Rotherham United: Richard O’Donnell, Shaun Cummings (Jonson Clarke-Harris 59), Semi Ajayi, Richard Wood (c) (Lee Frecklington 70), Joe Mattock; Ryan Williams (Anthony Forde 81), Darren Potter, Will Vaulks, Richie Towell, Joe Newell; Kieffer Moore.
Subs: Marek Rodak, Josh Emmanuel, David Ball, Ben Wiles
Town: 1 Dean Henderson, 2 Joe Riley, 4 Ben Godfrey, 5 Mat Sadler, 6 Omar Beckles, 7 Shaun Whalley (14 Lenell John-Lewis 90), 8 Abo Ogogo (c), 20 Jon Nolan, 22 Aristote Nsiala. 23 Alex Rodman (9 Carlton Morris, 76), 45 Stefan Payne
Subs: 15 Craig MacGillivray, 10 Louis Dodds, 11 Arthur Gnahoua, 13 James Bolton, 16 Bryn Morris
Ref: R. Jones
Assistants: P.Graham and B.Gordon
Fourth Official: G.Hart
Attendance: 8,184 (699 from Town)
Paul Hurst makes two changes from the side that played the last Sky Bet League One in the game away to Peterborough United. In come Mat Sadler and Stefan Payne while James Bolton and Carlton Morris take a place on the bench.
It was a high tempo opening to the game with both sides looking to take the early advantage. Whalley was showing good pace down the right and get in behind the home defence on a couple of occasions; the best a cutback that saw Rodman fire a shot just wide. At the other end a Millers free-kick was floated in by Towell, it was headed on towards goal but Henderson was alert and there to collect.
There was the first talking point of the game with just over 10 minutes on the clock, the ball was floated into the Town box to find Towell, Nsiala was in close attendance and the Millers player went to ground under the challenge, the ref was in close attendance and was quickly pointing to the spot. Top scorer Moore placed the ball and took his kick to Henderson’s left, but the Town keeper had dived the right way and pulled off an important save.
Minutes later it was Town who had their noses in front, it started with Sadler, who had been slotted in at left-back, he played it down the left to find Nolan, he came inside and drove in on the angle before firing in a low shot that beat the dive of O’Donnell and flew in at the base of the farpost to give Town the lead.
The game was being played with a lot of spirit and ref Jones was being busy with his whistle with a number of decisions against both sides. The ball was played high in towards Kieffer Moore, Nsiala was in close attendance and got his head to the ball, he went down after being caught by what looked like Moore’s elbow, ref was close by and blew for the foul, he called Moore over but it was just a talking to for the Millers striker.
Just before the half-hour mark Whalley got in behind the Millers defence and looked to break into the box, he went down under the challenge but it was just outside the box and Town were awarded a free kick. It was Whalley who placed the ball, he drove in the kick but it was deflected but only as far as Whalley, he jinxed into the box to find space and drove a shot into the near post but O’Donnell had it covered and palmed the ball behind for a Town corner.
It was a decent half of football with both sides trying to attack and put the pressure on. The Town box was under pressure at times but there was good defending, blocks from Henderson and some important headers going in to clear the danger.
Shaun Whalley had been causing problems down the right all game and when Ogogo put in a good block it saw Town break quickly in numbers, it was with Whalley who got in behind and crossed low, it was blocked but came back to Riley, he played it to Nolan who moved it wide to Whalley, he got in behind and fired in a cross but it was put behind for another Town corner.
With the half-time break fast approaching Whalley floated his delivered into the Millers box and there was Beckles rising highest, he got his header in on goal but it dropped just over the bar.
In extra time Rotherham got a chance after a quick break saw them get in behind the Town defence, the shot came in but Henderson got a hand in to block but the assistant had already signalled for an offside.
Half time: 0-1
There was a heart in the mouth moment for Town after the break when an attempted header back to Henderson was short, Moore looked to pounce but Henderson was quickly out to close down the danger and did enough to block the ball to avert the danger.
Town had a great chance to add to their lead after a quick counter attack saw the ball with Payne, he drove for the box and drew the Millers defence, he then rolled the ball into the run of Nolan but he got under his shot and fired it over the bar.
On 52 minutes there was a big decision for ref Jones, the ball was in the corner and Ogogo was looking to clear, he was under pressure but turned and clear, it was blocked and Ogogo slid in to tackle and caught Cummings, the Millers player stayed down and ref Jones was quickly reaching for his pocket to produce a straight red.
The home side were buoyed and looking to get back on level terms, the ball was swung into the Town box and n came and punched clear, he was caught by Woods, the ref blew his whistle and after a bit of push and shoving between the sides he produced the yellow for Woods.
Rotherham were putting the pressure on looking to claw a goal back, they found the space to get in behind the Town defence down the right and crossed into the danger area but there was Henderson to calmly collect the ball out of the air.
Rotherham managed to grab a goal back on 75 minutes, it started with a break down the left handside, the ball was crossed and then dropped on the edge of the box to Towell and he fired the ball home to make it 1-1.
Rotherham were keeping the pressure on and peppering the Town box with crosses but Henderson was commanding his area well with a string of important punches, and when he wasn’t near the defence were putting in some important headers.
There was late, late drama though and a Rotherham attack was cut out but Whalley and he broke down field, he looked to play in Godfrey but it was only a corner in the end. The ball was swung into the danger area and the home side couldn’t clear, it dropped to Payne who fired it high into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 to Town.
It was a frantic end to the game but it was Town who were attacking and they keep the pressure in the Rotherham half and in the end it was enough for another great away win.