Millers Out-Foxed This Evening
New York Stadium
5 August 2014 7.45pm
Attendance: 3,714 (595 Foxes)
Rotherham United`s lost their last pre-season friendly this evening against Premier League newcomers Leicester City at the New York Stadium.
While the Millers new boy Chelsea loanee John Swift made his first start at the NYS, the Foxes £8m summer signing Argentinian Leonardo Ulloa scored twice in the three-one win.
The Millers got off to a good start and a Ben Pringle corner caused mayhem in the Foxes box before it was eventually scrambled away and the home fans were expectant when Alex Revell tried, what is now being called his 'ambitious but brilliant` strike only to be disappointed when the ball went high and wide. Another corner from Pringle found the head of Kirk Broadfoot but a defender managed to get it away to safety before the visitors first foray upfield saw Ulloa looking for a goal but Scott Loach did well to come out of his area and stop the striker in his tracks. A couple of minutes later Loach was in action again after some good work from Paul Konchesky and Anthony Knockaert ended with the Millers 'keeper saving from Tom Hopper. The Millers could have gone in front on the quarter of an hour mark when Kasper Schmeichel doesn`t collect cleanly from a Pringle corner but neither Kari Arnason or Michael Tidser could force the ball over the line before Schmeichel recovered and held onto the ball. At the other end some good defending from Arnason stops Knockaert in his tracks while the impressive John Swift works well and wins a corner at the other end with the cross from Pringle finding Revell but the striker puts the ball wide. With the Millers playing some good flowing one-touch football it was a bit of a blow just before the half-hour mark when the Foxes took the lead. Matty James tried a long-range effort which hit a retreating Millers defender and fell to the feet of Ulloa who cleverly got the ball to his right foot and drilled the ball past Loach into the corner of the net. A minute later Loach made a good save from Gary Taylor-Fletcher although the flag had already gone up for off-side while a shot at the other end from Matt Derbyshire didn`t bother Schmeichel. With the half having just five minutes left in it the visitors went two-up after a brilliant cross from Belgium Ritchie De Laet found Ulloa and the Argentinian headed the ball in to the net past Loach. And but for Arnason Ulloa could have had his hat-trick but the Icelandic closed the striker down and got a foot to the ball before he could shoot.
With the Millers making nine changes at the start of the second half they came out flying and Kieran Agard, on for Derbyshire, had to be fouled by Danny Drinkwater to stop him getting into the box with the Millers striker`s free-kick going over the wall but also wide of the upright. Agard was in the action again when he sent a good ball through to Jordan Bowery only to see a Leicester defender get there first and put the ball away to safety. A lovely back-heel from John Swift to Conor Newton, on for Tidser, saw the ginger-haired Geordie shoot from twenty yards out with Schmeichel having to make a finger-tip save. At the other end Adam Collin has replaced Scott Loach in goal and he did ever so well to save from Ulloa. The Millers were lively and it was no surprise when on sixty minutes they pulled a goal back. Ryan Hall, on for Pringle, saw a shot blocked by Liam Moore but rebounded to - well who else but - Kieran Agard and the Millers top scorer last season made it two-one when his shot flew past Schmeichel into the back of the net. And a minute later the Millers could have been back on equal terms when Hall, who was hacked down as he shot, saw the ball blocked and hacked away to safety. On the sixty-fourth minute the visitors made it three-one after the Millers failed to clear a cross into the area the ball was well controlled by Drinkwater who managed to squeeze his angled shot past Collin and saw it nestled inside the front post to restore their two goal lead. Minutes later Collin made a brilliant save from Ulloa just pushing the ball round the post before Craig Morgan, on for Richard Wood, decided to try an 'ambitious but brilliant` shot of his own from thirty-five yards out but it failed to bother anyone except the ball boys while a superb ball from Swift to Richard Brindley, on for Arnason, was sent across goal but there were no red shirts in the box to get on the end of it. With five minutes to go Agard gets a similar ball in a similar position from where he scored from earlier but this time his shot ended up in row zed of the stands.
A good work out for the lads this evening and they were more than a little unlucky not to have got at least a draw out of this last pre-season friendly.
I don`t know how Leicester will do in the Premier League next season but we wish them 'good luck`.
The Millers take their place in the Championship on Saturday with an away game at Derby where it should be an electric atmosphere with all away tickets sold.
Loach (Collin 46)
Arnason (Brindley 46)
Wood (Morgan 46)
Sadler (Skarz 46)
Frecklington (Green 46)
Tidser (Newton 46)
Pringle (Hall 46)
Revell (Bowery 46)
Derbyshire (Agard 46)
Hopper (Dodoo 67)
Knockaert (Watson 72)
Unused:- N`Goma, Smith, Stankiviciu