Huddersfield Town substitute Martin Paterson’s late strike condemned Rotherham United to their first pre-season defeat this afternoon, writes Dom Howson.
Paterson tapped home with three minutes remaining after a jinking run from former Barnsley winger Adam Hammill.
Worryingly for Rotherham, Daniel Nardiello, the club’s top-scorer last season, limped off with a hamstring injury late on. He will be assessed tomorrow and could be a big doubt for their League One opener with Crewe Alexandra in a fortnight’s time.
Cheered on by World Cup final referee Howard Webb, Rotherham shaded the opening skirmishes and Rob Milsom saw his left foot piledriver superbly blocked by Peter Clarke in the third minute.
It was Milsom, operating on the left hand side of midfield, who was at the heart of the next meaningful move, playing a lovely one two with Joe Skarz and the left-back’s delivery found Alex Revell in the centre but, leaning back, he fired over.
After a sluggish start, Huddersfield improved as the half wore on and Danny Ward turned sharply on the edge of the area after collecting Sean Scannell’s pass before unleashing a fierce shot which Adam Collin could only parry straight into the path of James Vaughan, who made a hash of the follow up.
In the 14th minute, Michael Tidser tried his luck from distance after another patient Rotherham move and his low right foot drive was brilliantly pushed out for a corner by Alex Smithies.
Just before the mid-way period of the half, James Vaughan divered in Adam Clayton’s long range free kick but the strike was ruled out for off-side.
Kieran Agard repeatedly troubled Huddersfield’s back four with his pace and in the 25th minute, the diminutive striker latched on to a long ball which he stabbed goalwards only for Smithies to snuff out the danger.
The Agard fed David Worrall on the right and his teasing centre was expertly cut out by Peter Clarke at the near post.
Rotherham boss Steve Evans shuffled his pack after the break, making nine changes. Milsom moved to left-back while O’Connor kept his place in the middle of the park.
Jordan Sinnott cut inside from the left and let fly when well placed in the 57th minute but he dragged his effort wide.
Rotherham goalkeeper Scott Shearer, a half-time replacement for new signing Collin, produced a fine save just after the hour mark to foil the hard-working Vaughan after he had outpaced Icelandic international Kari Arnason.
The plethora of alterations disrupted the hosts rhythm and Evans men struggled to string anything together in the final third and Paterson punished them in the dying minutes.
Rotherham: Collin (Shearer HT); Bradley (Brindley HT), Davis (Arnason HT), Morgan (Mullins HT), Skarz (Pringle HT); Worrall (Rose HT), O’Connor, Tidser (Noble HT), Milsom (Rowe 70); Revell (Nardiello HT, Walker 76), Agard (Hylton HT).
Huddersfield: Smithies; Hunt, Clarke (Wallace 69), Lynch (Smith 88), Dixon (Carroll 69); Sinnott (Higginbotham 78), Norwood, Clayton (Crooks 88); Ward (Paterson 69), Scannell (Hammill 69), Vaughan (Carr 88). Substitutes: Bennett, Ridehalgh.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)
Attendance: 2,445 (421)