ROTHERHAM UNITED gave their League One play-off hopes a timely boost when they earned an eye-catching 3-0 victory over Coventry City.
Following a dour first-half at Northampton’s Sixfields Stadium, Wigan loanee Noura Dicko put the Millers in control before Alex Revell doubled their advantage soon after.
Kieran Agard put the icing on the cake on a polished second-half display by adding a third from the penalty spot.
Following their goalless draw with Carlisle United at the weekend, the Millers were originally due to make two changes to their starting line-up with Rob Milsom due to earn a recall in the visitors’ engine room with Michael O’Connor ruled out by injury.
However, Milsom’s joy turned to despair as he sustained an injury in the warm-up forcing Steve Evans to reshuffle his side at the 11th hour.
Michael Tidser was promoted from the bench for his first league start for the Millers while recent recruit Dicko partnered Alex Revell in a new-look frontline as Matt Tubbs had to settle for a place on the bench.
The home side were quick out of the blocks and John Fleck had the first sight of goal when he fired a shot from distance which whistled past the upright.
Minutes later, Rotherham were caught napping by a quick counter attack and Billy Daniels dragged a shot wide of the target from the edge of the box.
In the Millers first foray forward, Tidser released Ben Pringle, who fired a tantalising centre which forced Joe Murphy to divert the ball to safety.
On the quarter hour, Tidser was on the receiving end of late lunge by Conor Thomas, which earned the home midfielder the first caution of the evening.
Aaron Phillips soon joined him in the referee’s book when he cynically abrupted a mazy run from Dicko, which had bisected the home rearguard.
From the resultant free-kick, Rotherham almost made them pay when Pringle fired a low drive through a ruck of bodies but Murphy was well-stationed to snuff out the danger.
The ex-Derby midfielder was in the thick of the action minutes later when he cut inside before striking a fierce effort from distance which blazed over the bar.
Neither side were able to assert their authority but the visitors had a lucky escape on 25 minutes when Callum Wilson skipped the challenge of Craig Morgan before racing clear but his first shot was bravely blocked by Joe Skarz before Wilson chipped the ball into the path of Carl Baker at the far post but his goalbound effort was saved by the legs of Adam Collin.
With half-time approaching, the home side had faint appeals for a spot kick when Wilson danced his way into the box before being seemingly bundled over by Morgan but the referee waved away home protests.
Half-time:- Coventry City 0 Rotherham United 0
Following the restart, Coventry started on the frontfoot but Rotherham had the first attack of note when following a quick counter involving Pringle and Revell, Dicko had a sight of goal but his snap shot was deflected wide by a retreating Blair Adams.
With neither side looking threatening, the Millers’ stunned the home faithful by breaking the deadlock just shy of the hour mark.
The visitors fought hard to regain possession following a home error and Pringle fired an inviting centre which saw Dicko nip infront of his marker, before calmly flicking the ball into the far corner of the goal.
The visitors were buoyed by the strike and Revell volleyed over from distance before the ex-Orient frontman doubled the Millers’ lead with 21 minutes to go.
Pringle was again the architect with a tantalising centre which was met by Dicko and his header back into the danger area paved the way for Revell to power an unstoppable header which hit the roof of the net.
The visitors were sniffing blood and they effectively sealed the game with a third minutes later.
Dicko picked up possession on the edge of the box before waltzing into the box and Andy Webster tripped him in full flight and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Agard kept his nerve from the resultant penalty when he sent Murphy the wrong way in finding the bottom corner.
The visitors were running riot at this stage but they had Collin to thank for keeping Coventry at bay near the end when Wilson jinked his way into the box before firing a low drive which was bravely blocked by the ex-Carlisle stopper.
Full-time: Coventry City 0 Rotherham United 3
Teams:- Coventry- Murphy, Adams, Webster, Thomas, Fleck, Baker, Moussa, Daniels (Christie 65), Phillips, Wilson, Clarke. Unused:- Burge, Garner, Haynes, Maund, Baker-Richardson, Lawton.
Rotherham- Collin, Brindley, Skarz, Arnason, Frecklington (Mills 90), Revell (Davis 90), Tidser, Pringle, Morgan, Agard, Dicko (Tubbs 90). Unused:- Shearer.
Referee:- J Moss
Attendance:- 1961 (517)