29 July 2014
DAVE PURSGLOVE AND BILL WHEATCROFT'S MATCH PICTURE ALBUM HERE
Alfreton Town's pre-season preparations continued with a narrow 2-0 defeat against Championship side Rotherham United at the Impact Arena on Tuesday evening.
In thankfully cooler conditions than of late, there was a good pace to the start of the game with Alfreton starting well with some neat inter-play between Lee Stevenson, Dan Bradley and Dan Gray.
In reply, Rotherham’s front pair of Matt Derbyshire and Alex Revell were very mobile but it was Alfreton who went close first on 17 minutes with a lovely flowing move.
Clayton’s flicked header was picked up by Stevenson who fed Howell down the left and went for the return from which his drilled cross-shot was parried out by last season's Rotherham Wembley play-off final shoot-out hero Adam Collin.
The Milers responded with a right-flank corner from which Ryan Hall’s delivery was glanced over the top by Derbyshire and they went close on 21 minutes with a Hall free kick from out wide right deflecting off the defensive wall and clearing the far angle of the goal.
Jon Stewart produced a fine one-handed diving save to concede a corner as he kept out another glancing Derbyshire header from yet another Hall dead-ball delivery on 23 minutes.
The visitors continued to win corners but didn’t seriously trouble Reds keeper Jon Stewart unduly.
Indeed, Alfreton refused to be ruffled and impressively kept their shape, with the home defence standing firm as Rotherham moved the ball around at a quicker pace as the half wore on.
Alfreton made two more changes at the break with Tom Shaw and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner replacing Dan Gray and Jordan Keane respectively, Dan Bradley going wide right, Howell moving into central midfield and Bradley Wood dropping into the right-back berth.
Rotherham continued to enjoy the bulk of possession but their final delivery was all too disappointing before the Millers took the lead on 56 minutes when Matt Derbyshire reacted quickest in the penalty area to stab the ball past the advancing Jon Stewart, his effort trickling home inside the far post.
Jake Sheridan couldn’t quite tee up Paul Clayton as Alfreton broke up a visiting raid and threatened on 58 minutes and in the next raid Clayton had his intended through-ball for Stevenson deflected out it’s intended path.
Seconds later a huge up and under from Bradley Wood had Rotherham keeper Collin back-pedalling before tipping the effort over from just under the angle of post and bar.
A lovely run from Sheridan took him past three visiting players but his 25 yard curling shot was easily saved by Collin.
Rotherham replied with a stinging shot from Devonshire just cleared the home bar from the edge of the penalty area.
A substitute trialist almost had an instant impact when he got onto a Jake Sheridan pass but his pull-back was cleared away from the waiting Clayton in the middle.
Rotherham’s Ryan Hall required treatment for a head injury after a clash with Bradley Wood on 70 minutes and he returned sporting a head bandage a few minutes later.
Reds keeper Jon Stewart came to the rescue on 73 minutes when he came out quickly to block at the feet of Alex Revell who had been sent clear by a great ball from Lee Frecklington.
At the other end, Jake Sheridan brought another diving parried save from Collin with a curling 22 yarder and Sheridan then had what looked a great chance in waiting snatched away by an outstretched Rotherham defensive leg.
Revell had a shot deflected for a corner as the Millers continued to press to the end but the Reds also had chances and Jake Sheridan fired just wide from the edge of the penalty area before a Revell header lacked power and went direction as it went well wide.
Rotherham doubled their lead in injury time when Millers substitute Jerry Yates steered home a low shot just inside the bottom left corner to conclude an entertaining game.
Alfreton Town Team:
Duayne Courtney (c) (Jake Sheridan, 44)
Lee Stevenson (Nathan Hicks, 68)
Jordan Keane (Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, h/t)
Dan Gray (Tom Shaw, h/t)
Dan Bradley (Trialist, 78)
Anthony Howell (Trialist, 78)
Paul Clayton (Trialist, 68)
Rotherham United Team:
Lee Frecklington (c)
Matt Derbyshire (Jerry Yates, 75)
Substitutes not used:
Man of the Match: Lee Stevenson
Referee: Richard Wigglesworth of Doncaster