ROTHERHAM UNITED cruised into the next round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a comfortable 3-0 victory over League Two York City.
A Chris Smith own goal gave the Millers the upper hand and despite pressure from the Minstermen either side of the interval, Kieran Agard’s penalty calmed nerves before Alex Revell’s header sealed the deal for Steve Evans’ side.
Following their hard-fought victory over Brentford at the weekend, Evans used the tie as an opportunity to reshuffle his pack at Bootham Crescent with five changes to his starting line-up.
Adam Collin was given his first start between the sticks while Richard Brindley returned at right-back at the expense of Mark Bradley.
Pablo Mills was at the heart of Rotherham’s rearguard with Kari Arnason on international duty with Iceland while Michael Tidser was given his first Rotherham start in the Millers’ engine room at the expense of Rob Milsom, who dropped to the bench.
Ex-Aldershot striker Danny Hylton was rewarded for his cameo role at Brentford by partnering Revell upfront.
The visitors had the first sight of goal when Joe Skarz’s hopeful punt gave Revell a sniff of advancing on goal but Michael Ingham snuffed out the danger.
The Millers had a lucky escape on 10 minutes when Smith’s long ball saw Wes Fletcher get on the wrong side of Craig Morgan, who hauled him to the ground but referee Mark Haywood decided to brandish a yellow card despite the visitors’ skipper being arguably the last man.
Morgan went from villain to hero minutes later when Ryan Jarvis’ threaded ball saw Fletcher work a yard of space on the ex-Peterborough defender but he superbly blocked his goalbound effort with a timely tackle.
Despite their slow start, the Millers stunned the home faithful by breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes against the run of play.
Ben Pringle fired a superb ball to the left flank which saw Skarz get the better of his marker to spoon a cross from the byline into the danger area and Smith inadvertently powered a bullet header into the heart of the home goal leaving Ingham a helpless bystander.
Moments later, Agard shrugged off the attentions of Ashley Chambers to launch a quick counter-attack but he squandered a three-on-two position with an errant pass.
The home side then missed a guilt edged chance to equalise just past the half hour when Luke O’Neill floated a delightful centre and Elliott Whitehouse ghosted into the box unmarked but despite having the goal at his mercy, his glancing header failed to trouble Collin as it fizzed past the upright.
With half-time approaching, the Ministermen came within a whisker of parity when a fine sweeping move involving Fletcher released Chambers, who floated a delicate cross to the far post which saw Jarvis rise highest but his downward header was blocked by a retreating Mills on the line before Lewis Montrose blasted the rebound over the bar.
The visitors were riding their luck and they had another let-off when Chambers pounced on the loose ball to fire a rasping drive which stung the palms of Collin and the ball squirmed out of the grasp of the ex-Carlisle stopper paving the way for Fletcher to plant the ball into the empty net but his joy soon turned to despair, as the assistant referee had flagged for offside.
Half-time:- York City 0 Rotherham United 1
Following the restart, the home side continued to press and Mills had to be on-hand to snuff out a dangerous centre from Whitehouse before Chambers had the visitors’ defence at sixes and sevens with a fizzed corner in the next phase of play.
Minutes later, York had a let-off of their own when a long punt saw Revell get the better of Daniel Parslow, who tripped the Rotherham frontman as he looked to advance on goal but the referee decided against sending him for an early bath by only giving him a yellow card.
At the other end, Whitehouse dragged a shot wide from distance before Parslow appealed to handle a low cross from Tidser but the referee waved away appeals for a spot kick.
From the resultant corner, Hylton’s header into the danger area saw Mills nod goalwards but Ben Davies hacked clear from his own line before Chambers’ instinctive header from O’Neill’s fizzing cross was straight at Collin.
The visitors came within a whisker of sealing the tie when firstly Hylton weighed up his options before striking a fearsome effort which grazed the top corner before Revell blazed over with Ingham in no man’s land.
However, Rotherham effectively sealed the game minutes later thanks to a penalty award when Montrose was adjudged to have illegally climbed over Agard, which saw the diminutive striker buckle under his challenge and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
The ex-Yeovil striker kept his nerve from the resultant penalty when he sent Ingham the wrong way to fire into the heart of the home goal.
The home side were visibly deflated by the goal and it was no surprise when the Millers added a third when Brindley swung a tantalisingly cross which saw Revell climb highest to power an unstoppable header from point-blank range into the roof of the home goal giving Ingham no chance.
The Millers were in total control of the tie and Pringle flashed an effort narrowly over before Revell struck a fearsome effort from the edge of the box which was superbly smothered by Ingham moments later.
Full-time:- York City 0 Rotherham United 3
Teams:- York- Ingham, Davies, Smith, Parslow, Fletcher (Cresswell 70), Chambers (Bowman 70), Jarvis, Montrose, Platt (Murray 76), Whitehouse, O’Neill. Unused:- Clay, Allan.
Rotherham:- Collin, Brindley, Skarz, Mills, Frecklington, Revell, Hylton, Pringle (Milsom 90), Morgan (Rowe 87), Agard (Bradley 90), Tidser. Unused:- Shearer, O’Connor.
Referee:- Mark Haywood
Attendance:- 2372 (529)