Mark Bradley was the Rotherham United hero as his first-half header maintained their unbeaten away record following an impressive victory at Brentford.
Bradley’s first goal of the season proved decisive for the Millers’ as they returned north with maximum points in an enthralling encounter at Griffin Park.
Following their first defeat of the season at the hands of Peterborough United last week, Steve Evans made just one change to his starting line-up with Bournemouth loanee Matt Tubbs returning to the side at the expense of Daniel Nardiello.
The home side had the first sight of goal when Owls loanee Martin Taylor fired an arrowed ball into the path of Alan McCormack, whose first-timed cross had Scott Shearer at full stretch to clear the danger.
Moments later, Lee Frecklington’s daisycutter from distance failed to trouble David Button before Adam Forshaw’s floated free-kick saw Shearer spill the ball under pressure but despite one-time Millers’ loanee Toumani Diagouraga firing the ball goalwards, the ‘keepers’ blushes were spared by an offside flag.
Minutes later, Clayton Donaldson waltzed around Frecklington and Rob Milsom with a minimum of fuss before striking a low effort which stung the palms of Shearer.
However, the Millers’ silenced the home faithful by breaking the deadlock on 14 minutes.
Following a free-kick award, Ben Pringle delivered a tantalising centre which caught Brentford’s rearguard and Button in no mans’ land and Bradley ghosted in at the far post to get the better of his marker before powering a header from point-blank range into the roof of the net.
Minutes later, Marcello Trotta dragged a low shot narrowly wide of the target for the home side before Alex Revell powered a speculative volley which whistled over the bar at the other end.
Kieran Agard was the first to see yellow minutes later for simulation on the edge of the box before Sam Saunders spooned an effort over from distance in the next phase of play.
The visitors’ were indebted to Shearer just shy of the half hour when Forshaw’s threaded ball saw Donaldson beat the offside trap but as he chipped goalwards, the Rotherham stopper stood tall to block his effort.
Moments later, Craig Morgan’s bullet clearance paved the way for fine interplay by the Millers’ which saw Tubbs try his luck with a dipping effort but Button was equal to his strike with a fine save.
McCormack was the next to find himself in the referee’s book as he tripped Agard in full flow before Milsom was unlucky to see yellow moments later as he was booked for diving in the box despite seemingly just losing his footing.
The home side came within a whisker of the breakthrough when Joe Skarz dallied in possession and the ball was worked to Forshaw, who shrugged off the attentions of his marker before striking a rising effort from the edge of the box which flew narrowly over the bar.
With half-time approaching, Freckington was yellow-carded for nudging over Donaldson before Saunders had Shearer at full stretch again with an instinctive effort which he parried around the post.
Moments later, Kari Arnason was well-stationed to block Trotta’s goalbound effort following good work by Donaldson before Morgan made a last-ditch clearance with Donaldson lerking menacingly moments later.
Half-time:- Brentford 0 Rotherham United 1
Following the restart, Tubbs’ cross was charged down by the hands of a retreating home defender and Pringle delivered another fantastic free-kick which was inches away from the first-half hero Bradley at the far post.
Minutes later, Agard had a snap shot blocked by a brave home defender before Shaleum Logan cut inside menacingly from the right flank before firing a shot which seemingly struck the arm of Skarz but the referee waved away home appeals for a spot kick before Saunders fired over the bar.
The Millers came within a whisker of doubling their advantage following a quick counter-attack when Pringle’s ball saw the visitors have a two-on-one opportunity with Revell’s flick on putting Tubbs in the clear, but on his weaker left-foot, he flashed an effort narrowly wide of the target with Button scurrying across goal.
Bradley was the fourth Rotherham player to see yellow for preventing Brentford taking a quick throw-in before the Millers’ almost sealed the game with 20 minutes remaining when Diagouraga’s weak back header saw Revell chip the ball over Taylor before advancing on goal but his drilled effort from the edge of the box flashed past the home upright.
Minutes later, Arnason’s long-throw saw sub Danny Hylton shrug off the attentions of his marker before poking an effort goalwards which was deflected behind.
With the game stretched, fine work from Revell saw Pringle drag a shot wide of the target before Saunders pounced on the loose ball before firing an effort which struck a retreating visitors defender at the other end.
Revell was the next to have his name taken for a wild lunge at sub George Saville before Frecklington fired a skimming drive from distance which failed to trouble Button.
In stoppage time, Pringle saw yellow for kicking the ball away before Rotherham had Shearer to thank for preserving their slender lead when Saville picked up possession in the middle of the park before unleashing a fantastic effort from distance which was arrowing towards the top corner until a fine fingertip stop from the Rotherham ‘keeper.
In a frantic few last minutes, Brentford appealed in hope rather than expectation for back-to-back penalty appeals but Rotherham hung on to claim the three points.
Full-time:- Brentford 0 Rotherham United 1
Brentford- Button, Forshaw, Craig, Dean, Saunders, Donaldson, McCormack (Saville 76), Logan, Diagouraga (El Alagui 70), Trotta (Grigg 46), Taylor. Unused:- Lee, Douglas, Fillo, Nugent.
Rotherham- Shearer, Skarz, Arnason, Frecklington, Revell (Eaves 86), Bradley, Milsom (Tidser 83), Tubbs (Hylton 61), Pringle, Morgan, Agard. Unused:- Collin, Brindley, Mills, Rowe.
Referee:- Oliver Langford
Attendance:- 6614 (516)