ROTHERHAM UNITED earned the South Yorkshire bragging rights as Matt Derbyshire’s first-half strike helped put play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday to the sword.
The Millers were rewarded for their early pressure at Hillsborough when Derbyshire tapped home at the far post following Lee Frecklington’s cross and the Millers held firm to record back-to-back victories.
Following last week’s win over Brentford, the Millers made two changes for the short hop to S6 as Danny Ward was rewarded for his winning strike against the Bees by being recalled to the starting line-up as Leon Best had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.
Tottenham loanee Grant Ward was also given a starting berth in the Millers engine room as Jerome Thomas was named amongst the replacements.
The Millers were quick out the blocks and they almost silenced the home faithful in the early minutes when Danny Ward’s knock forward saw Derbyshire clip the ball over the top into the path of Grant Ward, whose half-volley flashed narrowly over the bar.
Moments later, Joe Mattock’s inviting free-kick saw Richard Wood get infront of Kieran Westwood in the aerial dual but he was unable to steer his header goalwards and as Wednesday failed to clear the danger, Grant Ward planted a header which was snatched by Westwood, who backtracked successfully to his own line.
The Millers were looking the most likely and the two Ward’s combined superbly as Danny raced to the byline but skipper Tom Lees was on his toes to snuff out the danger with a timely tackle before Greg Halford’s bullet throw saw Atdhe Nuhiu rise highest but in attempting to clear the danger, the ball skimmed off his head and fortunately for the Owls into the grateful hands of Westwood.
However, the visitors were finally rewarded for their pressure on 22 minutes when Frazer Richardson and Frecklington combined well to pave the way for the latter to dig out a cross from the right flank which flew across the box and with neither Westwood and the home defenders able to cut out the danger, Derbyshire was on-hand at the far post to tap home into the unguarded net/
The Millers were buoyed by the breakthrough and Danny Ward’s clipped ball was volleyed by Richardson into the advancing run of Frecklington, but he was unable to make a clean connection as his shot failed to trouble the home goal.
Just past the half hour mark, the Millers had a let off when Aiden McGeady’s corner was only half-cleared back into the path of the Everton winger, who showed fleet of foot to get the better of Kirk Broadfoot near the touchline before advancing into the box to strike an effort which took a deflection of Michael Turner to seemingly wrongfoot Camp as the ball dribbled into the net.
With the home fans celebrating the goal, referee Christopher Kavanagh consulted with the assistant referee and the goal was chalked off to the relief of the visiting faithful.
The moment almost proved crucial, moments later, as the Millers came within a whisker of doubling their advantage when Grant Ward fizzed a tantalising centre from the byline which saw Danny Ward nip infront of Westwood at the near post but his deft effort shaved the wrong side of the upright.
With half-time approaching, McGeady and Ross Wallace exchanged passes to give Hunt another shooting opportunity and the flying full-back unleashed a rasping effort which whizzed narrowly wide of the target before Danny Ward tried an ambitious effort from distance which stung the palms of Westwood in the final action of the half.
Half-time:- Sheffield Wednesday 0 Rotherham United 1
Following the break, the Millers had a scare when sub Lucas Joao’s pass saw Wallace weigh up his options on the edge of the box before striking a left-footed effort which smashed against the crossbar before Rotherham managed to scramble the ball to safety.
Minutes later, the home side countered with purpose following the breakdown of a Rotherham corner and Joao got the better of Grant Ward before striking a rasping effort which was smothered by Camp into the path of Gary Hooper, who tapped the ball home, but his joy was short lived as the assistant referee had flagged for offside.
Moments later, Joao volleyed harmlessly wide of the target before Grant Ward’s cross-cum-shot took a wicked deflection of Tom Lees but the ball fell kindly for Westwood in the home goal.
The home side were piling on the pressure and Joao raced away from the Rotherham rearguard before striking an effort which Camp parried to safety before Nuhiu rose highest from the resultant corner but his header looped narrowly wide of the target.
With time running out for the hosts, Mattock dallied in possession before being stripped off the ball by Hunt, who advanced with menace, before being hauled down by the Rotherham full-back just outside the box and the Owls almost punished the visitors to the full when Wallace curled the resultant free-kick around the wall but Camp was well-stationed to kick the ball clear with his legs.
The Millers were holding firm and home frustration was summed up when sub Lewis McGugan blazed a long-range effort harmlessly over the bar before Kieran Lee screwed an effort wide following Wallace’s cross.
In injury-time, the Millers squandered an opportunity to seal the deal when sub Leon Best got the better of his marker to race upfield and with Richie Smallwood in support, the midfielder bared down on goal but despite only having Westwood to beat, his clipped shot fizzed wide of the target.
Seconds later, the referee brought the game to a close to send the visiting faithful into ecstasy and extend Rotherham’s run of never losing at the home of their local rivals since 1981.
Full-time:- Sheffield Wednesday 0 Rotherham United 1
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Sheffield Wednesday- Westwood, Turner, Nuhiu, Hooper, Lees, Lee, Hunt (McGugan 74), Wallace, Pudil, McGeady (Joao 46), Bannan. Unused:- Price, Loovens, Matias, Lopez, Bennett
Rotherham- Camp, Mattock, Broadfoot, Wood, Frecklington, D Ward (Best 90), Halford, Richardson, G Ward (Kelly 90), Derbyshire (Newell 82), Smallwood. Unused:- Kenny, Thomas, Green, Clarke-Harris.
Referee- C Kavanagh