar.
After the scare the Millers went straight down the other end to regain the lead. Sub Tom Rose’s ball forward found Grant Ward who smashed the ball beyond sub ‘keeper Nick Draper from the angle of the penalty area for his second goal of the night.
Collin was called into action again shortly after when Johnston burst down the left, but Millers’ custodian Collin saved low down with his feet from a tight angle.
At the other end a Clarke-Harris cross was deflected out of the penalty area, where Frecklington unleashed a rasping drive which flew over the bar. Then sub Paul Green lifted a shot over the bar from the angle after Alfreton failed Frecklington’s deflected cross.
With 10 minutes remaining Alfreton grabbed an equaliser. The lively Johnston was again involved, showing great awareness to pounce on a loose ball into the area to sweep the ball into the net after Bradley crossed from the by-line.
With a minute to go Ironside pounced in the area to give Alfreton victory, after Collin had made the initial save from a header in the area.
Alfreton: King (Draper ht); Moyo (Berry 23), Jordan, Allan, Heaton (Galinski 55), Bradley, Jordan, Thanoj, Smith (Johnston 55), Wilson (Palin 69), Leesley (Ironside 55).
Rotherham: Collin (Bilboe 90); Richardson (Dickinson 59), Wood, Halford (Thorpe ht), Collins (Rose 59), G. Ward (Yates 69), Smallwood (Green ht), Frecklington, Trialist (Warren 78), Bowery (Bailey-King 78), D. Ward (Clarke-Harris ht).
Subs not used: Redmayne