Kari Arnason had a hand in all three goals as the Millers scored a 3-2 victory over Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium.
The midfielder opened the scoring with a stunning strike before laying off goals for Daniel Nardiello and Mark Bradley. Matt Green scored and assisted at the other end for the Blue Square Premier League outfit.
The home side dominated the opening five minutes, forcing an early corner, and creating a chance that was met with a complete mis-kick 10 yards out. However, the Millers went close on two occasions with their first attack. First, Nardiello broke from midfield and saw his shot from distance deflected wide, and from the resulting corner, Kayode Odejayi headed just wide.
It wasn’t the last time in the opening 10 minutes that the visitors went close with their heads, as firstly Jason Taylor missed the target after pouncing on a half-clearance from Arnason’s long throw, and then David Noble’s effort was wide after a good move down the left resulted in a Nardiello cross from the byline.
The first meaningful shot from the boot of a Miller came in the form of Kieran Agard who managed to sneak into the area on the right-hand side latching on to a fine through ball by Taylor, but could only side-foot his effort at Alan Marriott in the Stags’ goal.
The breakthrough did eventually come on 25 minutes in spectacular fashion as Arnason netted his first for the club. Again Nardiello the catalyst in a deeper position rolled the ball to the Icelandic international who effortlessly struck the ball into the top corner from 25 yards.
At the other end, Andy Warrington had to be alert when Stags striker Green outmuscled the Millers central defensive pairing; the veteran goalkeeper raced off his line to prevent the striker as he was about to pull the trigger.
With nine minutes remaining until the break there was another first for the Millers after some fine counter-attacking football. Noble, after winning the ball in midfield, found partner Arnason who delayed perfectly to find the run of Nardiello. The former Exeter man grabbed his inaugural Millers goal as he slotted left-footed past Marriott from the left-hand side.
Mansfield 0-2 Millers
Manager Steve Evans made just one change at the break with Scott Shearer replacing Warrington in goal, and the former Crawley stopper’s first piece of action was to pick the ball out of the back of the net. Lee Stevenson hit a rocket of a shot from the edge of the area after a dazzling run by Green from the left had set him up.
Both sides made several substitutions as the half wore on, and it was one of those who had the next chance for the Millers. Gareth Evans was fed on the left-hand side of the area and the winger struck low only to see his effort blocked by the foot of Marriott. Evans picked up the rebound and crossed for Taylor whose header was kicked off the line by John Thompson. From the resulting corner Alex Revell had a half-chance but volleyed just over from the corner of the area whilst off balance.
On 70 minutes, the long-throw that Arnason utilised throughout the game did finally pay off. The ball was launched into the area where Mullins flicked on to the unmarked substitute Mark Bradley who coolly slotted home.
Before the Millers had chance to settle on their two goal lead the Stags’ danger-man Green struck again; this time finishing casually between the legs of Shearer following a burst through the middle by Lindon Meikle. It proved the final action of the game for the duo who were both replaced before the restart.
Ex-Miller Gary Roberts controlled a clearance 30 yards out before unleashing a volley that sailed wide of Shearer’s goal, and in injury-time Jake Speight fired over at the far post after a cross from the right by Nick Wright.
The woodwork was rattled to finish the game as Revell pounced on a mistake and laid off to Evans whose curling effort rebounded back off the crossbar.
Mansfield 2-3 Millers
Mansfield: Marriott, Thompson, Beevers, Tolley, Pilkinton, Jones, Meikle (Speight 73), Stevenson (Clements 53), Green (Wright 73) Dyer, Howell (Roberts 65).
Unused: Redmond, Dempster, Briscoe, Rhead, Hand, Poku.
Millers: Warrington (Shearer HT), Vidal, Sharps (Johnson 85), Mullins, Wilson (Bradley 53), Noble, Taylor (Woods 84), Arnason (Pringle 75), Agard (Evans 53), Odejayi (Revell 53), Nardiello (Ainsworth 66).
Attendance: 1,300 (253).