Match Report: Alfreton Town 0 Rotherham United 2

Alfreton captain Duayne Courtney and Rotherham United's Matt Derbyshire.
Alfreton captain Duayne Courtney and Rotherham United's Matt Derbyshire.
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A lovely, lush playing surface, flanked by red seats and red-painted stands, and a Rotherham United victory.

It was almost like being at New York Stadium as the Millers beat Conference Premier League side Alfreton Town last night, even if the surroundings were a touch less grand.

There was a friendly welcome at Alfreton’s homely, little Impact Arena, nestling at the side of a housing estate.

But Rotherham, watched by No 2 Paul Raynor as manager Steve Evans took another strong line-up to Stocksbridge Park Steels, were in no mood for pleasantries as they enjoyed the better of proceedings.

Places are up for grabs for the Championship opener at Derby County in just 10 days and this was serious business for skipper Lee Frecklington and co.

Alfreton, managed by Millers old boy Nicky Law, were neat and tidy, offered threatening moments of their own, and played a full part in a competitive game. But Rotherham were worth their win.

On 17 minutes Adam Collins had to beat away an effort by Lee Stevenson, the first time either keeper had been worked.

Just after, Matt Derbyshire headed over from a Ryan Hall corner. Derbyshire was looking threatening with his vision and touch while Michael Tidser was showing up well in midfield.

A Derbyshire header from a Hall free-kick was tipped away for a corner by keeper Jon Stewart and Derbyshire was high and wide on 39 minutes from distance.

Kirk Broadfoot moved to centre-half for the second half, with Danny Rowe switching to right-back.

Derbyshire scored his second goal in as many games on the 56th minute when a long ball forward brought indecision from Stewart and the Rotherham striker toe-poked home. He was close to a much more impressive second 11 minutes later, making space for himself beautifully but firing just over.

Tidser was the class act of the night. He looks to have found some extra zip after a spell away on loan last season and was making his presence felt in defence and then instigating attacks.

Ryan Hall was bandaged up and sent back on in the 72nd minute after a clash of heads with Bradley Wood, and two minutes later Alex Revell was denied by Stewart from a tight angle.

Hall stayed on all game, but all the headaches were Alfreton’s as the Millers continued to attack and added a second in the dying seconds through sub, Jerry Yates,

The other Millers side were 6-1 winners at Stocksbridge thanks to a Kieran Agard hat-trick and other goals from Jordan Bowery, Nicky Walker and Paul Green.

Alfreton Town: Stewart, Wood, Courtney (Sheridan 44), Graham, Stevenson (Hicks 68), Keane (Rowe-Turner H-T), Gray (Shaw H-T), Smith, Bradley (Trialist 77), Howell (Trialist 77), Clayton (Trialist 68).

Rotherham United: Collin, Broadfoot, Rowe, Arnason, Skarz, Rose, Frecklington, Tidser, Hall, Revell, Derbyshire (Yates 75). Subs not used: Thompson, Lucas, Johnson, Norfolk.

Referee: Richard Wigglesworth.

Attendance: 364.