Millers lose despite first-half lead.......
Rotherham United looked to be on the verge of a rare Sky Bet Championship victory until play-off chasing Hull City turned the AESSEAL New York Stadium clash on its head with two goals in four second-half minutes.
Christ Tiehi’s second goal in Rotherham colours gave Leam Richardson’s side an interval lead but the Tigers finally broke Millers resistance, and most notably that of Viktor Johansson, who was in superb form between the sticks, when they struck twice with sub Noah Ohio notching the decisive winner.
Richardson made four changes to his starting line-up following the weekend reversal at the hands of Leeds United.
Cameron Humphreys made a welcome return to the starting line-up following his long standing hamstring injury while Ollie Rathbone – who took on the skipper’s armband - was recalled to the home engine room.
There was a new look to the Millers frontline with Charlie Wyke making his debut in Rotherham colours following his deadline day move with Sam Nombe named alongside him.
Cafu, Jordan Hugill, Jamie Lindsay and Sean Morrison – all starters at Elland Road – were among the home replacements.
The Millers fans’ raised the decibel level prior to kick-off and they were in full voice - as early as the fourth minute - when the home side opened the scoring with their first real attack of note.
There looked little danger for the Tigers until Seb Revan made something out of nothing to make light work of Jaden Philogene before planting a cross into the danger area which was only half-cleared by a retreating Hull defender and the ball looped invitingly into the path of the on-rushing Tiehi, who volleyed goalwards, and his effort from the edge of the box took a deflection off Jacob Greaves, and Ryan Allsop - who was wrong footed - was helpless as the ball found the heart of the visitors goal.
The Millers were visibly lifted by the breakthrough and Peter Kioso’s far-post header from Clucas’ centre forced Allsop into a smart near-post save before the Hull stopper was forced to parry Clucas’ corner to safety in the resultant play.
The home side continued to threaten and Nombe injected pace into a move before firing a low drive from distance which stung the palms of Allsop.
Nevertheless, Hull came close to the equaliser, soon after, but Johansson – not for the only time during the evening – proved a valuable last line of defence.
Regan Slater weighed up his options before delivering a pinpoint centre and Billy Sharp looked a likely scorer with a powerful point-blank header but the Swedish stopper was his equal with a superb, reflex save.
The home fans were off their seats again when Kioso burst into the Tigers box before seemingly having his heels clipped by Tyler Morton but the referee waved away home appeals for a spot kick.
The visitors had upped the tempo and Rotherham were once again indebted to Johansson, whose heroics drew gasps of appreciation from all four corners of the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The home side found themselves on the back foot when Anass Zaroury was felled by Tiehi and the Tigers almost punished them for their indiscretion when one-time Millers loanee Ryan Giles planted a lovely set-piece into the box and Greaves emerged from the masse of bodies in the box to head goalwards but Johansson produced a top drawer save, against all the odds, to scoop the ball away from goal.
The Millers – after drawing blanks against Southampton and Leeds – were looking more of a threat in the final third and Rathbone threaded a ball into the feet of Wyke, who turned smartly, before digging out a shot which forced Allsop into a smothered save.
The Millers lead was looking a slender one, though, and Zaroury caressed a corner which caught Rotherham napping and Greaves – almost unnoticed – headed goalwards at the far post but Johansson showed good reflexes to deny him, before Greaves pounced on the follow-up but headed wide.
Johansson was in no mood to be beaten and he was at his agile best to deny Zaroury at his near post before Philogene fired just wide, with the aid of a home deflection.
The home goal was living a charmed life, and Zaroury’s hanging cross paved the way for Philogene to execute a lovely, acrobatic overhead kick, which ironically, beat Johansson for once, but this time, Lee Peltier was on-hand to head clear from near his own goal line.
Half-time: Rotherham United 1 Hull City 0
Following the break, Hull had the first sight of goal when Zaroury inexplicably tried to catch Johansson out at his near post with a free-kick, but he failed to threaten the target.
Both sides traded chances when Zaroury turned provider with a clipped cross which saw Philogene head over before Nombe agonisingly failed to a telling connection from Kioso’s dangerous centre, at the other end.
Minutes later, Rathbone tried his luck from distance but Allsop parried the ball to safety.
On the hour mark, Humphreys was ideally placed to hack Philogene’s centre away from goal before Fabio Carvalho fired straight into the grateful arms of Johansson.
Nombe showed lovely skill to get the ball under his spell before firing a deep cross which evaded Rotherham runners.
There was a changing of the guard in the home backline with Peltier replaced by Morrison.
Centre-back partner Humphreys strode out confidently from defence to find Revan, who, in turn, presented Nombe with the chance to strike, but his effort curled away from the Tigers goal.
However, Hull managed to get themselves back on level terms in a whirlwind sixty seconds.
The visitors attacked with menace and Giles almost came back to haunt his former club when his fierce effort struck the underside of the crossbar before falling to safety.
However, Rotherham’s relief was only temporary as the home side failed to clear their lines and Philogene – with an audacious Rabona – clipped the ball back towards goal, and the ball skimmed off the head of a Millers player, before finding the far corner of the home net.
The game had a further twist when Hull scored the decisive winner in their next attack.
Giles managed to plant the ball into the danger area with his favoured left-foot and sub Ohio, who had escaped his marker, kept his nerve to steer the ball into the bottom corner with a first-time shot giving Johansson no chance.
The Millers – who saw victory slip from their fingers – had a half-chance to level matters in stoppage time when sub Arvin Appiah blazed over before man-of-the-match Johansson prevented Hull from rubbing salt into home wounds when he denied sub Greg Docherty with another fine save.
Full-time: Rotherham United 1 Hull City 2
Rotherham United 1
Hull City 2
Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Clucas, Wyke (Eaves 74), Rathbone (Cafu 81), Peltier (Morrison 67), Odoffin, Humphreys (Appiah 81), Tiehi (Rinomhota 74), Revan, Nombe, Kioso. Unused- Phillips, Hugill, Lindsay, Seriki.
Hull- Allsop, Coyle, Giles, Greaves, Jones, Sharp (Docherty 83), Morton, Philogene, Slater (Tufan 67), Carvalho (Jacob 83), Zaroury (Ohio 67). Unused- Pandur, McLoughlin, Traore, Connolly, Omur.
Referee- L Doughty
Attendance- 10668 (2166)