Steve Evans celebrated the end of his stadium ban by bagging his first away win as Millers boss after a convincing 3-0 victory over Aldershot Town.
New signing Lee Frecklington had a debut to remember scoring the first in an impressive display, as the Millers coasted to a comfortable victory at the EBB Stadium.
Manager Steve Evans made six changes to the side that lost 3-0 at home to Southend last weekend. Loan signing Frecklington was handed a debut alongside the returning Kari Arnason in central-midfield, whilst Alex Revell in attack, with the recalled Daniel Nardiello, was handed a start following his return from suspension. Scott Shearer missed out through injury with his place going to Andy Warrington, as a result Academy ‘keeper Tony Thompson was given a place on the bench. Finally, Dale Tonge replaced Nicky Hunt at right-back.
Evans, making his long awaited return to the dugout, patrolled the edge of the technical area and was nearly jumping for joy after four minutes. Lionel Ainsworth’s low centre from the right found the debutant Frecklington but he steered his shot straight at Shots ‘keeper Jamie Young.
Two minutes later a teasing left-wing free-kick by Ben Pringle was headed in by Nardiello via the hand of the Young, but the recalled front-man was denied by an offside flag.
Aldershot responded with an effort themselves but Danny Hylton’s deflected strike was just wide of Warrington’s near post.
The Millers continued to have the best of the early exchanges and it was Nardiello who was close again on 13 minutes when he connected with Bob Harris’ left-wing cross, but his header was tipped wide by Young.
Frecklington had an incident packed start after missing an earlier opportunity he was then booked for a late challenge on Hylton.
Again it was the Millers who looked more likely to open the scoring, on 18 minutes Ainsworth’s centre fizzed across the six yard box but was turned behind by the Shots defence.
After a lull in the game it surged back to life on 33 minutes. After some superb wing play by Pringle, he beat his man on the outside before his cross deflected to Frecklington. The loanee pulled the ball under control before firing into the top corner from 18 yards for a debut goal.
Four minutes before the interval the Millers had a great chance to make it 2-0. ‘Keeper Young lost control of the ball under pressure allowing Revell to lift it into the six yard box, but under pressure Nardiello directed his header wide. Then an Ainsworth corner was headed towards goal but Arnason’s deft flick was kicked off the line by ex-Miller Troy Brown.
Aldershot Town 0 v 1 Rotherham United
The Millers started the second half with the same intensity as the first. On 48 minutes Arnason laid a pass to Ainsworth whose fiercely struck shot was parried by Young. Again the Millers poured forward, this time good pressing by Nardiello allowed Ainsworth to find Frecklington who smashed the ball towards goal but Young tipped over. Moments later Ainsworth’s low half-volley was then saved by Young, and Frecklington again had a low shot tipped wide as the Millers laid siege to the Aldershot goal.
On 56 minutes the Millers went 2-0 up after a foul on Frecklington 20 yards from goal. Harris stepped up and curled a perfectly flighted free-kick beyond Young and into the bottom corner.
Rotherham were now running riot and just before the hour mark Ainsworth was presented with the ball 25 yards from goal, he surged into the area but dragged his shot wide of the far post with Nardiello screaming for a pass.
The Millers were carving the Aldershot defence open time and again, this time Ainsworth got to the by-line and his deep cross found Pringle who fired over Young’s goal.
On 82 Frecklington won possession for the Millers and gave the ball to Ainsworth. His vicious drive was only parried by Young and Revell was quickest to react for an easy tap-in.
Aldershot: Young; Herd, A.Morris, Brown, Lancashire, Rodman (Mekki 59), Payne (Vincenti 59), Rankine (Tonkin 76), Hylton, Reid, Rose.
Subs not used: Branston, Bradley, G.Morris, Munns.
Rotherham: Warrington; Tonge, Sharps, Morgan, Harris, Ainsworth, Arnason (Taylor 85), Frecklington (Bradley 89), Pringle, Revell, Nardiello (Agard 76).
Subs not used: O’Connor, Thompson, Evans, Odejayi.