Pre-season warm-up games rarely mean much but at least Everton players broke sweat. It was played on the hottest day of the year in the shadow of the South Yorkshire steel furnaces against fired-up Third Division opposition.
There was even some silverware at stake, although if Everton declined to enter the One 2 One Charity Cup next season they are unlikely to prompt questions in the House.
It also gave the Everton manager Walter Smith the chance to assess whether the pounds 3m he paid the Turkish club Trabzonspor for the striker Kevin Campbell was money well spent.
Campbell's task will be to ensure the sticky mess the Toffees got themselves into last season is not repeated. The former Nottingham Forest and Arsenal player started alongside Everton's home-grown teenager Francis Jeffers, but early impressions said more about the Rotherham manager Ronnie Moore's close-season signings. The central defender Brian Wilsterman denied Campbell a sniff in a goalless first half.
It was left to an old hand who has plied his trade on both sides of Stanley Park to justify the Merseysiders' superior status, Don Hutchison prompting the Everton attack from midfield and sending a crisp rising drive narrowly over the bar.
There was no place in the starting line-up or on the bench for Smith's other summer signing, Richard Gough. But judging by the errors which allowed Rotherham to create early chances the defender could yet figure in Smith's plans when the season gets underway.
But it gave Steve Simonsen, whose Goodison career since his move from Tranmere a year ago has been restricted to understudying Thomas Mhyre, a taste of what playing behind Everton's inconsistent rearguard entails.
He came out confidently to pluck the ball off the head of Rotherham's big striker Leo Fortune-West and clung on to a fierce shot from Chris Sedgwick after his defenders several times declined the chance to clear.
Nick Barmby made way at half-time for Ronnie Eklund, but made his presence felt in the hole behind the strikers.
Wilsterman was again too quick for Campbell on a couple of occasions, but the striker's eye for goal, which was in evidence during his loan spell at the end of last season, returned midway through the second half when a long ball from David Unsworth evaded the Rotherham defence and his free header looped into the net.
Everton were then reduced to 10 men when Richard Dunne - who had been treating the concept of a "friendly" with some contempt all afternoon - was dismissed for a challenge on Sedgwick.
The Everton manager said: "We had an agreement that if anybody committed a couple of fouls they would be asked to leave the field. It was a sensible arrangement in a friendly match.
Rotherham United: Pollit, Varty, Wilsterman, Dillon, Beech, Sedgwick (Monkhouse, 82), K Watson (Hudson 75), Garner (Ingledow 20), Turner (Hurst 75), Scott (Martindale, 60), Fortune-West (White 77).
Everton: Simonsen (Gerrard ht), Short, Dunne, Weir (Degn 66), Ball (Gemmill 66), Ward, Barmby (Eklund ht), Hutchison (Regan 82), Unsworth; Campbell (Milligan 82), Jeffers (Cadamarteri 76).
Referee: S Mathieson (Stockport).Reuse content