Match report: Rotherham United 2 Doncaster Rovers 1

James Husband impressed for Rovers in the 2-1 defeat at Rotherham.
James Husband impressed for Rovers in the 2-1 defeat at Rotherham.

ROVERS saw a one goal lead overturned as they suffered defeat on their first ever visit to the New York Stadium.

Hosts Rotherham had the better of an entertaining friendly but a superb strike from David Cotterill handed Rovers the lead in the early stages of the second half.

However, Mark Bradley and triallist Kieran Agard struck back to maintain the Millers’ 100 per cent record at their impressive new home.

Rovers shortages in personnel were highlighted once more, particularly in defence with Tommy Spurr deployed as a makeshift centre half alongside the inexperienced Liam Wakefield while Paul Keegan spent the second half at right back.

In contrast, Rotherham look much more of a complete outfit with the number of arrivals already into double figures and boss Steve Evans not yet finished in his squad building.

So there was little surprise that the Millers looked the more dangerous.

Their main threat came through the lively Ben Pringle who looked to shoot at any given opportunity while Lionel Ainsworth repeatedly cut in from the right.

Pringle went close with a couple of long range efforts and drew a fine save from Gary Woods after Ainsworth found him at the back post with a dinked cross.

Rovers’ chances were limited and Chris Brown should really have taken his opportunity with a rasping drive from close range only for Andy Warrington to deny him using his face.

The hosts continued to pressure, Mark Bradley finding space for a shot from the edge of the area while Pringle continued to shoot on sight.

Rovers’ best attacking outlet in the first half was James Husband who sent in some excellent searching crosses towards the back post.

David Syers was the man seeking to get on the end of those balls but was inches away from connecting on a couple of occasions.

Cotterill demonstrated his trickery on the edge of the box, using fine footwork to find the space well and drawing a fine save from former Rovers man Warrington.

The best chance of the opening half fell to the hosts, involving three efforts in one.

Alex Revell turned Jason Taylor’s cross on target, Taylor’s rebound was blocked and Kayode Odejayi’s follow up was superbly tipped onto the bar by Woods.

But the first half would ultimately end goalless.

Dean Saunders sent on Brian Stock, Martin Woods and Jonathan Maxted for Syers, James O’Connor and Woods at the start of the second half.

The Millers continued to enjoy plenty of chances with Taylor drilling wide after being presented with acres of space while Revell stabbed a volley inches past the post.

Rovers were at their most threatening on the counter-attack but the final ball continued to let them down against a Rotherham defence on their toes.

But Cotterill exploited space afforded to him to give Rovers the lead.

Cutting inside from the right, he surged to the edge of the box and lashed a powerful shot into the far top corner, giving Warrington no chance.

It did not take the hosts long to level and it was a well-taken effort from Bradley.

He latched onto Kayode Odejayi’s flick on at the right corner of the box and drilled the ball in at the far post.

Play was much more level in the remainder of the game but Evans’ ability to make several substitutions gave Rotherham the edge in energy terms.

And there was not too much surprise when they took the lead.

Lively triallist Agard showed great trickery on the edge of the area to make space for himself and drilled a low shot which was too hot for Maxted to handle.

Rovers could have levelled the game in the dying moments, Brown seeing his header deflected just over the bar while both Amari Morgan-Smith and Woods failing to connect with another superb cross from Husband.

But the last chance fell to the threatening Odejayi who really should have turned his header on target from six yards.

Rovers: First half: Gary Woods, James O’Connor, Liam Wakefield, Tommy Spurr, James Husband, David Cotterill, David Syers, Paul Keegan, Robbie Blake, Kyle Bennett, Chris Brown.

Second half: Jonathan Maxted, Paul Keegan, Liam Wakefield, Tommy Spurr, James Husband, David Cotterill, Brian Stock, Martin Woods, Robbie Blake, Kyle Bennett (Amari Morgan-Smith), Chris Brown.