Rotherham United came from behind to start 2013 in style after a 2-1 win at Rochdale.
Ashley Grimes had given the home side the lead but second half goals from Kayode Odejayi and sub Courtney Cameron ensured the Millers moved into the automatic promotion places.
Both sides started the New Year in a competitive manner with neither giving an inch in midfield, leading to a scrappy opening 10 minutes. The Millers though were looking threatening from free-kicks and corners, with Kieran Agard the first to go close with a glancing header which flashed wide of Josh Lillis’ far post.
Rochdale’s determination to play out from the back almost landed them in trouble on a number of occasions, but going forward the front three of Bobby Grant, Ashley Grimes and Terry Gornell were causing problems. Grimes, not afraid to shoot from distance, looked to test Andy Warrington on 14 minutes but his shot fell harmlessly wide of the far post.
The Millers dominance at set-plays and corners was now becoming a problem for the Dale defence. On 16 minutes a corner from the far side by Ben Pringle was powered towards goal via the head of Mark Bradley leaving Lillis stranded, but he was saved by his defence when Phil Edwards headed off the line. From the resulting corner by Pringle, which again wasn’t dealt with, this time Kari Arnason glanced a header wide of the far post. Ten minutes later Arnason was denied again, this time he met Pringle’s corner firmly with his head, but the ball hammered into the underside of the crossbar and was cleared with some players claiming it may have gone over the line.
Two minutes later with the Millers now in control a low cross by Michael O’Connor was picked up by the onrushing Lee Frecklington, but as he lifted his shot over Lillis, the ‘keeper touched the ball wide.
The breakthrough did eventually come just prior to the half hour mark but it was for the home side. Grimes collected the ball following a great run down the right by Joe Rafferty, and then cut inside Mullins before curling the ball left footed into the top corner.
The second half began with Pringle intercepting Lillis’ goal kick, but after two clever touches he could only fire high and wide of the goal. A moment later and Frecklington was sent through only to be denied by the Dale stopper.
Alex Revell was introduced 68 minutes into the game and the Millers were given a renewed energy up front. However, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession they were unable to breakdown their resilient opponents. O’Connor tried his luck from distance, but it was never troubling Lillis’ goal.
Just a minute later and that elusive equaliser did finally arrive for the Millers. Match-winner Cameron swung the delivery into the far post where Revell rose to knock down for Odejayi who managed to turn and fire home from close range under a lot of pressure.
The visitors continued to dominate, and despite a slight resurgence from the home side, it was the Millers who looked the most likely to find a decisive second goal, which they did in tremendous style. Odejayi did the running on the right, and when the ball popped out to Frecklington, he squared to Cameron who took one touch before firing home left-footed into the top corner, sparking wild celebrations from the players and supporters.
The final action of the game saw Jason Kennedy pick up the ball in the box, and deep into injury time he turned and shot only for Bradley to make a crucial block.
Rochdale:Lillis, Rafferty (Bennett 69), R.Edwards, P.Edwards, McIntyre, Cavanagh, Kennedy, Tutte, Grimes (Donnelly 75), Grant, Gornell.
Unused:Adebola, Smith, Putterill, Barry-Murphy, Craney.
Millers:Warrington, Bradley, Arnason, Mullins, Ridehalgh, Pringle (Revell 69), O’Connor, Taylor, Agard (Cameron 57) Frecklington, Odejayi.
Unused: Thompson, Sharps, Walker, O’Connell.