Millers defeated on opening day.....
ROTHERHAM United tasted defeat in their Sky Bet League One opener to Fleetwood Town, as Conor McAleny’s double saw Paul Warne’s men return home from Lancashire empty-handed.
The close season signing from Everton proved the Millers’ tormentor-on-chief with goals either side of the interval after club skipper Lee Frecklington had a goal disallowed for offside early in the game.
The Millers handed four competitive debuts to their summer signings with Ipswich loanee Josh Emmanuel and ex-Tranmere defender Michael Ihiekwe lining-up in the visitors defence.
There was a new look to the Millers strike force with David Ball and Jamie Proctor being named against their former club, following their fine scoring form in the Millers pre-season campaign.
The home side had a nervy start when firstly former Millers ‘keeper Alex Cairns spilled a left-wing cross but gathered at the second attempt before Fleetwood stalwart Nathan Pond was forced to cut out Proctor’s inviting through ball with Ball poised to race clear.
Moments later, McAleny blasted a long-range effort harmlessly over for the hosts before Jon Taylor’s outswinging corner was met by the head of Joe Mattock, who nodded goalwards but his effort was blocked en-route to goal.
A lovely control, spin and pass from Proctor put Taylor in the clear but his cross was diverted to safety by Amari’i Bell before Rotherham had a goal chalked off on 13 minutes when a quick thinking corner routine paved the way for Will Vaulks to strike goalwards from the edge of the box before Frecklington stuck out a leg to divert the ball into the heart of the home goal but any Rotherham joy turned to despair- following a late flag from the assistant referee.
The moment proved crucial when Fleetwood opened the scoring on 16 minutes when Bobby Grant managed to dig out a cross from the right-flank and McAleny nipped infront of his marker, on the six-yard box, to poke the ball past Richard O’Donnell and into the Rotherham net.
Just past the half hour mark, Grant dragged a shot wide from long-range before Fleetwood came within a coat of paint of doubling their lead when Cian Bolger’s slide-rule pass left the visitors’ defence waiting for an offside flag that never came and Jordy Hiwula bared down on O’Donnell, to strike an effort which the Rotherham stopper superbly managed to divert onto the post before Kyle Dempsey struck a rasping effort, in the next phase of play, which stung the palms of O’Donnell, who parried the ball to safety.
Approaching the half-time break, Vaulks became the first to see yellow for a culmination of fouls in the first period before Grant blazed over, with the goal at his mercy, in the last action of note, after McAleny had got the better of Emmanuel in the build-up.
Half-time- Fleetwood Town 1 Rotherham United 0
The Millers were quick out of the blocks in the second half and Proctor turned smartly to fire a long-range effort which failed to trouble the home goal before Taylor’s deep centre was plucked out of the sky by Cairns.
Minutes later, Vaulks tried his luck from distance and his effort seemed to strike the on-rushing Pond, which saw the ball bounce awkwardly in the path of Cairns, who parried the ball to safety, at full stretch.
Just before the hour mark, Mattock injected pace into a move to give Ball, a rare glimpse of goal, but his curling effort was comfortably gathered by a backtracking Cairns.
Minutes later, the Millers were indebted to Ihiekwe for sticking out a timely leg following a quick home counter attack but the visitors failed to heed the warning, as Fleetwood doubled their lead on 66 minutes when the ball was played to McAleny, who teased and tormented his marker, on the edge of box, before drilling a low effort which caught out O’Donnell at his near post.
In the next home attack, Bell floated a cross-cum-shot which had O’Donnell backtracking nervously as it hit the roof of the visitors net before sub Kieffer Moore made an instant impact, when he was unceremoniously bundled over on the edge of the box by Bolger but Vaulks resultant free-kick was blocked by the Fleetwood wall.
Moments later, Dempsey and Bolger incurred the wrath of the referee, to earn yellow cards, following clumsy fouls before Moore drilled a fierce cross across the home box, in the last noteworthy action of the game.
Full-time- Fleetwood Town 2 Rotherham United 0
Fleetwood Town 2
Rotherham United 0
Teams:- Fleetwood- Cairns, Coyle, Bell, Eastham, Pond, Hiwula (Hunter 86), Dempsey, McAleny (Cole 72), Grant, Bolger, Glendon (O’Neill 67). Unused- Neal, Burns, Rodgers, Schwabl.
Rotherham- O’Donnell, Emmanuel, Ajayi, Ihiekwe, Mattock, Taylor (Williams 83), Vaulks, Frecklington, Forde (Newell 70), David Ball (Moore 67), Proctor. Unused- Bilboe, Purrington, Yates, Potter.
Referee- R Lewis.