ROTHERHAM United’s Championship finale ended in the defeat as Hull City ran out comfortable victors at the KC Stadium.
Lee Frecklington gave the Millers an early lead but it proved a false dawn for Neil Warnock’s men as Robert Snodgrass levelled matters before Abel Hernandez’s acrobatic effort put Hull infront.
Jake Livermore and Mo Diame added further goals before the break before Livermore notched a fifth goal early in the second half.
The Millers made three changes to their starting line-up as Frazer Richardson replaced Joe Mattock in the visitors rearguard after replacing the left-back during the loss to Blackburn last time out.
Danny Ward was recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of Matt Derbyshire while Jonson Clarke-Harris was handed a rare start as Leon Best had to settle for a place on the bench, alongside youngster Darnelle Bailey-King, who was rewarded for some fine reserve outings recently.
The home side had the first sight of goal when skipper Kirk Broadfoot failed to deal with a long punt forward and Diame got on the wrong side of the Scottish international to advance towards goal but Lee Camp snuffed out the danger at his near post by bundling the ball to safety.
Moments later, Andy Robertson fired a dangerous centre across the face of goal before Frecklington robbed Tom Huddlestone of possession to spark a Millers counter and although Clarke-Harris’ run was halted, Grant Ward pounced on the loose ball to drive into the box before firing a rasping effort narrowly wide of the target.
In the next phase of play, Danny Ward evaded the attentions of Moses Odubajo to fire a low centre across the Hull goalmouth before Jake Livermore shrugged off the challenge of Richie Smallwood to drill an effort from just outside the box which shaved the Millers upright at the other end.
The Millers had a let-off when Diame got on the wrong side of Broadfoot and following Snodgrass’ inside pass, Hernandez looked a certain scorer from close range but Richardson threw his body infront of his goalbound shot to keep the scores level before the Uruguayan international latched onto a threaded pass, seconds later, to force a smart, reflex save from Camp.
From the resultant corner, Curtis Davies headed narrowly wide of the target from Huddlestone’s centre before Rotherham took the lead just past the quarter hour.
Grant Ward was the architect of the strike by leaving the Hull rearguard in his wake before the home side failed to clear the danger sufficiently and Smallwood had the peace of mind to present Frecklington, with the opportunity of hooking the ball over the ruck of bodies and past the attentions of Allan McGregor as it found the far corner of the net.
However, the visitors’ joy almost proved shortlived as Diame’s clipped ball over the top put Hernandez in the clear, but Camp again proved his worth as the last line of defence as he stood up tall to deflect his low effort wide of the target.
Moments later, Ahmed Elmohamady’s run and lay-off saw Livermore curl an effort narrowly wide of the target before Hull turned the game on its head in a matter of minutes by taking the lead by scoring two goals in three minutes.
Firstly, Elmohamady skipped to the byline before floating a centre to the far post which saw Huddlestone knockdown into the path of Snodgrass, who controlled an effort, which arrowed into the top corner of the goal giving Camp no chance before Rotherham heads were still seemingly in a spin as they failed to clear the danger in Hull’s next attack and Hernandez executed a superb overhead kick which saw the ball fizz into the bottom corner of the net.
Hernandez was proving a thorn in Rotherham’s side and he took Elmohamady’s pass into his stride before forcing Camp into a fine save before Huddlestone’s volley was deflected by a retreating defender and the ball almost ballooned into the visitors goal.
At the other end, Frecklington worked hard to win possession to release Clarke-Harris, who pulled the ball back to Smallwood, whose guided effort fizzed past the home upright before Hernandez fired a curling effort from distance which rippled the side netting.
Hull were looking dangerous with every attack and Hernandez dragged an effort narrowly wide following Elmohamady’s assist before they deservedly added a third when Livermore broke through the Rotherham defence to race clear and with Camp unable to halt his run, the ex-Tottenham midfielder kept his nerve to scoop the ball into the net from an acute angle.
The Millers afternoon went from bad to worse moments later when Hull notched a fourth when another threaded pass from Livermore saw Diame nip the ball infront of Broadfoot to race clear on goal and the Hull striker showed great poise to clip the ball past the advancing Camp into the bottom corner of the net.
The Millers were thankful to an offside flag in the dying seconds of the half to deny the home side a fifth goal as Huddlestone’s perfectly-weighted pass saw Hernandez slip the ball past Camp but his joy was soon curtailed by the assistant referee.
Half-time- Hull City 4 Rotherham United 1
Following the interval, the Millers had the first attack of note as Danny Ward skipped to the byline before finding his namesake, Grant, who looped a header straight down the throat of McGregor.
Moments later, Broadfoot’s header from Smallwood’s free-kick threatened the home goal but there was no Miller in attendance to turn the ball home before Hull added a fifth when Richardson’s backpass was mis controlled by Camp forcing a corner and in the next play, Snodgrass’s clever backheel deceived the Millers defence and Livermore drilled a low effort past the outstretched hand of Camp into the bottom corner of the net.
Camp was in the thick of the action and he was forced to parry Snodgrass’s rasping effort to safety before Stephen Kelly was yellow-carded for a late foul.
Livermore turned Richard Wood with ease just inside the box but Camp denied him claiming the matchball with a smart save before Bailey-King was handed his first Millers outing in the latter stages of the game.
Sam Clucas almost put the icing on the cake for the home side near the end but his left-footed effort flashed just wide while the Millers almost grabbed a consolation when Best forced McGregor into a fine save before Wood headed wide in the last action of note.
Full-time:- Hull City 5 Rotherham United 1
Hull City 5
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Hull- McGregor, Odubajo, Davies, Huddlestone, Hernandez (Maloney 80), Snodgrass (Clucas 77), Livermore, Diame (Maguire 72), Dawson, Robertson, Elmohamady. Unused- Jakupovic, Bruce, Akpom, Aluko.
Rotherham- Camp, Broadfoot, Wood, Frecklington (Green 90), D Ward (Bailey-King 84), Kelly, Halford, Richardson, G Ward, Clarke-Harris (Best 69), Smallwood. Unused- Kenny, Mattock, Belaid, Facey.
Referee- S Duncan