Millers notch handsome win.....
Rotherham United maintained their fine run of form at their AESSEAL New York Stadium home in the Sky Bet Championship with Blackpool becoming the latest side to leave South Yorkshire empty-handed.
Chiedozie Ogbene’s fifth goal of the season in all competitions put the Millers ahead at the interval and second-half strikes from Wes Harding and sub Georgie Kelly put the game well and truly beyond the Lancastrians.
The Millers returned to Sky Bet Championship action with the hosting of the Tangerines following the cancellation of their weekend fixture with local rivals Sheffield United.
Warne was able to call upon the services of defensive duo Grant Hall and Cameron Humphreys, who have both had a spell on the side lines, with the former taking his place as part of the defensive three and the latter being named on the bench.
There was no squad involvement for Lee Peltier, Tom Eaves and Shane Ferguson.
There was an AESSEAL New York Stadium return for former Academy youngster Jerry Yates, who lined up in the Blackpool attack.
A minute’s silence which was held in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, prior to kick off, was impeccably observed by both sets of supporters.
The visitors settled into the game the quicker and Callum Connolly came close on two occasions when firstly Ian Poveda embarked on a mazy run which penned back the Rotherham defence and Connolly’s volley was deflected behind before the same player glanced narrowly wide of the target, just seconds later, following a left-flank cross into the box.
Yates almost came back to haunt his ex-club with a low drive, from just outside the box, which was smartly smothered by home ‘keeper Viktor Johansson.
Despite the bright start from Blackpool, the Millers almost broke the deadlock in their first foray of note when Dan Barlaser delivered a delicious centre at the second attempt and Hall, who had ghosted around the back of the visitors’ rearguard, met his centre with a prodded effort, which flew just wide of the goal.
There was a moment of anxiety for the hosts, on the quarter hour, when the ball ricocheted kindly for Yates, who had got on the wrong side of Wood, and looked set to slot home, but the Millers skipper, against all the odds, managed to prevent him shooting goalwards with a last-ditch intervention.
Following the breakdown of a Blackpool corner, Rotherham turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye with Chiedozie Ogbene leading the cavalry charge and the Republic of Ireland star jet-heeled away from would-be pursuers but the momentum was lost with an errant pass to strike partner Conor Washington.
Moments later, Ollie Rathbone had a shot blocked en-route to goal before Brooke Norton-Cuffy tried his luck from a tight angle but Daniel Grimshaw correctly guessed his intentions with a near-post save.
Rotherham continued to press and Ben Wiles blasted wastefully over from a promising position but Blackpool failed to heed the warning as Warne’s side took the lead in their next attack.
Barlaser, a rumoured summer target of the visitors, caressed a lovely ball into the box and goalscorer supreme Wood, who was in an advanced position, turned provider this time with a cushioned header into the path of Ogbene, who kept his nerve to nod the ball over Grimshaw into the unguarded net.
The visitors were temporarily rattled by the setback and a wayward back pass from Dominic Thompson was almost capitalised upon by Washington but Grimshaw spared the blushes of his team mate with a hurried clearance.
The Lancastrians came within a coat of paint of a leveller, just shy of the break, when Rotherham failed to clear the danger and Kenny Dougall flashed a low effort narrowly wide of the target.
Half-time: Rotherham United 1 Blackpool 0
The Millers, attacking the KCM Waste Management Stand, started the second 45 in a positive vein and Wood was the launch pad for a move which saw Ogbene thread a ball into the path of Wiles, but the Rawmarsh-born youngster saw his cross diverted to safety by a retreating defender.
At the other end, Wood had to show all his defensive instincts to divert Yates’ cross to safety before leading from the front to head away the resultant corner.
The Millers were looking for a much-needed second goal and it almost came when Rathbone made something out of nothing to plant a dangerous centre which narrowly evaded the attentions of Washington.
Just past the hour mark, Warne made his first change when Tolaji Bola was introduced, at the expense of Bramall, for his first involvement this season.
Norton-Cuffy, a constant danger, was the instigator of a run from deep which was halted on the edge of the box but Rotherham continued to threaten, and a right-wing cross fell invitingly for Wiles, who struck a sweet effort – with his weaker left-foot – but agonisingly for the hosts, his shot smashed against the inside of the post, before rolling tantalisingly to safety.
In the aftermath of the move, Rathbone deservedly became the first to see yellow for a rash challenge on Corbeanu near the touchline.
The Millers gave themselves a cushion with eight minutes to go with a second goal when Barlaser put in a cross which was nodded into the path of Harding, at the far post, who made no mistake to plant his header home from close range.
The Millers were going for the jugular and Wiles thought he had made it three when he met Bola’s cross to head home, but the goal was ruled out before the home fans were off their seats again with five minutes to go.
Blackpool will be having nightmares about Ogbene, who ran them ragged at times, and another devastating run from the Millers flyer ended with a stinging drive which Grimshaw did well to keep out, but Kelly was the quickest to react to the rebound, and he kept his composure to slide a low effort into the far corner of the net.
The final whistle brought acclaim from three corners of the AESSEAL New York Stadium with the Millers fans seeing their side record three victories from their five home outings this term.
Full-time: Rotherham United 3 Blackpool 0
Rotherham United 3
Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Harding, Bramall (Bola 63), Barlaser, Wood, Wiles, Norton-Cuffy (Humphreys 81), Ogbene, Washington (Kelly 76), Rathbone (High 81), Hall. Unused- Vickers, McCart, High, Lindsay.
Blackpool- Grimshaw, Connolly (Patino 66), Gabriel, Yates, Dougall (Wright 84), Williams (Carey 84), Ekpiteta, Thompson, Corbeanu, Poveda (Lavery 57), Thorniley. Unused- Maxwell, Husband, Hamilton.
Referee- M Salisbury
Attendance- 9105 (698)