Millers win again at New York Stadium...
ALEX REVELL was the hero as Rotherham United maintained their 100 per cent home league record at the expense of Torquay United.
The ex-Leyton Orient forward celebrated his recall to the starting line-up as his first-half strike proved the difference between the sides and saw Steve Evans’ men make it three out of three at the New York Stadium.
Following their humiliating defeat at the hands of Port Vale last week, the Millers reshuffled the pack with Craig Morgan making his first competitive start as Johnny Mullins dropped to the bench.
Dale Tonge put his injury nightmare behind him as he returned to home colours with Laurence Wilson out while Jason Taylor and Revell were promoted into the starting line-up at the expense of David Noble and Daniel Nardiello.
The home side had the first sight of goal when Kayode Odejayi’s lay-off saw Gareth Evans strike a deflected effort which was comfortably gathered by Michael Poke.
At the other end, Kevin Nicholson’s punt forward found Billy Bodin, who jinked his way into the box before drilling a cross which Ian Sharps was forced to divert behind.
The home side were struggling to find their rhythm but following a quick counter-attack, Revell was tripped by Aaron Downes as he skipped down the left-wing resulting in a yellow-card for the ex-Chesterfield centre-half.
On the quarter-hour, Rene Howe breezed past Nicky Hunt but his cross-cum-shot was blocked before Danny Stevens failed to trouble Scott Shearer with a tame effort in the next phase of play.
Minutes later, after Torquay failed to clear decisively, Ben Pringle weighed up his options before curling an effort which Poke gathered smartly before Rotherham came within a whisker of the breakthrough on 25 minutes.
Following a long-ball forward, Odejayi teased and tormented Brian Saah before striking a low effort which beat the outstretched hand of Poke but struck the upright to the home sides’ anguish.
On the half-hour, Michael O’Connor’s floated free kick saw Revell climb highest but his header lacked power before Evans cut inside from the by-line moments later but his skimming effort fizzed past the upright harmlessly.
However, Rotherham were rewarded for their pressure by breaking the deadlock 10 minutes before the interval.
A hopeful ball into the box looked innocuous but Revell pressurised both Nicholson and Saah and with neither able to clear, the ball was nudged goalwards and with Poke only able to divert the ball back into the path of Revell, he made no mistake to stroke the ball into the empty net.
Minutes later, Pringle was shown the yellow-card for needlessly kicking the ball away before Nathan Craig tried his luck from distance but Shearer was able to watch the ball fly harmlessly wide of the target.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 1 Torquay United 0
Following the interval, the Millers were quick out of the blocks and they wasted two glorious opportunities to double their advantage in a matter of minutes.
Firstly, following good work by Sharps and Revell, Poke collided with one of his own defenders as he looked to collect and the ball rolled invitingly into the path of Odejayi, but he blazed over with the goal at the mercy.
Minutes later, O’Connor’s superbly flighted corner found the head of Sharps, who ghosted away from his marker, but his glancing point-blank header fizzed past the post when he really should have done better.
The home side were looking the most likely and O’Connor stung the palms of Poke with a snap shot from outside the box before Evans’ skimming effort rolled harmlessly wide of the target minutes later.
A quick counter-attack involving Pringle and Revell saw Evans’ float a delightful centre which caused indecision in the visitors’ rearguard before Downes had to be on-hand to prevent Sharps getting on the end of a tantalising corner from O’Connor in the next phase of play.
Just past the hour mark, Hunt cut inside from the by-line before drilling a low drive which Poke smartly smothered with his body before Taylor fought hard to win possession before delivering an early centre which saw Revell arch a header which Poke gathered with a minimum of fuss.
The Millers were dominating the proceedings but they were consistently failing to deliver the knockout blow.
Following a ball forward, Odejayi got the better of Downes to race menacingly towards goal but after rounding Poke, the ball got caught in his feet and his scuffed effort was cleared off the line by the retreating Downes.
Minutes later, Pringle arrowed a shot which agonisingly skimmed past the far post before Taylor and Pringle released Revell, but he dragged his shot across the face of goal.
The Millers were almost made to pay for their wastefulness in-front of goal when sub Niall Thompson raced clear before firing a cross which fell invitingly for the on-rushing run of Bodin, but as he looked to strike the ball bobbled and the ball ballooned over the bar.
With time running out, Nardiello almost made an immediate impact with his introduction from the bench when despite looking like he was heading into a cul-de-sac, he shrugged off the attentions of Nicholson to scuff an effort which agonisingly struck the foot of the post before being diverted to safety.
Despite some nervy moments in injury-time, the Millers held on to record their third successive home league victory.
Rotherham: Shearer, Hunt, Morgan, Sharps, Tonge, Evans (Agard 90), Taylor, O’Connor, Pringle, Odejayi, Revell (Naridello 83) Unused:- Warrington, Mullins, Ainsworth, Rose, Denton.
Torquay: Poke, Oastler, Nicholson, Downes, Saah, Mansell, Howe, Morris, Boden, Stevens (Jarvis 70), Craig (Thompson 59). Unused:- Rice, Leadbitter, Easton, Cruise, Mackenzie.
Referee: J Simpson
Attendance: 7405 (251)
Man of the Match: Ben Pringle