Rotherham United finished their pre-season in emphatic fashion by defeating local rivals Barnsley 4-0 with Jamie Proctor scoring a hat-trick before Kieffer Moore added a fourth late on.

There was not much to separate the sides in the early going but the first gilt edge chance of the game came after ten minutes for Barnsley.

Ike Ugbo made a direct run into the penalty area before he was brought down by Josh Emmanuel. The resulting penalty was took by the ex-Rotherham player Adam Hammill but it was saved brilliantly by Richard O’Donnell.

Rotherham grew more and more into the game as the first-half drew on and they were the better of the two sides by the end of the first period.

The first-half ended with a good chance apiece for either side. Jamie Proctor pulled the ball back for David Ball on the edge of the box, who’s shot was well-saved at the near post by Adam Davies. Just a minute later Tom Bradshaw found himself free in the Rotherham area, but O’Donnell made a strong save to keep the score at 0-0 at the break.

The second-half was an entirely different story though. Rotherham dominated throughout to the detriment of their local rivals Barnsley who end their pre-season on a very sour note.

Rotherham took the lead after 67 minutes after the former Barnsley man Ryan Williams was brought down in the area by Adam Davies. Jamie Proctor’s penalty was initially saved but the ball fell right back at the striker’s feet as he tapped home on the rebound.

Barnsley came very close to an equaliser just two minutes later when Tom Bradshaw somehow missed the target from close range which was a chance the visitors went onto rue as Rotherham were in the ascendancy for the rest of the game.

The Millers got their second in the 73rd minute when Williams played a looped ball in behind of Barnsley’s defence which Proctor latched onto before firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Jamie Proctor got his third of the game just three minutes later. Some neat interplay down the left hand side of midfield saw the ball eventually played to Proctor. The new signing from Bolton rounded off a fine individual display by firing home from 20 yards out to complete his hat-trick.

Rotherham made it four in added time when Joe Newell got the ball from a throw-in on the right wing before he played a ball to the far post towards Kieffer Moore who was able to finish off the move from close range.

Rotherham’s manager, Paul Warne, spoke of how pleased he was about this game and pre-season as a whole during his post-match press conference:

It’s nice to score four goals at home and win. It’s nice for Procs to score a hat-trick, it’s nice when your strikers are scoring. Generally speaking I was pretty pleased. I just think everyone’s had a massive part to play in pre-season, they all deserved to go on the pitch today. As it stands I’ve got the full squad to pick from which is not easy.

Paul Heckingbottom meanwhile cut a frustrated figure after the game and made it clear that there was much to improve upon before their season gets underway with their visit to Bristol City next Saturday:

The players have to realise that you can’t play fancy, you can’t be soft in the Championship. You have to run hard, you’ve got to head the ball and want to win tackles. Maybe the players will start listening to me now. Instead of thinking I’m just being negative. We got away with murder at Rochdale on Tuesday, and I told them that. But it’s the same again today only we’ve been punished.

Barnsley head into the new season low on confidence and they are one of the favourites to be relegated after losing most of their best players last January and this summer. Recruitment is key for them in the coming weeks as they to try to replace some of the individual stars that helped them finish 14th in the Championship last year. This 4-0 victory tops off a brilliant pre-season for Rotherham United which easily eclipses the mess of last summer and they will head into the new season full of optimism feeling that they can return to the Championship at the first time of asking.

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