Proctor hat-trick as Rotherham beat Barnsley...
JAMIE Proctor became an instant hit with the AESSEAL New York Stadium faithful with a second-half hat-trick to give Paul Warne’s men a morale-boosting friendly victory over Barnsley, ahead of their League One campaign.
After Richard O’Donnell kept out Adam Hammill’s first-half spot kick, Proctor ran riot in the second period as he firstly stroked home a penalty rebound after Adam Davies had kept out his original effort.
Following a spell of pressure from the visitors, Proctor struck twice in the matter of minutes, with an impressive shot on the run before a dipping effort which crashed in off the bar.
In the last minute, sub Kieffer Moore added gloss to Rotherham’s victory with a tap-in.
Following their comfortable victory over Chesterfield in midweek, Millers chief Paul Warne reshuffled his pack for the visit of Paul Heckingbottom’s side.
Ben Purrington was given an opportunity to press his first-team claims, in the left-back slot, while Anthony Forde was recalled to the starting line-up following his impressive cameo at the Proact Stadium.
The home fans got their first glimpse of Jamie Proctor, as he shrugged off injury, to take his place upfront alongside David Ball, who netted his sixth goal of pre-season in the Spireites victory.
It was a familiar face to the home fans, who had the first sight of goal for the visitors, when one-time Millers loanee Hammill stabbed an effort from the edge of the box which flew harmlessly wide of the target.
At the other end, smart work by Michael Ihiekwe and Proctor paved the way for Forde to race away down the left flank but his centre was hacked clear by Adam Jackson.
The visitors were given the perfect opportunity to break the deadlock on nine minutes when Ike Ugbo won a battle of wills with Semi Ajayi before racing into the box and after ghosting inside both Josh Emmanuel and Ihiekwe, the lively frontman tumbled in the box, seemingly under the challenge of the Ipswich loanee, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
However, O’Donnell came to Rotherham’s rescue from the resultant penalty when Hammill stroked an effort to the ‘keeper’s right but the ex-BristolCity guessed his intentions correctly to parry the ball to safety.
Moments later, one time home target Tom Bradshaw headed over from Hammill’s free-kick before Proctor almost gave Taylor, a sight of goal but the home winger was prevented from shooting goalwards by a last-ditch tackle.
Moments later, Purrington blasted over from long-range after Taylor’s tame free-kick was only half-cleared into his path before Forde had the ball under his spell as he sped away down the left to float a tantalising centre which looked inch-perfect for Taylor, but the ex-Peterborough winger could not keep his header down, as it ballooned harmlessly over the bar.
Just before the half hour mark, Purrington swung a delightful centre which saw Proctor shrug off the attentions of Angus MacDonald in an aerial duel to plant a header across the face of goal but Davies showed fleet of foot to smother the danger.
In the next home attack, Barnsley had MacDonald to thank for a last-ditch clearance as David Ball’s slide-rule pass gave Purrington the chance to deliver a delicious centre which would have given Lee Frecklington a tap-in until the visiting skipper’s intervention.
Minutes later, Purrington’s perfectly-weighted pass saw Taylor race clear but he dragged his shot wide, when he should have done better before Darren Potter dwelt in possession before being robbed by Hammill, who released Ugbo, but Ihiekwe showed fantastic awareness to prevent him striking goalwards.
Both teams had chances to break the deadlock prior to the interval when firstly Proctor got on the wrong side of the Barnsley defence to ghost into the visitors box to pick out Ball, whose first-time shot was at a good height for Davies, who parried the ball away from the goal before Bradshaw was the grateful recipient of a flowing Barnsley move to fizz an effort from the edge of the box which stung the palms of O’Donnell.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 0 Barnsley 0
Barnsley were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half and sub Joe Williams struck into the side netting from an acute angle.
However, home sub Will Vaulks, who replaced Freckington at half-time, was twice denied by Davies, with his first effort being a rasping drive from the edge of the box which was punched clear before calling the visiting ‘keeper into action, moments later, with a low drive which was arrowing into the far corner of the goal before Davies’ timely intervention.
Minutes later, Proctor spun superbly to race hard at the Barnsley defence before unleashing a fierce effort which arched away from the visiting goal.
On the hour, Alex Mowatt volleyed over from long range before sub Kieffer Moore and Proctor combined superbly in the build-up to pave the way for Ryan Williams to fire a snap shot which Davies managed to get his body behind.
The Australian midfielder was proving a thorn in his former club’s side when Moore’s turn and pass saw him clear before his run was abruptly upended by Davies in the box and a second penalty of the afternoon was awarded.
New signing Proctor stepped up and although his spot kick was tipped onto the post by Davies, the ball rebounded into the path of the ex-Bolton and Bradford striker, who fired high into the opposite corner of the net.
Rotherham’s joy almost proved short-lived as Jason McCarthy got behind the home defence to plant a drilled cross which Bradshaw amazingly managed to spoon over the bar, at the far post, from just yards out before George Moncur fired an effort which was blocked en-route to the Millers’ goal.
Arguably against the run of play, the Millers doubled their lead when Williams’ clipped ball over the top saw Proctor show the Barnsley defence a clean pair of heels before striking an effort which skimmed off the slick AESSEAL New York Stadium surface to beat Davies and nestle in the far corner of the net.
The Millers were sniffing blood and they effectively sealed the deal when Vaulks’ pass from the flank saw Proctor weigh up his options before striking a dipping effort which bamboozled Davies as it crashed against the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the visitors net.
Vaulks brought the best out of Davies with a stinging drive before O’Donnell preserved the Millers’ clean sheet, late on, with a superb, reflex save from sub Stefan Payne.
The home side rubbed salt into visiting wounds in the last minute when Williams’s cross caused havoc in the Barnsley defence and with no-one taking charge, Moore was on-hand at the far post to tap into the unguarded net.
Full-time- Rotherham United 4 Barnsley 0
Teams:- Rotherham- O’Donnell, Emmanuel (Wood 82), Ajayi (Belaid 85), Forde (Yates 80), Frecklington (Vaulks 46), Proctor (Clarke-Harris 76), David Ball (Moore 58), Taylor (R Williams 61), Potter (Newell 71), Purrington (Dominic Ball 82), Ihiekwe (Hinds 82). Unused- Price.
Barnsley- Davies, Fryers, MacDonald, Hammill (D’Almeida 83), Bradshaw (Payne 76), Moncur (Mallan 82), Isgrove (J Williams 36), Yiadom (McCarthy 46), Jackson (Pinnock 76), Ugbo (Brown 82), Mowatt. Unused- Townsend, Mallan.
Referee- M Haywood
Attendance- 4,234 (1,537)