Rotherham United: Jamie Proctor again! Gainsborough Trinity 0 Millers 1

A goal for the Millers at Alfreton
A goal for the Millers at Alfreton

They began life as a church club, but they never had a prayer of keeping in-form Rotherham United new boy Jamie Proctor goalless.

Non-league Gainsborough Trinity were the latest team to suffer as the £75,000 signing bagged his fourth goal in as many pre-season season games to set the Millers on their way to victory.

Alex Bray in action at Alfreton

Alex Bray in action at Alfreton

Watched by around 300 travelling Rotherham worshippers, the targetman struck in the 31st minute at homely, compact Northolme, latching on the ball after his own shot had been blocked to fire home from close range.

Rotherham lacked nothing in graft but were missing the craft at times as manager Paul Warne builds up to League One August 5 opening day at Fleetwood Town.

They made hard work of victory here against National League North opposition three divisions below them on the football pyramid. Early days, but Warne won’t be too bothered. Hard work is what he likes.

The Millers made a nervy, scrappy start and the home side threatened first, with Shane Clarke’s shot seeing his shot saved by Richard O’Donnell after five minutes.

After 20 minutes, the Millers had worked their way into the match and Jerry Yates was close to giving them a lead when his low effort from the edge of the penalty fizzed just wide of the post.

Kieffer Moore was almost as close seven minutes later with a powerful downward header and soon after that Will Vaulks aerial effort was inches over the bar.

With Rotherham already ahead, Vaulks was the dangerman again, not far away with a shot across goal before the break.

Gainsborough were formed in 1873 by a vicar who wanted to offer a football outlet to his young parishioners. 144 years later, they offered stout resistance and gave the Millers the meaningful workout Warne was looking for.

The fixture had been billed as the clash of Frecks v Frecks.

Gainsbrough against League One Rotherham United, pitting Trinity manager Dave Frecklington against his nephew and Millers captain, Lee.

Only the family rivalry, on a night of two friendlies, never happened.

While another Millers 11 were winning at Alfreton Town, Lee wasn’t part of the Rotherham squad in this part of Lincolnshire because of a family matter.

As well as Proctor, three other new faces were in the Millers starting line-up. Ipswich Town loan duo powerful right-back Josh Emmanuel and towering striker Moore both looked raw, mixing good with the not so good, while Michael Ihiekwe was a composed figure at centre-half.

Players have spoken of a brutal but brilliant training camp in Austria last week and it’s already obvious Rotherham will lack for nothing in fitness next term.

“The staff and the players are working really hard to prepare for the League One campaign,” said Warne. “It’s been great to see how the players are really buying in to what we’re trying to do.

“Some of the players ran more than 70 kilometres in Austria. At night, everyone just wanted their beds by 9pm,” said Warne.

“The staff and the players are working really hard to prepare for the League One campaign. It’s been great to see how everyone is really buying in to what we’re trying to do.”

Amen to that.

After the interval, Moore came close to a second Millers goal, troubling the Gainsborough defence several times and testing keeper Richard Walton who did wonders to claw away a Joe Newell free-kick which wandered past everyone and almost went in at the far post.

At Alfreton, Rotherham maintained their 100 per cent summer record as David Ball - five goals in four games - and Jon Taylor scored to in 2-0 triumph.

Back at Northolme, against a team nicknamed the Holy Blues, a famous line from The Bible underpinned Warne’s approach.

“Hard work brings prosperity.”

Gainsborough Trinity: Walton, Lacey, Davie, Williams, Jacklin, Gatter, King, Clarke, Well, Richards, Simmons. Subs: Jarman, Evans, McGovern, Wafula, Storey, Wiles, Stainfield, Salt, Dixon.

Rotherham United (4-4-2): O’Donnell; Emmanuel, Ihiekwe, Wood, Purrington; Forde (Warren 63), Vaulks, Newell (McGinley 85), Yates; Proctor (Kayode 82), Moore (Bailey-King 69). Subs not used: Francis, Southern-Cooper, McMahon.

Rotherham United starting 11 at Alfreton (4-4-1-1): Bilboe; Fisher, Ajayi, Dominic Ball, Mattock; Taylor, Potter, Williams, Bray; David Ball; Clarke-Harris.

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