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5 of 010 John Sutton 48F A

Rotherham 0 v 1 Hearts - Report

Posted on: Sat 28 Jul 2012

The Millers suffered their first defeat at New York Stadium when a John Sutton goal ensured a narrow victory for Hearts.

On an afternoon where League Two met Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup Winners, the home side were by no means outplayed in a game where 18 Rotherham players got a chance to show manager Steve Evans why they deserve a starting place this season.

Evans shuffled his side around from the one that beat Doncaster Rovers in midweek, with Northern Irish midfielder Michael O'Connor making his first appearance in a Millers shirt.

Daniel Nardiello crafted the first chance of the game when he burst down the left hand side before playing a teasing ball across the box which almost found Ben Pringle at the back post.

Callum Paterson was the first to threaten for Hearts as he jinked his way past two Millers defenders before firing a low shot which Scott Shearer saved well with his legs.

Pringle almost opened the scoring in spectacular style on the five-minute mark when Laurie Wilson lofted a ball forward which Alex Revell touched down expertly, before the midfielder unleashed a ferocious drive which Jamie MacDonald saved well.

Revell could have put the Millers in front just seconds later when Nicky Hunt's cross found him unmarked in the six-yard box where his initial header rebounded off a Hearts defender, but the ball fell kindly back into his path leaving him one-on-one with MacDonald who easily smothered Revell's second attempt.

David Templeton was the next player to set his sights on the Millers' goal with his curling free-kick on the edge of the area, but a good intervening header from Kari Arnason stopped the ball on its route to goal.

Hearts almost found themselves in front when Andrew Driver's corner found an unmarked Andrew Webster lurking at the back post, but he should have done better with his header that sailed over Shearer's crossbar.

Half-Time: Millers 0 - 0 Hearts

The Millers started the second half brightly and almost went ahead inside the first minute when Mark Bradley lashed a ball across the face of goal, but Revell's connection was didn't have enough purchase to turn it goalwards.

However, it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 47 minutes when Ryan McGowan was given space down the right-hand side to pick out Sutton in the area who poked the ball past Shearer to put Hearts in front.

The home side almost levelled minutes later when a whipped free-kick from Pringle met the head of Revell, before the ball eventually found it's way to Arnason at the back post whose effort went just around the outside of the post.

The pair that created and scored the Hearts goal combined again, this time with the roles reversed as Sutton turned provider for McGowan with a good knockdown with his head, only to see the midfielder's ferocious volley soar well over the crossbar.

The Millers had a refreshed look to their side when their next chance came on 76 minutes. Evans had replaced seven of the players that had started the game by this point and it was two of these that almost combined to create a goal. Lionel Ainsworth's jinking run down the right-hand side saw him whip a teasing ball into the Hearts area where Kieran Agard couldn't quite make contact inside the six-yard box, as the ball flashed across the face of goal.

The energetic Ainsworth almost created an opening five minutes from time, when he slid a ball down the line to Agard who found himself in behind the Hearts defence, but a solid stop by MacDonald denied the former Everton striker his second goal in two games for the club.

Millers: Shearer, Hunt (Mullins 41), Bradley, Sharps, Wilson, Noble (Taylor 57), Arnason (Ainsworth 63), O'Connor (Rose HT), Pringle (Evans 63), Revell (Odejayi 57), Nardiello (Agard 57).

Unused: Warrington.

Hearts: MacDonald, Paterson (Grainger 62), McHattie, Webster, Zaliukas, Barr (D McGowan 72), Driver (Novikovas 63), Robinson (Holt 78), Sutton (Carrick 74), R McGowan, Templeton (Taouil 75).

Unused: Ridgers.

Attendance: 5,891

Words: Sam Todd

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