Millers opening Germany friendly ends all square...
Rotherham United opened their two fixtures on their overseas training camp in Barsinghausen with a 2-2 draw behind closed doors against German opposition.
Paul Warne’s side took the early initiative and deservedly led through a stooping Kyle Vassell header at the back post, before the natives struck twice to find themselves 2-1 up at the interval.
Michael Smith, who was one of the players introduced in the wave of changes on 60 minutes, bagged a neat finish to level the scoring up two minutes after his introduction, to ensure that the Millers had something to show for an assured display,
The Millers, despite their intense opening days at the overseas training camp, started brightly in their first friendly in Germany with new and old faces alike impressing with their willingness to put in the effort.
Kyle Vassell and Carlton Morris lined up alongside Freddie Ladapo in a forward trio and were quick to impress with a number of clever combinations. After the former of the aforementioned players initiated a rapid counter-attack to pick out Morris with a cross-field ball, an energetic burst took him into the box, where he was unlucky not to reach the return ball from wide on the right.
The two did combine to devastating effect just moments later after some equally impressive work in the attacking third from new signing Matthew Olosunde. The American’s drive up the right allowed Morris a cross, and a splendid one at that, which picked out Vassell perfectly at the back post, where he headed the Millers into the lead.
Despite their dominance, their lead lasted just three minutes. A sumptuous delivery from the opposition right was expertly guided into the ground and subsequently, the bottom corner, following a good connection with a header at the back post.
Morris and Vassell continued to cause problems for the opposition defence as the Millers continued to grow into the Wednesday night fixture. Warne’s men were dominant in the match stats and desperately unlucky not to find themselves back in front after Morris rose highest in the box to direct a header at goal which cannoned off the crossbar.
The Millers suffered a frustrating blow when they fell behind despite their work being deserving of more. A deadly-breakaway attack saw a threaded pass release the forward in on goal and Price was powerless to resist as the forward applied a composed finish to put his side 2-1 up.
Warne’s men would go on to hit the woodwork on two more occasions before the interval, with both strikes coming from range. The first of those was a 20 yard free kick, won and taken by Vassell, which went up and over the wall before crashing against the crossbar and away from danger.
The second was arguably even more impressive and came from Newcastle United loanee Dan Barlaser, who casually advanced with the ball 30 yards out before unleashing a ferocious strike which had the ‘keeper well-beaten until it agonisingly struck the far post.
The Millers continued to assert them dominance following the restart with left back and captain for the day Joe Mattock making the early running. A series of marauding runs up the left flank saw a number of low deliveries repelled by the German defenders.
In the spirit of carefully managing the workloads of his players, Millers boss Paul Warne rang the changes on the hour-mark. All bar Dan Barlaser made way, as a new-look XI took to the pitch, having watched their teammates from the dugout in the opening stanza.
Those changes took just two minutes to make their impact as they levelled through Smith. Youngster Joshua Kayode was the architect of the move as he broke down the left and beat two markers to deliver a low cross, which was cleverly dummied by Crooks, allowing Smith to finish tidily from 10 yards out and make it 2-2.
The Millers’ German opposition struggled to test the Millers’ goalkeeper, who was at this point Laurence Bilboe following the changes, but did almost add a third in spectacular fashion. An opportunist lob from 45 yards from a midfielder almost caught Bilboe off-guard, who will have been relieved to see the strike fly wide of the target as he retreated to his goal line.
Smith and Jamie Proctor both had chances to register headed efforts on goal but neither were the cleanest cut of chances and both failed to trouble the ‘keeper.
Millers | Price; Olosunde, Ihiekwe, Robertson, Mattock; Barlaser, Wiles, Ajayi; Morris, Ladapo, Vassell.
Subs | Bilboe, Jones, Hinds, Wood, Cooper, MacDonald, Crooks, Proctor, Smith, Kayode.