Matt Taylor’s men kicked off their 2023/24 pre-season campaign on familiar territory at Roundwood with a 2-0 win over training ground hosts Parkgate on Friday evening.
As has become customary, the Millers fielded two different XIs in the friendly with the Steelmen, with the side deployed in the first half proving the more lethal as they notched both goals through Cohen Bramall and Georgie Kelly.
Academy prospect Ben Hatton fired an early warning sign across the bows of the hosts when he ran onto a pass in behind and was unlucky to see his left-footed effort ripple the wrong side of the side netting with just a minute on the clock.
The Millers threatened an opener again after five minutes when a nicely-weighted pass from Curtis Durose set Georgie Kelly on his way, but after rounding the goalkeeper the angle became unfavourable allowing the retreating Brad Morton to stop the Irishman’s goalbound effort at the near post.
Parkgate did get their eye in when Ross Duggan’s charge on the counter-attack took him as far as the Millers’ 18 yard box where his rasping strike went well over Viktor Johansson’s crossbar.
The Swede was called into action moments later when he was required to make a fairly routine stop at his near post after Ahmed Tahar’s low strike.
Nearly 15 minutes had passed when another decent opportunity fell the way of Hatton who fired over the bar before Durose tried his luck from the angle only to produce a decent stop from Jordan Greaves at the near post.
In the scorching South Yorkshire sunshine the game settled after the opening 20 minutes with both sides exercising the opportunity to enjoy some possession and get a feel for the ball.
Durose once again stung the palms of Greaves inside the box but was unable to get the better of the Steelmen stopper who had proven tough to beat in the early exchanges.
The Millers’ persistence finally paid off when the ball kindly fell the way of Cohen Bramall, who thumped a low effort into the bottom right corner of the goal with 26 minutes on the clock to make it 1-0.
Some fine work out on the right-hand side from Peter Kioso saw him skip beyond a couple of blue shirts and deliver a decent ball into the area which whistled behind the run of the onrushing Kelly.
Kioso was involved again when Taylor’s men doubled their lead on 35 minutes when his low delivery brought about a poacher’s finish from Kelly, who nipped in ahead of the goalkeeper to stab the ball home inside the six yard box and make it 2-0.
Bramall eyed a second goal of the evening himself as he lined up a free kick 20 yards from goal, but despite whipping his effort up over the wall, couldn’t get the required dip to trouble hitting the target.
The Steelmen continued in determined fashion to keep themselves in the game and forged a decent chance to get one back when Duggan ran in-behind before chopping back inside, where a recovering red shirt halted his progress and paved the way for Johansson to make the clearance and end the attack.
Half-time | Parkgate 0 v 2 Rotherham
The Millers fielded an entirely new XI in the second half with Dillon Phillips’ inclusion between the sticks marking the only debutant for Taylor’s side after the restart with a number of youngsters also taking to the pitch.
Hamid Seisay almost fashioned the first chance of the second half when a clever dummy out on the right flank allowed him the room to deliver a cross on his left foot with Josh Ayres the intended target, but Parkgate managed to deal with the delivery with plenty of bodies back to defend the box.
A young Rotherham United side found themselves in a good contest as the second half continued to unfold, with the hosts’ physicality making for an interesting fixture between the Millers and their training ground hosts.
As both teams jostled for position in the match, chances were at a premium with Taylor’s young side looking at their most threatening from the wide areas.
Joel Holvey and Hamid Seisay both provided ammunition from wide areas with deliveries just evading the front two of Josh Ayres and Ciaran McGuckin on a number of occasions as the half elapsed.
Jamie McCart made a nuisance of himself from a series of Millers corners connecting more often than not, but the difficulty of the half chances meant that the Parkgate stopper remained relatively untested.
Holvey had proven a thorn in the side of Pakgate’s right flank and almost helped the Millers to a third goal – and the first of the second half – when his near-perfect ball picked out Ayres’ head but he was unable to guide it goalwards amidst a congested penalty area.
In the end, there would be no further goalmouth action of note with both sides battling until the end on a warm Rawmarsh evening.
Full-time | Parkgate 0 v 2 Rotherham
Parkgate XI: Greaves, Hart, Smith, Tahar, Morton, Tomlinson, Whitfield, Patterson, Duggan, Vallaolid-Collins, Nodder.
Parkgate XI | Greaves, Hart, Smith, Tahar, Morton, Tomlinson, Whitfield, Patterson, Duggan, Vallaolid-Collins, Nodder.
Millers first half XI | Johansson; Kioso, Peltier, Morrison, Blackett, Bramall; Wiles, Lindsay, Durose; Hatton, Kelly.
Millers second half XI | Phillips; Seisay, Humphreys, Hall, McCart, Holvey; Douglas, Odoffin, Abraham; Ayres, McGuckin.