Rotherham United: Jerry Yates stakes his claim on encouraging day ... Millers 1 Sunderland 2

Scorer Jerry Yates up against Younes Kaboul
Scorer Jerry Yates up against Younes Kaboul

The stadium announcer got it wrong.

Rotherham United were back in the match with a goal seconds after half-time against Premier League Sunderland.

Richie Smallwood wins the ball against Fabio Borini

Richie Smallwood wins the ball against Fabio Borini

Danny Ward the scorer, supporters were informed over the PA system at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Only it was Jerry Yates, the youngster starting to make a bit of an impression in Millers circles, who was making the net bulge.

The 19-year-old, unlike the man with the microphone, had made no mistake when his big opportunity came.

He latched on to a right-wing cross from Anthony Forde, a perfect touch and turn took him past French international centre-half Younes Kaboul and the ball was quickly dispatched.

Stephen Kelly against Younes Kaboul

Stephen Kelly against Younes Kaboul

Jermain Defoe, the ex- England No 9 leading the Black Cats line as Sunderland manager David Moyes, appointed hours before kick-off, watched from the stands, couldn’t have done it any better.

Alan Stubbs likes what he sees of Yates - bidding for first-team football after spending last season in the reserves and toughening up on loan at non-league Harrogate Town - although the new boss was a mix of acclaim and caution.

More-proven forwards will be arriving. While the teenager’s potential is evident, Rotherham won’t be pinning all their hopes for the forthcoming Championship season on a player still making his way in the game.

“I don’t want to build him up too much because he’s still a young lad,” the new boss said. “But he is very much part of my plans.

David Moyes arrives at AESSEAL New York Stadium

David Moyes arrives at AESSEAL New York Stadium

“He’s been excellent since the day I walked in in terms of his attitude towards training and joining in with the first-team players. He deserves to be there right now.

“We will bring in a couple of strikers, I’m pretty sure of that, but he’s doing himself so harm whatsoever and at the moment he deserves his chance.”

Yates’ contribution was one of many plus points in the baking New York heat for the Millers who controlled the match after their equaliser and were unlucky to lose to Charles N’Zogbia’s shot past Lee Camp from the edge of the area four minutes from time.

The home side started brightly, fell behind when a Fabio Borini shot was too powerful for Camp to hold and then looked the side most likely to score again after Yates had finished off one of the moves of the match in the 46th minute.

In their better spells, they played some slick, incisive passing football.

“First and foremost, I don’t like losing any games, but from a performance point of view there were a significant amount of positives,” Stubbs reflected.

“The one thing I am looking for the players to do is to slightly change the style of play, which sometimes can take a little bit of time.

“I want the players to trust themselves. They’re good players. You’re not a bad player if you play in the Championship.

“We’ve worked on certain elements. This was a step up from the other performances up to now, in terms of the players’ intelligence in getting on the ball, their movement and inter-linking. I thought that was very encouraging.”

Yates was named the sponsors’ Man of the Match, although, in truth, his overall performance wasn’t the best on show. It’s amazing how a goal from a home-grown player can swing a vote.

Sunderland score the winner

Sunderland score the winner

The accolade should have gone to Stephen Kelly, excellin at right-back and then left-back as he covered for the injured Joe Mattock, or debutant midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey who replaced Greg Halford before the break and didn’t put a foot wrong or misplace a pass thereafter.

“Jake made us grab hold of the game even more,” Stubbs said. “He was getting on the ball from the centre-halves and he was orchestrating our play.

“He’s a very intelligent footballer. He’s got really good ability. He sees passes. But you can only play the passes if the movement off the ball is good. Overall, I’m pleased with where we are.”

Yates is certainly pleased with where he is.

Ever since he joined Rotherham as a schoolboy, his dream has been to score in front of the kop. In his first senior New York appearance, with the Millers attacking the North Stand end after the interval, it took him just 18 seconds.

“Yeah I was buzzing,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of it, especially coming against good opposition such as that, a Premier League team.

“I went to go in behind the defender and I saw the ball coming towards me as soon as it left his (Forde’s) foot. I had to drop my shoulder and take my first touch.

“Luckily my first touch was good enough for my second touch to be getting a strike off.”

Quite literally, his moment in the sun.

The national media were out in force for Moyes, a phalanx of pitchside cameras trained on him as he took his seat in the West Stand to a raucous reception from the near-3,000 away supporters.

Also watching was new Millers midfielder Will Vaulks, the 22-year-old signed from Falkirk, thwarted in his desire to make his debut as he waits for the formality of Scottish Football Association clearance to come through.

He was pretty much ignored by the photographers, but the focus will turn to him on Tuesday when Rotherham head to Scunthorpe for their final public test before August 6 opening day.

There was almost a storybook ending. In time added on, substitute Darnelle Bailey-King showed electric pace down the right and his cross was controlled by Yates who, with his back to goal, produced a cute swivelled volley that bounced just wide.

At the final whistle, Stubbs stood on the touchline to acknowledge the effort of his players.

Each one received an appreciative handshake as they passed the gaffer and headed for the tunnel. Except one.

Not just a shake of the hand but also a pat on the back for young Jerry.

The teams

Goals: Borini 30, N’Zogbia 86 (Sunderland), Yates 46 (Rotherham).

Rotherham United (4-4-2): Camp 6; Kelly 8, Broadfoot 7, Wood 7, Mattock 7 (Thorpe 38, 6); Forde 7, Halford 6 (Forster-Caskey 43, 8), Smallwood 7 (Bailey-King 80), Frecklington 7 (Dawson 71); Ward 7 (Muskwe 88), Yates 7. Subs not used: Price.

Sunderland AFC (4-5-1): Pickford 6; J Robson 6, Kone 7 (E Robson 88), Kaboul 7 (Ledger 80), van Aanholt 7; Lens 6 (Greenwood 88), Rodwell6, Borini 6 (Watmore 59, 6), N’Zogbia 6, Khazri 6 (Gooch,68, 6); Defoe 6 (Honeyman 77). Subs not used: Mannone, T Robson, Asoro, Stryjek.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Attendance: 6,676 (2,979).

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