The Millers are defeated...Matt McClure’s second-half brace saw Wycombe Wanderers overturn a half-time deficit to condemn injury-ravaged Rotherham United to their third home defeat of the season.
A lightning strike from Daniel Nardiello put the Millers in early control and although Dave Winfield levelled matters, Mark Bradley gave the home side a half-time cushion.
However, McClure’s double salvo after the interval turned the game on it’s head as the visitors grabbed a much-needed victory in their battle against the drop.
Following their handsome 4-2 victory over Cheltenham Town at the weekend, Steve Evans kept faith with his starting line-up with his only change being an enforced one as Swindon loanee Luke Rooney was given his home debut at the expense of Craig Morgan, who was ruled out by injury.
Jason Taylor continued in his role as a makeshift centre-half, partnering Ian Sharps at the heart of the Rotherham rearguard while former Millers loanee Sam Wood was amongst the visitors’ substitutes.
The Millers made the perfect start when they broke the deadlock after just sixteen seconds.
Following incisive passing from the kick off, the ball found Ben Pringle, who cut inside to deliver a tantalising cross which bisected the Wycombe rearguard paving the way for Nardiello, to stab goalwards at the back post but despite Jordan Archer keeping out his initial effort, his second stab from point-blank range gave the visitors’ keeper no chance.
The home side were galvanised by the breakthrough and moments later, Pringle marauded from the heart of midfield before blazing over after rejecting the overtures of Courtney Cameron on his left-hand side.
Minutes later, Pringle’s inswinging corner had the Wycombe defence at sixes and sevens and Alex Revell planted the ball into the danger area where Bradley, toe-poked the ball goalwards but the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the target.
The Millers were looking the most likely and Bradley released Nardiello, who delivered a delicious cross which Winfield was forced to turn behind with Revell waiting to pounce.
In Wycombe’s first attack of note, McClure controlled smartly before firing a snap shot from distance which dipped into the grateful arms of Andy Warrington.
The visitors missed a glorious opportunity to equalise when Rooney was robbed on halfway by Stuart Lewis and after exchanging passes with McClure, he looked a certain scorer but he screwed his shot over when he really should have done better.
Wanderers were visibly finding their feet and Dean Morgan fired a cross-cum-shot which had home hearts’ fluttering before the visitors’ deservedly equalised on 29 minutes.
Following the concession of a free-kick near the byline, Josh Scowen floated a delightful centre which was met by the head of Winfield, who steered his header past the outstretched hand of Warrington.
The home side responded strongly and Cameron released Nardiello, who jinked past Lewis before firing a shot which was bravely blocked by Winfield.
However, the visitors’ respite was only temporary as the Millers’ regained the lead from the resultant corner.
Pringle floated his centre to the far stick, deceiving the Wycombe defence who expected a delivery into the danger area, and the ball was met sweetly by the on-rushing Bradley, whose exocet-like volley from the edge of the box flew into the net despite the attentions of a defender stationed on the line.
With half-time approaching, Morgan stung the palms of Warrington with a curling free-kick before Nardiello headed over as he towered highest from a Revell centre.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 2 Wycombe Wanderers 1
The visitors made a lightning start to the second stanza and they found themselves on level terms for a second time just five minutes after the break.
Following a hopeful punt forward, the home rearguard held a high line leaving Taylor looking after the lively McClure and the visiting forward showed quick feet to cut inside Taylor with a minimum of fuss before striking a sweet left-footed strike which flew past the despairing dive of Warrington.
The Millers' disastrous start to the second-half took another turn for the worse five minutes later when McClure notched his second of the evening to put Wanderers ahead.
An innocuous ball forward saw the Millers’ step up for offside but to their astonishment, McClure beat the offside trap and with only Warrington to beat, he calmly lofted the ball over the advancing ‘keeper and despite Taylor racing back towards his own line, the ball rolled tantalisingly over the home line.
With just over 20 minutes to go, Charles Dunne was shown the yellow-card for hauling down sub Gareth Evans in full flow but from the resultant free-kick, Taylor narrowly failed to meet Pringle’s inswinging centre.
Danny Foster was the second visiting player to find the referee’s notebook following a foul on Josh Morris, who was forced to leave the field on a stretcher, leaving the Millers down to ten after all substitutes had been used.
With the Millers facing an uphill battle, Morgan almost put the game beyond the home side when he waltzed inside before drilling an effort which grazed the upright before Dunne rose highest from Scowen’s corner in the next phase of play but his looping header smacked against the upright before being diverted to safety.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 2 Wycombe Wanderers 3
Rotherham:- Warrington, Bradley, Sharps, Taylor, Morris, Rooney (Hunt 63), Pringle, Frecklington (Evans 46), Cameron, Revell (Odejayi 56), Nardiello. Unused:- Thompson, Wilson, Rose, Walker.
Wycombe:- Archer, Foster (Kewley-Graham 81), Winfield, Johnson, Lewis, Andrade (Ainsworth 86), Grant (Wood 64), Dunne, Morgan, Scowen, McClure. Unused:- Harrison, Oli, Morais, Hause.
Attendance:- 5688 (138)