Scunthorpe 2 Millers 1: New boy Will Vaulks catches the eye on his Rotherham United debut

Millers new boy Will Vaulks
Millers new boy Will Vaulks
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His first touch was an easy pass, his second a well-won header, the third a sharp piece of chest control and a ball played forward.

His first touch was an easy pass, his second a well-won header, the third a sharp piece of chest control and a ball played forward.

This was all within the opening seconds of Will Vaulks’ Rotherham United debut.

By the eighth minute, the 22-year-old, signed from Falkirk, had really warmed up, an inch-perfect diagonal ball sending in Joe Mattock whose fierce shot was turned away by Scunthorpe goalkeeper Joe Anyon for a corner.

There were several more of those, and a number of controlled, probing balls forward, from the new boy, along with vision, balance and bite in the tackle.

Early days maybe, but not too soon to tell: Vaulks can play.

Whether the young lad can do it when the Championship campaign begins a week on Saturday remains to be seen. He used the Millers’ final public workout of pre-season to put himself firmly in the frame to start against Wolves at AESSEAL New York Stadium on August 6.

“He can be pleased with himself,” said Rotherham boss Alan Stubbs.

Less pleasing was the Millers’ drop in standards after the interval which eventually led to a late Scunthorpe winner.

“We have to do better at stopping the other team creating chances,” said Stubbs. “There were too many. That wasn’t good enough from us tonight.”

In a lively contest, Scunthorpe went ahead in the 18th minute, when Hakeeb Aelakun’s misplaced shot from Joe Mattock’s header out fell to Kevin van Veen, who screwed the ball home from close range.

But Rotherham had the edge in quality over League One opponents and, after Jerry Yates has fired inches wide following a lovely Vaulks lay-off, the visitors were level after 23 minutes.

That deadly strike partnership of centre-halves Kirk Broadfoot (one goal last season) and Richard Wood (none) combined in the Scunthorpe area, with Wood on hand to slot home from close range after Broadfoot’s shot had been deflected into his path.

The Iron were playing their part in a competitive match, but the Millers were putting together some of the slick, passing football which had troubled Premier League Sunderland last weekend.

Vaulks shot just wide from an angle on the edge of the area and, five minutes before the break, Anyon had to be alert to push a Yates curler round the post.

Rotherham had to scrap in the second half as the home side increased the pressure. Substitute Tom Hopper set up Kyle Wootton who failed to convert and Hopper had the ball in the net only for his header to be ruled out for a push on keeper Lee Camp.

Against that, Danny Ward’s sting effort from Vaulks’ lofted ball into the box brought the save of the game from Anyon and Vaulk’s long-range stinger was turned for a corner from which Broadfoot’s header was stopped on the line.

Ward was denied as Anyon dived at his feet with 10 minutes to go, but Scunthorpe made life difficult for Stubbs’ men and substitute Josh Morris hit a well-struck winner in the 85th minute.

By then Vaulks had departed, to be saved for future battles. Like the Millers, he had been less effective after the interval, but the reception he received from the travelling fans spoke volumes.

For Rotherham, the bigger picture was a good workout, more game-time into players and the chance to work on their new passing style.

And, of course, the promise of that man, Vaulks.

Scunthorpe (4-4-2): Anyon; Wiseman, Wallace (Clarke 59), Goode, Laird; Adelakun, Bishop (Sutton 83), Ness (Dawson 74, Holmes (Williams 70); van Veen (Hopper 28), Wootton (Morris 70). Subs not used: Daniels, King, Townsend, Dyche.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Camp; Kelly, Broadfoot, Wood, Mattock; Forde, Vaulks (Smallwood 78), Forster-Caskey (Bailey-King 77), Frecklington; Ward, Yates. Subs not used: Price, Thorpe, Dawson, Muskwe.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Attendance: 1,466.

Goals: van Veen 18, Morris 85 (Sunthorpe); Wood 23 (Rotherham).