The Millers surrendered their 100% home record in nPower League Two as a brave performance saw them defeated 3-2 by Rochdale in a pulsating encounter under the watchful eye of assistant Paul Raynor.
Goals from Alex Revell and substitute Daniel Nardiello proved in vain as the visitors came back from behind to grab all three points.
Millers’ boss Steve Evans retained the 11 that earned a 1-0 win over Torquay United on Saturday, with the only change to the squad being the inclusion of Mark Bradley on the bench in place of Alec Denton.
Gareth Evans was the first player to set his sights on goal as he cut in from the right-hand before firing just wide of the near post just past the 60 second mark.
Evans opted to persist with the partnership of Revell and Kayode Odejayi in attack and the pair combined well just after five minutes when the former found his Nigerian colleague in the box only for him to drag his effort just wide.
However, the in-form Odejayi appeared intent on not letting the early miss affect his confidence and came close again when Nicky Hunt surged down the right, before finding him in the area only for his him to skew his shot over the bar.
Revell marked his return to the side with a goal on Saturday and almost added to his tally in spectacular fashion on the quarter hour mark. A high ball down the right flank saw the Millers’ number nine skilfully bring down the ball before striking a tenacious volley across Josh Lillis’ goal which whistled just past the far post.
The home side continued to dominate and the work rate instilled by boss Evans was clearly displayed when Ben Pringle and Odejayi tirelessly harried some short Rochdale passing, before recovering possession allowing Evans another long range effort on goal.
John Coleman’s side remained resolute but had to wait until 22 minutes before they got their first sight on Scott Shearer’s goal. A run down the right by Adebola eventually saw the ball land at the feet of Phil Edwards on the edge of the area, but he couldn’t set himself and put the ball well over.
A clipped ball goalwards almost paved the way for Adebola to bear down on Shearer’s net, but a brave intervention from defender Craig Morgan averted the danger and received a free-kick for a high boot by the Rochdale forward in the process.
The Millers were almost caught on the counter-attack when Shearer misjudged the flight of a long ball which skidded over his head into the path of Bobby Grant who cut inside and had his effort cleared off the line. However, the ball fell to the feet of George Donnelly who was lurking in the area, but he dragged his effort wide of the target allowing the home side to clear.
Moments after the referee had observed the advantage, Mr. Martin raced across to the Millers’ number one and awarded him a yellow card after he had adjudged him to have handled outside the area in the build-up.
Rochdale full-back Rhys Bennett almost proved himself an unlikely source for a goal for the visitors when he found himself with time and space in the area, only to be thwarted by a reflex save from Shearer.
A persistent attitude from the away side was rewarded just as the fourth official raised his board to indicate a minute’s added time, when a misplaced pass in the Rotherham midfield gave the lively Adebola a clean run on goal and he was able to slot past Shearer to send his side into the break 1-0 up and claim the accolade of being the first opposition player to score in a league fixture against the Millers at the New York Stadium.
Half Time: Millers 0 – 1 Rochdale
Assistant boss Raynor delivered the half-time team talk and it appeared to make an immediate impression on the home side who began an early onslaught of the Rochdale goal. A neat pull back from Pringle inside the first two minutes gave Odejayi a chance to curl one at goal, but a smart stop from Lillis was enough to prevent the equaliser.
Seconds later Pringle was the architect again as he slalomed his way through the Rochdale defence, before cutting in and unleashing a ferocious left-footed effort that flew just over the crossbar.
The home contingent at the New York Stadium thought they had the ball in the back of the net on 57 minutes when Dale Tonge found substitute Lionel Ainsworth on the back post, who had his effort cleared off the goal line, only for the home side to be denied the equaliser by the assistant referee.
However, it was only a matter of seconds before the Millers’ following were on their feet again. This time a pinpoint cross from Pringle was diverted into the top corner of the goal by the head of Revell, making it two goals in two starts for the Rotherham forward..
Nardiello marked his introduction ten minutes after the break when he exposed a gap in the Rochdale back line, before firing a shot just wide of the far post which left Lillis rooted to the spot.
The visitors almost re-established their lead when Grant found room in the penalty area to latch onto a cross from the left which Shearer, only to see his header cannon back off the post and away from danger.
This would prove costly for the visitors who were given a lesson in clinical finishing just minutes later when a Michael O’Connor free-kick from just inside the Rochdale half appeared too deep for any sort of connection, only to see Ian Sharps appear to head the ball back across the face of goal, leaving Nardiello the easiest of tap-ins to give the Millers’ the lead.
The game continued at a high tempo and the scores could have been level again when Kevin McIntyre let loose a powerful strike from 25 yards that thundered against the crossbar and away from goal.
The visitors continued their quest for an equaliser and were given a lifeline when Jason Kennedy went down in the area under the challenge of Revell, with the referee to pointing to the spot.
Grant stepped up confidently and dispatched his penalty low into the bottom right corner and Shearer went the other way to even things up at 2-2.
The goal seemed to lift Coleman’s side and they continued to press in search of a winner and they didn’t have to wait long before going back in front. A Rochdale attack down the left saw the ball fall kindly into the path of McIntyre who curled his effort across goal and into the bottom corner ten minutes from time.
Pringle continued to threaten down the Millers’ left flank and produced another good delivery, this time finding the recently introduced Agard in the area, whose acrobatic effort on goal flew agonizingly over the crossbar five minutes from the end.
Urged on by the crowd at the New York Stadium the home side battled for a last gasp equaliser and it almost came in the dying seconds when Lionel Ainsworth picked Nardiello out on the back post, but the striker could only make minimal contact as he lunged for the ball.
Deep into stoppage time Pringle delivered another delightful cross, finding the advanced figure of Sharps at the far post, only to see the defender head all the way back across goal and wide.
Millers 2 – 3 Rochdale
Millers: Shearer, Hunt (Agard 81), Morgan, Sharps ©, Tonge, Evans (Ainsworth HT), Taylor, O’Connor, Pringle, Odejayi (Nardiello 56), Revell.
Unused: Warrington, Mullins, Bradley, Rose.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Bennett, Edwards, Kennedy, Tutte ©, Donnelly, Edwards, McIntyre, Adebola (Putterill 61), Grant.
Unused: Barry-Murphy, Grimes, Pearson, Curran, Crainey, Smith.
Attendance: 6,783 (359 Away)