ALEX Revell came back to haunt his former club as he struck a last-gasp winner to give the Millers a morale-boosting win over away day specialists Leyton Orient.
Wes Thomas endeared himself to the Millers faithful on his home debut by putting his side ahead at the interval but Moses Odubajo looked to have earned Orient a share of the spoils until Revell’s goal at the death.
Following their impressive victory over Tranmere Rovers in midweek, the Millers made a solitary change to their starting line-up with Middlesbrough loanee Richard Smallwood handed his second start in the home engine room as Rob Milsom missed out because of a quad injury.
New signing Nicky Adams was unavailable for the home side as he was not signed in time while Newcastle’s James Tavernier celebrated extending his stint at the NYS until the end of season by taking his place in the left-back slot.
Teammate Haris Vuckic and QPR striker Tom Hitchcock were also available from the bench after also putting pen to paper on season-long deals this week.
The Millers were quick out of the blocks and after Lee Frecklington was upended, Ben Pringle floated a free kick which caught the wind and visitors’ keeper Ben Alnwick was almost red-faced as the ball sailed narrowly wide of the target.
At the other end, Dean Cox showed good skill on the edge of the box before volleying wide before the home side stunned the high-flying visitors by breaking the deadlock on ten minutes.
After Alex Revell shielded the ball into touch for a home corner, Pringle’s curled the resultant set-piece into the danger area and after Orient only half-cleared the ball, the Rotherham schemer repeated the dose with a superb delivery back into the box and Thomas ghosted in-between home defenders to cleverly glance the ball into the corner of the net giving Alnwick no chance.
However, the home side’s joy almost proved shortlived when Claude Davis’ weak clearance paved the way for Cox to fire a fierce drive which stung the palms of Collin and the ball almost fell invitingly into the path of the on-rushing Robbie Simpson but fortunately for the home side the ball whizzed past his head with the goal gaping.
Simpson was again in the thick of the action moments later as Orient put the ball back into the box but his acrobatic effort was straight down the throat of Collin.
Just past the quarter hour, the Millers came within a whisker of doubling their advantage with Pringle the architect once again with a tantalising delivery but this time, Mark Bradley’s glancing header shaved the wrong side of the upright.
In an enthralling opening, Cox curled a delightful free-kick which had the Rotherham rearguard at sixes and sevens but Mathieu Baudry failed to make a connection with the goal at his mercy before Revell tried his luck from distance with a dipping effort but Alnwick was well-positioned to snuff out the danger at the other end.
Minutes later, Orient had Baudry to thank for keeping them in the game as Bradley and Revell worked a shooting position for Kieran Agard but the Millers hotshot was denied by the Frenchman who made a superb block as the ball was arrowing towards goal.
Just past the half hour, Tavernier’s long punt released Thomas, who exposed Baudry one on one, but after cutting inside to work a yard of space, he blazed an effort well over the bar.
With half-time approaching, Orient had a stroke of luck when Tavernier looked to be eased off the ball illegally but they failed to make it count when Cox drilled his effort wide of the target from just outside the box.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 1 Leyton Orient 0
Following the restart, Rotherham had the first sight of goal when Pringle’s whipped centre was met by the head of Kari Arnason but he couldn’t control his header as it looped over the bar.
At the other end, Smallwood tripped Romain Vincelot in full flight but Orient failed to make the home side pay when Lloyd James’ blazed the resultant free kick into the stand.
Minutes later, Davis became the first to see yellow when he cynically hauled down Odubajo near the Orient bench, which saw the visitors’ coaching staff and players appealing for the Jamaican to be sent for an early bath.
There was a moment of hilarity for the home fans when Alnwick’s attempted clearance ballooned into the air and bizarrely caught the wind and threatened his own goal before clearing the crossbar.
Just shy of the hour mark, Rotherham almost gave themselves some breathing space with a second goal when a long ball forward was flicked on by Revell putting sub Hitchcock in the clear but Alnwick stood up tall to block his goalbound effort with his legs as the ball was diverted narrowly wide.
With the game in the balance, Rotherham had a moment of fortune when Arnason appeared to raise an arm in the box but the referee took no action before Agard led a cavalry charge by the home side but Scott Cuthbert was on-hand to clear with Hitchcock looking to convert Tavernier’s inviting centre.
Cuthbert almost made an impact at the other end when he climbed highest from Cox’s corner but his header flew over the bar before Orient got back on level terms with
14 minutes remaining.
Following a ball into the channel, Rotherham were left short of numbers and a deep cross from the left flank whistled over the home defensive cover and fell invitingly for Odubajo at the far post, who controlled smartly before firing into the roof of the net.
The visitors’ were visibly lifted by the equaliser and following a lightning counter-attack, Collin had to be alert to prevent Chris Dagnall racing clear on goal.
With time running out, Smallwood became the next to be cautioned when he hacked down Odubajo as he looked to break clear before Pringle had Alnwick scrambling across goal with a fizzed effort from distance which whistled wide of the target.
However, the game had one final twist deep in stoppage time when the Millers’ struck the winner.
After Orient failed to clear their lines following a Rotherham attack, Smallwood superbly won possession to turn defence into attack and after playing the ball into the feet of Revell, the home targetman weighed up his options before curling a superb effort from the edge of the box which beat the outstretched hand of Alnwick before nestling into the corner of the net.
The goal sent the New York Stadium into delirium and there was little time for Orient to recover from the body blow as the referee brought the game to a swift conclusion.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 2 Leyton Orient 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Collin, Bradley, Arnason, Davis (Skarz 61), Tavernier, Agard, Smallwood, Frecklington, Pringle, Revell, Thomas (Hitchcock 46). Unused:- Shearer, Brindley, O’Connor, Addison, Vuckic.
Leyton Orient- Alnwick, Omozusi, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Baudry, Cox, James (Bartley 69), Odubajo, Clarke, Dagnall (Loza 89), Simpson (Mooney 57). Unused:- Sawyer, Larkins, Lasimant, Ness.
Referee:- K Wright
Attendance:- 8604 (703).