Millers match verdict: Greenock Morton 0 Rotherham United 3 as Matt Derbyshire returns

Millers match action at Greenock Morton
Millers match action at Greenock Morton
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Rotherham United made a winning start to their pre-season tour of Scotland after a 3-0 victory over Scottish Championship outfit Greenock Morton.

It was a comfortable victory north of the border. After first-half goals from Greg Halford and Lee Frecklington, Jonson Clarke-Harris added gloss to the scoreline with a third in stoppage time.

Greg Halford scores. Picture: John Norris

Greg Halford scores. Picture: John Norris

Rotherham completed a constructive afternoon by securing their third clean sheet in four pre-season games, and debutant goalkeeper Kelle Roos was rarely troubled as Steve Evans’ side breezed through their first of three encounters.

Evans was given a further boost with striker Matt Derbyshire starting his first game of pre-season after recovering from a knock in training, while there was also a return for new signing Joe Mattock at left-back, but his game ended prematurely as he was forced off after a heavy fall.

The majority of Evans’ squad a got a run-out, with Roos, Danny Collins, Tom Thorpe and Richie Smallwood all competing 90 minutes.

This was the third time in as many seasons that the Millers have visited the rustic surroundings of Cappielow Park, and they imposed themselves on the Scottish League One Champions from the outset by taking an early lead.

Derbyshire showed no signs of any ring rust by galloping down the right before cutting the ball back for Halford, who had the simple task of sliding the ball beyond Derek Gaston from close range.

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The early signs of a fruitful partnership were there, with the pair reacquainting themselves after their days together at Nottingham Forest.

Former Rotherham playmaker Michael Tidser lined up against his former club after re-signing for Morton last season. He showed good intent soon when he picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area, but his low shot was turned away by Roos, making his first appearance since joining on loan from Derby County.

Barring the odd Morton attack, it proved to be a routine first-half display as the Millers doubled their advantage on 24 minutes.

Halford’s shot after a cross from the right was only half-blocked, allowing Frecklington to pounce on the loose ball before firing a lively effort into the roof of the net.

It could have been three before the break but Gaston kept out Paul Green’s dipping 20-yard half-volley, which he palmed around the post.

The expected changes didn’t arrive at the interval as Evans looked to give a selection of his side an extended run. It was a quieter second half dominated by substitutions, but both Danny and Grant Ward extended sub keeper Grant Adam with efforts from distance.

The Millers rounded off an encouraging afternoon in the final minute when sub Clarke-Harris sprinted clear of the Morton defence, gliding past Adam to slot the ball into the empty net.

Greenock Morton: Gaston (Adam, 53), Kilday (Trialist, 67), Lamie (Scullion 79), O’Ware, Russell, Trialist (McCluskey, 60), Tidser (Pepper, 69), Forbes (Barr, 60), Miller, MacDonald (Orr, 69), McKee.

Rotherham United: Roos, Richardson (Wood, 61), Collins, Thorpe, Mattock (Warren, 72), Frecklington (G Ward, 58), Smallwood, Green (Clarke-Harris, 73), White (Trialist, 58), Halford (Bowery, 61), Derbyshire (D Ward, 58).

Referee: A Robertson.

Attendance: 548.