REPORT | Rotherham 4 v 5 Morecambe AET
JERRY Yates’ first senior goals were in vain as Rotherham United exited the EFL Cup at the first round stage as Morecambe ran out 5-4 winners at the AESSEAL New York Stadium after extra time.
Greg Halford’s penalty and Yates’ first brought the Millers back level twice against the Lancastrians before sub Anthony Forde looked to have grabbed the winner for the Millers with seven minutes to go of normal time.
However, fellow sub Jack Dunn stunned the home faithful by taking the tie into extra time before sub Kevin Ellison came back to haunt his former club with a close range strike.
Dunn grabbed his hat-trick goal, in the dying minutes of extra-time, for Morecambe’s fifth before Yates netted again late on.
Following their hard fought opening day draw with Wolves, Millers chief Alan Stubbs retained just three of his weekend starting line-up for the visit of the Shrimps.
Ex-Owls ‘keeper Lewis Price was handed his Millers debut between the sticks while former Celtic defender Kelvin Wilson was given an opportunity to impress at the heart of the Rotherham rearguard alongside Halford, who was made skipper for the evening.
Academy product Mason Warren, for his debut, and Tom Thorpe were asked to fill the full-back berths while Richie Smallwood returned to the Millers engine room alongside Will Vaulks and Jake Forster-Caskey.
Playmaker Scott Allan was asked to provide the ammunition to young forward Yates, who was rewarded for his impressive pre-season form with an opportunity to lead the Rotherham line, in his first senior start.
The visitors had the first sight of goal when Michael Rose’s delicate corner saw Alex Kenyon rise highest at the far post to plant a header which was blocked en-route to goal before being cleared.
However, Rotherham failed to heed the early warning as Morecambe opened the scoring on six minutes when sloppy play from the Millers saw the ball threaded to the backline where Wilson’s attempted pass was deflected into the path of Cole Stockton, who kept his nerve to curl a delightful effort from the edge of the box which beat the outstretched hand of Price before nestling in the far corner of the net.
The Millers responded positively to the setback and Jon Taylor fired a snap shot from the edge of the box but Kenyon threw his body in the way of his goalbound effort as the ball looped harmlessly wide of the target.
The diminutive winger was in the thick of the action and Vaulks’ pinpoint pass released Thorpe, who played the ball back into the path of Taylor, who unleashed a rasping effort from the edge of the box which smashed against the visitors’ crossbar before flying to safety.
Moments later, Forster-Caskey embarked on a mazy run before it was halted abruptly by Kenyon on the edge of the box but Taylor failed to make it count from the resultant free-kick when his effort cleared the visitors crossbar.
In the Millers’ next attack, Allan cleverly worked a shooting position to drill a low effort from distance which stung the palms of Barry Roche before Taylor’s threaded pass saw Vaulks blaze an effort harmlessly wide of the visitors goal.
Just past the half-hour mark, Halford’s long ball forward was inch-perfect for Yates, who got on the wrong side of Alex Whitmore to advance on goal but the youngster snatched at his effort as it failed to trouble Roche before Taylor got to the by line to pull the ball back into the path of Vaulks, but the ex-Falkirk midfielder dragged his shot across the face of goal.
With half-time approaching, the Millers had Price to thank for keeping them in the contest when he twice denied Tom Barkhuizen with his feet after the visitors winger broke clear from Warren on both occasions.
Half-time: Rotherham United 0 Morecambe 1
Following the interval, Morecambe had the first effort of note when Liam Wakefield’s throw was taken into his stride by Paul Mullin, who tried a speculative effort from distance but it screwed well wide of the target.
Minutes later, sub Richard Wood became the first to see yellow for clattering Mullin from behind before Morecambe missed a gilt-edged chance to double their advantage when Barkhuizen rounded Warren with a minimum of fuss before firing a stinging drive which Price parried into the path of Stockton, who looked a likely scorer but he fluffed his lines by blasting over with the goal at his mercy.
However, Rotherham were granted an opportunity to get back on level terms just before the hour mark when Vaulks floated into a free-kick into the danger area and Halford was pulled to the ground by Ryan Edwards and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and cautioning the visitors’ centre-half in the process.
From the resultant penalty, Halford exacted his own form of retribution as he kept his nerve to calmly wrongfoot Roche by sliding the ball into the opposite corner of the net.
However, Rotherham’s joy proved short lived as Morecambe regained the lead on 67 minutes when Lee Molyneux’s ball from the left flank looked innocuous enough but Halford failed to clear the danger and sub Dunn, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, smashed a left-footed effort into the roof of the home net.
Moments later, the home side were caught napping from a short corner taken by Michael Rose but Wakefield blasted over when he should have done better before sub Danny Ward’s swirling through ball was controlled superbly by Yates, who drilled a low effort from just outside the box which shaved the visitors’ upright.
The Millers were indebted to Warren for keeping them in tie with a goal-saving block from Barkhuizen’s point-blank effort before Dunn tested Price with a fierce effort from just outside the box.
Wakefield was the next to see yellow for hauling back Warren in full flow before Molyneux came within inches of sealing the deal with a dipping long range effort which smacked against the stanchion behind the home goal.
The moment proved crucial, just seconds later, as Rotherham levelled matters for a second time.
Forde broke clear on the right flank before floating a centre which was controlled by Taylor, who rolled the ball into the path of Yates, who drilled a superb low effort which flew into the heart of the visitors goal with Roche a helpless bystander.
Just minutes later, the tie was turned on its head when Rotherham took the lead when Vaulks’ switch to the right flank saw a first-time ball release Forde in the box and the ex-Walsall winger showed great composure to fire an effort into the roof of the visitors net.
Forde was proving a thorn in Morecambe’s side and he left Luke Conlan grasping at thin air as he ghosted past the full-back to force Roche into a superb tip over before the game took another decisive twist in stoppage time.
There looked little danger for the Millers until a threaded pass saw defensive hesitation from the home side and Dunn got on the wrong side of Wood, who hauled over the on-loan Liverpool striker in the box and the referee pointed to the spot for a second time.
Dunn dusted himself down to take the spot kick and he held his nerve to blast the ball into the heart of the Rotherham goal to take the tie into extra time.
Full-time: Rotherham United 3 Morecambe 3
The Millers had the first effort of added time when Forde’s threaded pass gave Ward a glimpse of goal but he curled an effort harmlessly wide of the target from just outside the box before Wood headed wide from Forde’s fizzed corner, in the home side’s next foray of note.
Edwards tried his luck from distance with a speculative effort which was straight down the throat of Price before Yates showed great opportunism to nip in front of his marker to blast an effort narrowly over the bar.
In the last action of the first period of extra time, Andrew Fleming fired a rasping effort from distance which flew narrowly over the home bar.
First period of extra time:- Rotherham United 3 Morecambe 3
In the second period, the visitors squandered an opportunity to take the clash by the scruff of the neck when firstly Barkhuizen raced away from Warren but bizarrely, he opted to square the ball rather than shoot despite baring down on goal before Molyneux lacked composure when he blasted over from a promising position.
At the other end, Taylor ran at the Morecambe rearguard with purpose before drilling a low centre which saw Yates dart to the near post to fire a rising effort which shaved the visitors upright.
However, Morecambe took the lead for a third time when the home side failed to clear their lines in their own box and the ball squirmed to Dunn, who tried to force the ball home but the ball fell kindly to Ellison, who scuffed the ball into the net from close range.
Dunn looked to have sealed the deal when he latched onto Ellison’s pass to fire into the heart of the Rotherham goal to claim the matchball before Yates notched his second of the evening with an opportunistic strike to give Rotherham hope.
However, Jim Bentley’s side successfully ran down the clock to book their berth in the second round hat.
Second period of extra time: Rotherham United 4 Morecambe 5
Teams:- Rotherham- Price, Vaulks, Forster-Caskey (Ward 63), Taylor, Halford, Wilson (Wood 46), Allan (Forde 76), Thorpe, Smallwood, Yates, Warren. Unused- Camp, Kelly, Bailey-King, Muskwe
Morecambe- Roche, Wakefield, Kenyon (Fleming 87), Edwards, Mullin (Dunn 63), Barkhuizen, Molyneux, Conlan, Whitmore, Stockton (Ellison 87), Rose. Unused- Nizic, McGowan.
Referee- S Stockbridge
Attendance- 3793 (118).