Date: 5th August 2017 at 5:08pm
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Rotherham United slipped to a two-nil defeat this afternoon at the Highbury Stadium when a brace from Conor McAlney gave Fleetwood Town all three points in the first game of the season.

The Millers started the stronger at the beginning of the first half and it took a second attempt by former Miller Alex Cairns in the home goal to claim a cross-come-shot in the opening minute. At the other end new boy Conor McAlney tried a shot from long distance which sailed well over Richard O’Donnell’s crossbar. McAlney got in the way of a Jon Taylor cross putting the ball out for Rotherham’s first corner taken by Anthony Forde who found Joe Mattock but the Millers winger saw his shot blocked. The game calmed down a little but when Lee Frecklington turned a cross from Will Vaulks into the back of the net he went off reeling towards the Millers fans who were roaring only for it to stop abruptly when a linesman’s flag ruled out the effort. Three minutes later Bobby Grant got away from Mattock to cross the ball to McAlney who fired the ball past O’Donnell to open the scoring for the hosts. Seven minutes before the end of the half Huddersfield loanee Jordy Hiwula found himself one-on-one with O’Donell but the Millers ‘keeper managed to save the ball onto the post and then make another smart save from Kyle Dempsey. Will Vaulks was the first to see a yellow card of the afternoon when he pulled back McAlney. In time added on Grant got a ball from McAlney but saw his shot went just over the crossbar.

Like the first half the Millers came out strong for the second half with Jamie Proctor doing well to bring down the ball to have a shot at goal only for the ball to go wide. Alex Cairns did well minutes later to get to a shot from Jon Taylor before Will Vaulks tried his luck from distance bringing off a good save from Cairns who managed to put the ball out for a corner. David Ball was the next to bring off a save from Cairns with a shot from Proctor on sixty-five minutes caused some problems but the Fleetwood defence managed to get the ball clear. At the other end Conor McAlney’s shot saw Michael Ihiekwe get a touch to stop the ball reaching Jordy Hiwula. On sixty-six minutes some nice work from Amari’i Bell saw him find McAlney who cut in from the left and let fly from twenty-five yards out seeing the ball fly past Richard O’Donnell to double Fleetwood’s lead. A number of substitutions saw Town’s Aiden O’Neill replace George Glendon, Kiefer Moore and Joe Newell come on for the Millers for David Ball and Anthony Forde and double scorer McAlney replaced by Devante Cole. Cian Bolger fouled Moore on the edge of the area and with Vaulks and Newell standing over it Vaulks was the one to take it but it only went as far as the Fleetwood wall and out to safety. Kyle Dempsey saw yellow for a late foul on Vaulks before Taylor saw a shot go wide which was his last ation of the day being replaced by Ryan Williams. Bolger is the next to see yellow after fouling Proctor. Cole saw a shot go wide at the other end for the hosts and Moore and Proctor had half-shots for the Millers but even with five minutes time added on it never looked like there would be an addition to the two-nil scoreline.

Not the start that Paul Warne would have wanted for the Millers, who haven’t won away from home since 9th April last year. But, positives are we had shots at goal – negatives are we couldn’t score.

I fear the ‘doom and gloom’ merchants will be out this evening but we do have to remember there’s a long way to go.