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Match Reports

REPORT | Alfreton 0 v 2 Rotherham

18 July 2017

Rotherham United continued their upward pre-season momentum after a 0-2 victory over Alfreton Town at the Impact Arena.

First-half goals from David Ball, his fifth of pre-season, and Jon Taylor were enough for the Millers with a number of players getting 90 minutes for the first time.

It was another productive run out for the Millers who again looked sharp against John McDermott’s National League North outfit, as Ball continued his terrific scoring ratio which has seen him find the net in every pre-season outing.

With another game at Gainsborough on the same night, assistant manager Richie Barker was tasked with leading the Millers as the first-team was split in half.

Barker gave a start to Alex Bray who missed Saturday’s game with Soproni VSE as a precaution, whilst young ‘keeper Laurence Bilboe was also in the 11 as the Millers decided against risking Lewis Price.

There was one notable figure in the Alfreton side as ex-Miller Marcus Marshall started for the hosts.

After early pressure from the home side, it was the Millers who went close on five minutes. Darren Potter took aim from 20 yards after good work by Jonson Clarke-Harris, but his deflected effort looped onto the roof of the net.

On 15 minutes the Millers broke the deadlock after a clinical finish. The returning Bray drove forward down the left before finding David Ball, and after a touch out of his feet, the ex-Fleetwood marksman drilled a low shot into the bottom corner which beat Mason Springthorpe in the Alfreton goal.

The Millers started to find their swagger which saw them dominate their games in Austria, with Joe Mattock next to try his luck after surging forward from left-back but his stinging drive cleared the bar.

Bray was starting to see more of the ball and after another raid down the left, he slotted the ball through to David Ball. With his back to goal he squared for Taylor but his effort was blocked by Town defender Jordan Snodin.

Just past the half-hour mark Ryan Williams showed his undoubted ability when he seized on a loose ball on the run, but his low drive was tipped around the post by Springthorpe.

The Millers were starting to profit down the flanks and after Taylor’s cross found Clarke-Harris, his flicked effort was blocked by the ‘keeper.

The pressure finally told as the Millers moved into a two goal lead on 38 minutes. Clarke-Harris won possession back high up the pitch and gave the ball to Bray. The winger moved into the area before squaring for Taylor who finished emphatically to give the Millers a deserved cushion.

Aïmen Belaïd was the only change at the interval as Bray made way which saw Dom Ball move into central midfield and Williams move out wide.

Clarke-Harris was next to try his luck when climbed off the deck after being fouled to power a free-kick towards goal, which skimmed the top of the net.

It could have been three for the Millers 10 minutes into the second half when good pressing by Dom Ball forced the mistake. He fed the ball to Williams who cut inside before aiming a shot towards the far corner which was tipped away by the ‘keeper, and Alfreton scrambled away the loose ball.

The chances kept coming as Williams dropped the ball in behind for Clarke-Harris who beat the offside trap, but a brilliant recovery tackle denied the striker an effort on goal.

After a lull in proceedings the Millers exploded back into life when a perfectly waited pass from David Ball found the onrushing Mattock sprinting into the area, but his fierce drive was tipped around the post.

Young striker Kuda Muskwe replaced Taylor for the final 12 minutes with his first contribution a notable run down the right which won the Millers a corner.

The Millers gave a run out to a host of youngsters for the final seven minutes, as Barker’s side closed out another pre-season win.

Alfreton: Springthorpe ; Doherty, Priestley, McGowan, Snodin; Marshall, Nyoni, Platt, Templeton; Westcarr, Robertson.

Subs: Morrison, Disley, Allan, Shiels, Johnson, Sharp, Jennings, Elliot.

Rotherham: Bilboe; Fisher, Dom Ball (Osborne 83), Ajayi, Mattock (Hinds 83), Taylor (Muskwe 78), Williams, Potter (Murr 83), Bray (Belaid HT), Clarke-Harris, David Ball (Wiles 83).


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