Millers deliver in final warm up

Rotherham United 2Hartlepool 1

STRIKERS Chris O'Grady and Derek Holmes topped the hit parade as Rotherham United delivered goals and entertainment in their final pre-season friendly.

O'Grady, with a penalty, and new signing Holmes, with a far-post header, made sure of aMillers win.

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But there was plenty more to please the spectators – fine weather, the functioning of various aspects of the new team constructed by Mark Robins, and watchable football from both sides.

There could have been more goals: the Millers had near misses, so did Pools, with Andy Warrington making some impressive saves.

Rotherham were always workmanlike throughout the side and they were capable of offering a threat going forward.

They defended stoutly when Hartlepool, using a reshuffle and substitutes for fresh legs, came at them with some slick, high-tempo play in the early period of the second half.

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New captain Graham Coughlan was always a rock at the heart of the defence.

And right-winger Andy Todd took the eye in the early stages with penetrating runs, including one that brought O'Grady's goal in the ninth minute.

Todd was chopped down just inside the box. O'Grady sent Aaran Lee Barratt the wrong way with a crisp low shot to the keeper's right.

Robins was pleased with the way his team combated Pools' 4-3-3 system.

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When one of the front three, David Foley, did get away and knocked the ball past the oncoming Andy Warrington, Coughlan's centre-back partner Ian Sharps got back in time to hook it away from the net.

Warrington also did well in blocking shots from Foley and ex-Millers striker Richie Barker.

But Pools keeper Barratt needed to be alert to keep out a 25-yard free kick from Stephen Brogan's sweet left foot and was beaten in the 37th minute when Derek Holmes nodded home simply from a left-side cross by Peter Holmes.

Early in the second half O'Grady showed talent with a volley that was beaten away by Barratt and with a powerful effort that whizzed past the far angle after he had gone down the right and cut inside to shoot with his left foot.

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Pools pressure was met with sound defending, including challenges by Coughlan on sub striker Michael Mackay and Barker.

Danny Wilson's outfit deserved their goal: sub Gary Liddle wriggled free in the box and slotted home from a tightish angle on the left.

But Rotherham went close to landing a 3-1 win when an excellent 25-yard free kick by Holmes was touched around the post by Barratt in the 75th minute.

It was a worthwhile work-out for both sides before the real action starts.Matchfacts

Rotherham United 2

Hartlepool 1


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Warrington; Tonge, Coughlan, Sharps, Hurst; Todd, Harrison, Brogan, P Holmes (Duncum 85); O'Grady, D Holmes (Newsham 63). Unused: Yates, King, Fleming, Cann.


Barratt; Gibb (Liddle ht), Nelson, Clarke, Humphreys (Robson ht); McCunnie, Boland, Sweeney (Monkhouse 60); Porter (Mackay ht), Barker, Foley (Moore 52). Unused: Elliott, Budtz.

Goals: O'Grady (pen 9 min), D Holmes (37) for Rotherham; Liddle (68) for Hartlepool).

Attendance: 1,067.