Millers bow out of Carabao Cup........
Rotherham United exited the Carabao Cup at the first round stage after Colby Bishop’s late strike for Accrington Stanley settled the Roses clash in the visitors’ favour.
The AESSEAL New York Stadium affair looked to be heading into the lottery of penalty kicks after Kieran Sadlier’s superbly struck free-kick cancelled out Dion Charles’ first-half opener, but Bishop pounced with four minutes to go to put Stanley into the hat for the next round.
Following the comfortable victory over Plymouth Argyle in their season curtain-raiser, Millers boss Paul Warne rang the changes for the visit of the Lancastrians.
The home faithful were treated as summer recruits Shane Ferguson, Ollie Rathbone, Hakeem Odoffin and Rarmani Edmonds-Green made their first competitive starts in Millers colours.
Left-back Joe Mattock was able to take his place in the left-back slot following injury while Michael Ihiekwe took over the skipper’s armband.
Youngster Josh Kayode was given a chance to impress, in one of the forward berths, alongside weekend goalscorer Freddie Ladapo.
Naturally, Rotherham took a bit of time to settle into the affair, given the number of changes, but Edmonds-Green showed what he can do with a marauding run from defence which was brought to a halt before Kayode, also in his first Millers start, launched a bullet throw into the box but Toby Savin plucked the ball out of the sky.
Edmonds-Green then showed his defensive instincts to prevent Cameron Burgess from heading home, in Stanley’s first foray, with a timely clearance, from near his own line.
The game sprang to life when Ihiekwe had a shot blocked on the edge of the box while Sadlier, in a rare start, had Savin at full stretch with a low drive.
Almost immediately, Rotherham made a hash of clearing the danger and Joe Pritchard latched onto a loose pass before bearing down on goal, but the Stanley winger squandered the opportunity when he dragged his shot wide.
Stanley were having the better of the early exchanges and Ihiekwe had to be on his toes to prevent Colby Bishop from firing goalwards, on the spin, before David Morgan tried his luck from distance but Viktor Johansson was not troubled in the home goal.
Rathbone showed fleet of foot to work a shooting position, but he was denied by a retreating Stanley defender before the Lancastrians broke the deadlock, seven minutes before the break.
Rotherham failed to deal with a long punt upfield from Savin and Charles got the ball under his spell, to ghost into the box, before cleverly swapping feet, and he evaded the attentions of Mattock to drill a left-footed effort which Johansson appeared to get a hand to, but could not keep out.
Warne’s side lacked cohesion for much of the half but they had a few half chances, close to the break, when firstly Sadlier stung the palms of Savin with a stinging drive which the Stanley ‘keeper saved at the second attempt before Ferguson clipped a cross which whistled past the former Doncaster midfielder, just seconds later.
Half-time: Rotherham United 0 Accrington Stanley 1
Republic of Ireland international Chiedozie Ogbene was introduced at the interval, in an attempt to spark the Millers to life, and it seemed to do the trick as Ferguson dug out a cross which Stanley failed to clear, and Ladapo swung an effort goalwards, but Savin was well-stationed to snuff out the danger.
Minutes later, Johansson stood up tall to punch Pritchard’s whipped free-kick to safety before the same player fluffed his lines with a wayward finish from a promising position following good work by Charles, in the build-up.
Just before the hour mark, Ogbene showed his trademark speed to dart down the right flank but his centre evaded both Kayode and Ladapo before Ferguson was crowded out at the far post.
Ogbene was proving a thorn in Stanley’s side and Pritchard saw yellow for pulling back the flying winger in full flow before Harvey Rodgers soon joined him in the book for an over-zealous tackle on Kayode.
The Millers were upping the tempo and Rathbone, who looked industrious with good use of both feet, on his full debut, made something out of nothing to try his luck with a low drive, but his effort was blocked en-route to goal.
Michael Smith and Ben Wiles were thrown into the mix and the Rawmarsh-born player made an immediate impression with a clever run and cross which paved the way for Kayode, to head over, at the near post.
With a quarter of an hour to go, Pritchard squandered a chance to kill off the tie with a tame finish, in a rare Stanley counter, and the moment proved crucial when Rotherham levelled matters, with fourteen minutes to go.
There looked little danger when Accrington conceded a free-kick, about 25 yards out, in a central position, but Sadlier made them pay when he struck a superb free-kick which flew over the visitors wall and beat the desperate dive of Savin to find the far corner of the goal.
The tie was now in the balance and Edmonds-Green was cautioned for a foul on Charles before Rotherham came within a whisker of the winner, in normal time, when Kayode looked set to head home from Ogbene’s floated cross, but he could not direct his effort goalwards, and the chance was lost.
The game looked to be going the distance but Stanley scored the all-important second goal with just minutes remaining when Pritchard fired a rasping drive which Johansson could only parry sky-wards, and with the Swedish ‘keeper, in no position to intervene, Bishop was on-hand to nod home into the unguarded goal.
Full-time: Rotherham United 1 Accrington Stanley 2
Rotherham United 1
Accrington Stanley 2
Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Mattock, Barlaser (Ogbene 46), Sadlier, Ladapo (Smith 60), Ferguson, Rathbone, Kayode, Ihiekwe, Odoffin (Wiles 68), Edmonds-Green. Unused- Chapman, Harding, Miller, Lindsay.
Accrington- Savin, Rodgers, Burgess, Sykes, Butcher, Pell (McConville 78), Bishop, Pritchard, Nottingham, Charles, Morgan. Unused- Trafford, Mumbongo, Procter, Leigh, Perritt, Nolan.
Referee- W Finnie
Attendance- 3131 (137)