Report from Chesterfield 1-2 Rotherham United as Spireites battle well against League One side
There was little more than a lick of paint in Chesterfield's friendly with League One Rotherham United.
The Millers took a 2-1 win, but had Jack McKay's second half effort been an inch or two to the left, the Spireites might have secured a fairer result.
It brought Chesterfield's first defeat of the summer 2019 pre-season schedule, but other than problems everyone knew already existed, it told us little more about John Sheridan's side.
They produced some nice football, sporadically, and at times lacked composure.
The absence of pace and a cutting edge in the final third meant several promising attacks came to nought.
Liam Mandeville was involved in everything Chesterfield did in the Rotherham half in the first few minutes, almost putting Scott Boden in on goal then linking up on both flanks to good effect.
With five minutes gone the hosts came close to an opener, David Buchanan's cross inviting Joe Rowley to hurl himself at the ball, the midfielder unable to make contact.
The Millers began to hit their stride after a slow start and must have thought they'd taken the lead when Carlton Morris nodded on a corner and Freddie Ladapo shaped to shoot from five yards, Shwan Jalal making a stunning reflex save.
Having taken control of the game, Rotherham made the breakthrough midway through the half, Dan Barlaser's cross from the left flank creeping into the far corner after a slight touch from Anthony Gerrard's miskick.
Yet parity was restored within three minutes, largely thanks to the work of centre-half Will Evans.
He started the move by bursting down the right, forcing an error and chipping the ball to the back post where David Buchanan failed to get a shot away, before Laurence Maguire took over and clipped it into the middle, Price saving well from Joe Rowley then watching as Evans' rocket of a shot flew by him into the top corner.
The hero quickly turned villain, forced to chop down Morris who was clean through on goal and into the box, a penalty and yellow card the result. Michael Smith stepped up and buried the spot-kick, although Jalal did guess the right way.
With Rotherham more comfortable in possession, Chesterfield tried to hurt them on the break and looked dangerous more than once, decision making or execution letting them down.
The Millers had created little more than half chances with their possession in the early stages of the second half and were almost caught out by a flowing Town move, Rowley, Maguire and Yarney involved before an offside flag halted them.
And with a litle momentum, the hosts threatened again, Mandeville unable to steer a header on target, Anthony Gerrard blasting just over the top after a corner was half cleared.
Substitute Matt Crooks woke Rotherham from a period of slumber, picking up the ball in the middle and playing in Ladapo, whose shot was woefully wayward.
Then the woodwork denied the home side, Robbie Weir playing in fellow replacement Jack McKay who beat Laurence Bilboe in the Millers net, but not the far upright.
Both sides made multiple substitutions as the second half wore on, John Sheridan sending on some of his youngsters for the final quarter of an hour, giving the game a scrappier look.
Luke Coddington had little to do since coming on for Jalal at the break, but he reacted sharply to stop a pair of Kyle Vassell strikes, before referee Danny Middleton brought a meandering affair to a halt.
Chesterfield: Jalal (Coddington 46), Smith (Yarney 46), Buchanan (Sheridan 75), Gerrard (Sharman 75), Hollis, Evans, Maguire (Wedgbury 75), Weston (Weir 46), Rowley (McKay 61), Mandeville (Wakefield 75), Boden (Shaw 75). Subs: Shaw, Wedgbury, Wakefield, Sharman, Sheridan.
Rotherham: Price (Bilboe 46), Jones, Mattock (Robertson 62), Ihiekwe, Wood, Macdonald (Olosunde 73), Barlaser, Wiles (Crooks 63), Ladapo (Kayode 80), Morris (Vassell 72), Smith (Proctor 63). Subs: Hinds, Dockerty.
Goals: Evans 29; Barlaser 26, Morris 33 (pen)
Yellows: Evans 32
Referee: Danny Middleton. Assistants: Jamie O'Connor, Glenn Turner.