Town suffered their second defeat of pre-season against clinical Championship side Rotherham United who ran out 3-0 winners on Tuesday night at The Envirovent Stadium.
Two early goals in the first half from Hakeem Odoffin and Dan Barlaser gave the visitors a deserved lead going into the break, and Ciaran McGukin sealed the game with a third mid-way through the second period.
There were four changes from the team that started against Sheffield Wednesday with Mark Oxley, George Thomson, Jack Muldoon and Academy graduate George Horbury all in Town’s first half XI.
The visitors forced a couple of early chances with Georgie Kelly glancing his header wide from an inviting left-wing cross, and Oxley denying Conor Washington’s powerful strike moments later.
It was the Championship side who took the lead on 9 minutes, when defender Odoffin powered home a header from an in-swinging corner when six yards from goal.
Viktor Johansson denied Alex Pattison an equaliser with an impressive save moments later when the strikers shot was heading towards the top corner following some good build up play with Muldoon and trialist down the left.
Midfielder Dan Barlaser doubled the lead for the visitors after 12 minutes with a composed side foot finish into the bottom corner from 18 yards out, following a cut back from Washington down the left channel.
On 20 minutes Town had a rare sight of goal when trialist cut inside from the right and unleashed a fierce strike from outside the area which sailed just over the bar.
Town were started to grow into the game and created a couple of chances shortly before half time. Pattison drove towards the area put dragged his shot wide from 25 yards. Thomson then had a speculative free kick from the edge of the area well saved by Johansson.
Simon Weaver made wholesale changes at the break, with Muldoon and trialist the only two players to come back out from the first half XI.
There was an early chance for Luke Armstrong in the second half when through one on one with Johansson following a through ball down the right channel, but the keeper did well to block away for a corner.
Soon after Town had the ball in the back of the net, but Muldoon’s effort was disallowed after being given offside when played through centrally on goal.
The Millers made several substitutions on the hour and the game became a much closer contest, with scoring opportunities limited for both teams.
Town were denied another goal when the assistant referee raised his flag, much to the disappointment of Armstrong who struck a sweet half volley into the far corner.
Ciaran McGukin added a third for Paul Warne’s side in the 76th minute with a powerful strike inside the box which Jameson almost saved with his legs, only to watch the ball spin over the line.
Armstrong was causing problems for the Millers defence, and he was twice denied following a dangerous cross from trialist on the left wing, the visitors eventually deflecting the ball behind for a corner.
Both teams continued to press for a goal, but chances were at a premium and Paul Warne’s men saw the game out.
Town First Half: Oxley, Welch-Hayes, Mattock, Thomson ©, Headley, Pattison, Muldoon, Dooley, Ferguson, Horbury, Trialist
Town Second Half: Jameson, Burrell, Richards, Austerfield, Muldoon (Trialist 59), Daly, Armstrong, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist
Rotherham United First Half: Johansson, Harding, Bramall, Barlaser ©, Kelly, Washington, Lindsay, Rathbone, Odoffin, Kioso, Trialist
Rotherham United Second Half: Johansson, Humphreys, Wood, Trialist, Kioso, Odoffin, Wiles, Lindsay, Bramall, Kayode, Washington
Goals: Odiffin 9, Barlaser 12, McGukin 76
Referee: Tom Nield
Attendance: 869 (301 visitors)
Report by Paul Bolland