Rotherham United maintained their unbeaten start to pre-season with a 3-0 success over Sheffield FC.
Michael Smith bagged two second-half goals to make up for having a penalty saved in the first-half, with David Ball tapping in a third as several first-teamers secured a crucial 90 minutes in the late evening South Yorkshire sun.
The Millers had several opportunities to extend their advantage, but were given a solid test by the gutsy non-leaguers who had ‘keeper Josh Turton to thank for an inspired display.
Manager Paul Warne opted to take in the surroundings at the Coach and Horses Ground, leaving Richie Barker to look after the side that played at Stocksbridge.
Warne glanced over several members of his squad that took the Millers into The Championship, with experienced heads Richard Wood, Joe Mattock, Smith and Ball all selected to face the world’s oldest football club.
In the Sheffield ranks there were two familiar faces with ex-Millers Jamie Yates and Marc Newsham both lining up against their former club.
A lively start by the Millers saw Smith and Ball renew their partnership to great effect as the latter’s clever flick sent the ex-Bury ace through on goal, but Smith’s effort was blocked by the ‘keeper and Ryan Williams dinked the follow-up over the bar.
After a couple of half-chances for Smith and Jon Taylor, Sheffield went close themselves when Ben Turner crossed dangerously into the near post looking for Newsham, but Laurence Bilboe made a brave claim under pressure.
The lively Smith glanced a header wide before ‘keeper Turton handled outside the box but a low Williams free-kick to the edge of the box was smashed over by Taylor.
Smith was again sniffing for an opportunity and after latching onto a ball into the channel by Semi Ajayi his low effort from the angle was smothered by Turton.
Youngster Reece McGinley was offered an opportunity impress ahead of his first campaign in the professional ranks, and he looked lively when a jinking run saw the winger cut in off the line but his low effort was smothered by Turton.
Just after the half-hour mark Ball burst into life picking up the ball just inside the area before surging forward but his effort from a tough angle was beaten away by Turton.
With the Millers dominating proceedings they missed a glorious chance to open the scoring. After Taylor crossed from the right, Smith laid the ball off to Williams who was tripped in the box resulting in a penalty. Smith stepped forward but his low effort was saved by Turton, who also got up to quickly block Smith’s attempted follow-up effort.
Turton was called into action before the break when a quick throw-in put Ball through on the angle, but the ‘keeper stood tall to make a brilliant save at his near post. Taylor’s resulting corner caused problems with Wood powering a header against the underside of the bar, and when the ball was fed back into the mix, Ball steered his header wide from close range.
Sheffield FC 0 v 0 Rotherham United
Warne’s side made the perfect start to the second half when a surging run by Ball resulted in a low cross to Williams. The former Barnsley ace’s effort looked tame but the ‘keeper spilled the ball straight to Smith who had a simple tap-in.
The Millers were now moving through the gears and Ball was next to be denied when his fierce drive was turned behind by Turton.
Another good opportunity from a corner then went begging as Taylor’s centre was planted wide by Ajayi.
The hosts were unlucky not to level when Andrew Gascoigne’s free-kick hit the bar, and inside the final 15 minutes Bilboe was extended to keep out Anthony Mackie’s effort.
The Millers secured the victory late on when Smith finished emphatically after a smart turn on the edge of the box, and a minute later Taylor fired in a slow shot which was parried by Turton allowing Ball to tap in to make it three.
Sheffield FC 0 v 3 Rotherham United
Rotherham | Bilboe; Trialist, Ajayi, Wood, Mattock; Williams, Palmer, Taylor, McGinley (Kayode 78); Smith, Ball.