Millers preserve Checkatrade hopes.
ROTHERHAM United preserved their slender hopes of progressing in the Checkatrade Trophy following a handsome 3-0 victory over Bradford City.
First half goals from Jerry Yates, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Richie Towell steered the Millers to a comfortable win in West Yorkshire but Paul Warne’s men will have wait until November 29 when Chesterfield lock horns with Manchester City to see if they have done enough to advance to the next stage
Following their FA Cup exit at the hands of Crewe Alexandra, Millers chief Warne made sweeping changes to his starting line-up for the trip, by fielding a mixture of first-team players and academy youngsters.
Akeem Hinds was handed his second full start for the Millers following his eye-catching debut against Chesterfield while Ben Wiles was given his senior debut in the Millers engine room alongside the likes of Towell, Anthony Forde and Jon Taylor.
Following a slow start by both teams, the Millers had the first chance of note when Forde swung a tantalising free-kick into the box, which narrowly evaded visiting runners, including Joe Mattock, as it fizzed across the Bradford goalmouth.
Moments later, Wiles showed great tenacity to win possession before presenting Clarke-Harris with the opportunity to work a yard on his marker to bare down on goal but home ‘keeper Rouven Sattelmaier raced on his line to narrow the angle and smother his low drive.
In the next Millers attack, Clarke-Harris volleyed a deflected effort into the sparse home faithful behind the goal before Rotherham failed to deal with a long punt forward which was flicked on by Timothee Dieng into the path of Dominic Poleon but Lewis Price showed fleet of foot to snuff out the danger, in the nick of time.
At the other end, Taylor jinked from the touchline to deliver an inviting centre which glanced off the head of Jerry Yates, as it flew harmlessly wide of the target but Yates made no mistake, just minutes later, as he broke the deadlock for the Millers.
Clarke-Harris planted the ball into the box and with the Bradford rearguard unable to clear the danger, Towell attempted to get his shot away to no avail but the ball fell invitingly into the path of Yates, who got the ball from under his feet before showing great composure to stroke the ball into the corner of the net giving Sattelmaier no chance.
Yates was in the thick of the action and he latched onto a loose ball in the box to strike goalwards but Alex Laird put his body on the line to block his fierce effort before Jordan Gibson showed clever footwork, at the other end, to waltz into the box, at the expense of Wiles, before firing towards goal but Price pulled off an excellent save at his near post to preserve the Millers lead.
The save proved crucial on the half hour mark when Rotherham doubled their lead when Taylor’s free-kick into the box was halted on the edge of the box but with Clarke-Harris ready to pull the trigger, the Millers frontman tumbled under the challenge of Daniel Devine and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Clarke-Harris exacted his own form of retribution from the resultant penalty when he calmly stroked into the corner of the net from 12 yards as Sattelmaier guessed the right way but he was unable to keep the ball out.
Bradford rallied strongly when Daniel Pybus’ cross was deflected behind by a retreating Hinds before the Millers rearguard were at sixes at sevens from the resulting corner as Clarke-Harris in avertedly scuffed an attempted clearance into the grateful hands of Price on his own goal line.
Towell became the first to see yellow for a foul on halfway but he went from villain to hero when Rotherham added a third on the stroke of half time.
Forde dug out a cross from the right and although Yates was unable to get his shot away, Towell was on-hand to drill a superb low effort from the edge of the box into the bottom corner of the net, giving Sattelmaier no chance.
Half-time- BradfordCity 0 Rotherham United 3
The Millers started the second 45 as they finished the first as Taylor showed the Bradford defence a clean pair of heels to race into the box before curling a low effort which shaved the home upright.
Minutes later, Emmanuel made something out of nothing to charge into the box but he was crowded out by a retreating home defender before Forde delivered an inviting centre which was met by Emmanuel Onariase, who planted a downward header which was smartly gathered by Sattelmaier, although any goal would have been ruled out for offside.
At the other end, Shay McCarten tried his luck from distance but he failed to trouble Price in the visitors goal before sub Joshua Kayode almost made an immediate impression from the bench when he cut inside Dieng with consummate ease to strike a dipping effort from distance which had Sattelmaier backtracking nervously before he plucked the ball out of the sky.
Minutes later, Mattock’s bullet header put Yates in the clear and the Millers striker floated a delicate cross which was caught on the volley by Towell, but a home defender blocked his effort en-route to goal before Wiles’ peashooter was diverted to safety by Adam Thompson.
The hosts came close to a consolation score late on when Gibson evaded a couple of challenges to work a shooting position whereby he fired a low effort which had Price scrambling across goal, as it shaved the visitors upright.
Full-time- BradfordCity 0 Rotherham United 3
Rotherham United 3
Teams:- Bradford- Sattelmaier, Thompson, Dieng (Maltby 82), Poleon (Staunton 74), McCartan, Pybus, Devine, Gibson, Laird, Patrick (Hudson 64), Robinson. Unused- Raeder, Hefele, Maltby, Powell, Kirkpatrick.
Rotherham- Price, Emmanuel, Mattock, Forde (McGinley 81), Taylor (Bray 62), Towell, Clarke-Harris (Kayode 74), Yates, Onariase, Wiles, Hinds. Unused- O’Donnell, Ajayi, Warren, Francis.
Referee- R Lewis
Attendance- 931 (48)