Millers prevail in South Yorkshire derby with Newell's last gasp penalty..
JOE Newell’s penalty with the last kick of the game earned Rotherham United their seventh successive victory, in the most dramatic of circumstances, as they came back from the jaws of defeat to earn a 2-1 victory over local rivals Doncaster Rovers.
John Marquis’ first-half strike gave Darren Ferguson’s side the advantage at the break but Paul Warne’s side’s demonstrated their never-say-die spirit when Smith firstly headed home before Newell stroked home the spot kick in the dying seconds after Marko Marosi had floored Smith in the box.
Following their sixth successive victory on the spin at high-flying Shrewsbury Town, last time out, the Millers made just one change to their starting line-up, from the New Meadow – with left-back Joe Mattock shrugging off a hamstring injury to take his place in the Millers’ starting eleven, at the expense of Michael Ihiekwe.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when Newell superbly exchanged passes with David Ball to dart into the box but he was unable to get his shot away following a timely tackle by a retreating defender before Marosi was forced to punch clear Will Vaulks’ centre, in the next phase of play.
Moments later, Richie Towell floated an inviting centre which was met by the head of Semi Ajayi but the Nigerian centre-half could only glance his effort harmlessly wide of the target before the evergreen James Coppinger was the architect of Doncaster’s first foray of note with a floated cross which saw Tom Anderson nip in front of his marker with a timely header to force Marek Rodak into a smothered save.
Moments later, Anthony Forde’s clipped a cross which was met by the head of Joe Newell, but he could not direct his effort goalwards before Josh Emmanuel became the latest to plant a dangerous cross into the Rovers box but Ball failed to trouble Marosi with a glancing header.
Minutes later, Mattock blasted an ambitious effort into the visiting faithful behind the goal before Doncaster failed to deal with Vaulks’ exocet throw into the box decisively and Ball tried his luck with an acrobatic volley which whistled narrowly over the visitors bar.
Moments later, another Vaulks’ long throw caused havoc in the visitors box and Ajayi came close to heading goalwards before Smith latched onto the pieces but Marosi plucked the ball out of the sky.
The home side were cranking up the pressure and Mattock drilled a low effort which was arrowing into the bottom corner of the net until Anderson’s last ditch intervention before Forde had Niall Mason in a daze to fire a superb centre which looked inch-perfect for Ball, just yards out, but agonisingly for the Millers, the ex-Manchester City striker was unable to make a telling connection.
Coppinger became the first to see yellow for a late foul before Doncaster took the lead when Wood’s backpass forced Rodak into a hurried clearance and Ajayi attempted to play his way out of trouble but Alex Kiwomya pounced on the hesitation and while the Millers were looking to regain their composure, the ball was played to John Marquis, who kept his nerve to cut inside before unleashing an effort, from just outside the box, which thumped into the roof of the home net.
Half-time- Rotherham United 0 Doncaster Rovers 1
There was a lengthy stoppage at the start of the second half after Anderson was involved in a collision, in his own box, which saw the visiting defender receive medical attention on the pitch before being stretched off.
Minutes later, Newell swung a tantalising corner into the box and Vaulks emerged from the ruck of bodies to power a point-blank header which shaved the Donny crossbar before the Millers were indebted to Towell for a goal saving block to deny Rowe, who looked a certain scorer following Marquis’s centre.
At the other end, Newell blasted over when he should have done better before the Millers midfielder turned provider which a deep corner which evaded the attentions of Smith but found Mattock, who could only head wide from a tight angle.
The Millers were ramping up the pressure and Forde’s delicious corner was met by Wood, whose downward header, from point-blank range, was blocked en-route to goal before Towell volleyed goalwards from the resultant clearance, but the ball was diverted away from goal by a well-stationed Rovers defender.
Towell was in the thick of the action and after Newell and Mattock combined superbly to split open the Rovers defence, Newell played the ball into the path of the Irishman, who got the ball from under his feet to shoot goalwards and with Marosi flat-footed, the ball looked destined for the Rovers net until sub Joe Wright hacked clear from underneath his own crossbar.
With the game in the balance, sub Ryan Williams latched onto a weak Doncaster clearance to dig out a shot from the edge of the box but Marosi was well-stationed to snuff out the danger before sub Matty Blair fired a snap shot wide, at the other end – in a rare foray from the visitors.
With 12 minutes of stoppage time announced, the Millers deservedly got themselves back on level terms when Smith struck his third goal in Rotherham colours. With Coppinger making a slow walk off the AESSEAL New York Stadium surface following his substitution, Newell swung a tantalising free-kick into the Rovers box and Smith superbly guided his header into the corner of the net to send the AESSEAL New York Stadium into ecstasy.
Warne’s men pushed for the winner and Mattock floated an effort wide, Palmer volleyed over before Newell had an effort deflected inches wide by Wright, as the ball whistled just wide.
The Millers looked to have been beaten by the clock but sub Caolan Lavery made something out of nothing to skip down the touchline and despite being denied by Marosi, Smith looked to pounce on the loose ball before being felled by the Rovers ‘keeper and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
In a dramatic finale, Newell kept his nerve from 12 yards to wrongfoot Marosi and give the Millers a vital victory in their pursuit of League One promotion.
Full-time- Rotherham United 2 Doncaster Rovers 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Rodak, Emmanuel, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood (Palmer 90), Forde (Williams 79), Ball (Lavery 83), Towell, Newell, Smith. Unused- Price, Taylor, Yates, Williams, Cummings.
Doncaster- Marosi, Alcock, Mason, Marquis, Rowe, Whiteman, Anderson (Wright 56), Beestin (Blair 78), Kiwomya, Boyle, Coppinger (Houghton 90). Unused- Lawlor, Baudry, Kongolo, May.
Referee- G Eltringham
Attendance- 11725 (2624)