MK Dons 0 v 4 Rotherham - Report
ROTHERHAM UNITED produced a text book away performance to put fellow relegation rivals Milton Keynes Dons to the sword to earn their sixth win in eight games.
The Millers took charge of the affair early on when Matt Derbyshire pounced from close range within the first minute before Leon Best struck from the spot after Richard Wood was fouled by Cody Cropper.
Kirk Broadfoot added a third early in the second half before Richie Smallwood put the gloss on a top drawer performance from the Millers with a fantastic fourth.
Following their hard-fought draw at Bristol City in midweek, Millers chief Neil Warnock named an unchanged line-up for the visit to stadiummk.
Former Wembley hero Alex Revell lined up for the home side against his former club while a large travelling contingent, of around three thousand, made the trip from South Yorkshire.
The Millers were quick of the blocks and they stunned the home faithful by making the breakthrough within 54 seconds.
A home corner was smartly gathered by Lee Camp, who punted the ball upfield, into the path of Grant Ward, who outpaced his marker on the right flank before sliding a ball across the face of goal and Derbyshire’s deft flick was blocked by Cropper but the ex-Blackburn striker was the quickest to react to the rebound and he fired into the roof of the home net.
The home side responded positively to the early setback and Revell’s volley stung the palms of Camp before Josh Murphy raced down the left flank before floating an inviting cross which saw the unmarked Dean Bowditch head narrowly wide of the target.
However, it was Rotherham, who took the game by the scruff of the neck as they doubled their advantage just past the quarter hour.
Greg Halford took a short throw to Richie Smallwood, who exchanged passes, before the ex-Middlesbrough midfielder drilled a cross which saw Broadfoot knock the ball down into the path of Wood, who won a footrace with Cropper, who brought him down and referee Iain Richardson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
From the resultant penalty, Best kept his nerve to wrongfoot Cropper and slide the ball into the opposite corner of the net.
Moments later, the Millers faithful were almost on their feet once again when fine flowing passing had the Dons on the backfoot which paved the way for Joe Mattock to curl a delightful centre which saw Best cleverly steer a downward header past the outstretched hand of Cropper, into the heart of the home goal, but any joy was soon curtailed by the offside flag.
Just before the half hour mark, Derbyshire showed tenacity to rob Jake Forster-Caskey of possession before driving hard to the edge of the box to fire a rasping effort which forced Cropper into a smart save and Best scuffed the ball back into the danger area before the ball was scrambled to safety by the home side.
At the other end, Dean Bowditch’s dangerous cross took a wicked deflection of Mattock forcing Camp to palm the ball over his own crossbar before Murphy got the better of Stephen Kelly to work a shooting position but he fluffed his lines when he ballooned his shot over the bar.
Just prior to half-time, Warnock was forced to reshuffle his pack as Frecklington had to be replaced by Joe Newell after breaking down following a home attack before Murphy skipped past Kelly with a minimum of fuss before sliding a ball to the near post but Revell’s flick failed to trouble the Millers goal.
In the last play of the half, Grant Ward stripped home skipper Dean Lewington of possession before his forceful run ended with a low drive which was smothered at his near post.
Half-time- Milton Keynes Dons 0 Rotherham United 2
The home side made a positive start to the second half and Halford was forced to make a last-gasp header from Murphy’s dangerous cross before Lewington scooped an effort over in the next phase of play.
However, Rotherham effectively sealed the deal on 54 minutes when Grant Ward was bundled over by Lewington in an inviting position.
From the resultant free-kick, Newell swung a delightful centre which was inch-perfect for the run of Broadfoot, who cleverly steered a powerful header past the attentions of Cropper as it smashed into the home goal.
The Scottish international led the celebrations infront of the joyous Millers faithful but was booked as they made their way back to the centre circle before Smallwood soon joined him in the book for dragging back Murphy minutes later.
The Millers were going for the kill and Grant Ward led a superb counter attack to release Derbyshire, who left the Dons rearguard in his wake as he raced clear, but his cross-cum-shot failed to trouble the home goal and narrowly evaded the attentions of sub Danny Ward at the far post.
Just before the hour mark, Grant Ward’s pass paved the way for Kelly to weigh up his options before delivering a delicious cross which found the head of Smallwood, who looked a certain scorer, but he headed wide despite having the goal at his mercy before Mattock advanced with menace down the left flank to drill a low centre which saw Danny Ward nip infront of his marker at the near post but his effort shaved the home upright.
The Millers had a scare when Murphy’s incisive run had the visitors backtracking nervously before Jonny Williams fired a rasping effort which had Camp nervously flying across goal as it fizzed past the post.
Minutes later, the Millers had Camp to thank for preserving their lead when Forster-Caskey struck a free-kick which brought the best of the Rotherham ‘keeper but he was powerless moments later when Forster-Caskey fired a rocket from 40 yards which smashed against the crossbar before being diverted to safety.
Danny Ward became the next to see yellow for not retreating ten yards following a free-kick award before Rotherham added a superb fourth when the Dons failed to clear decisively and Smallwood produced a spectacular effort from distance which had Cropper grasping at thin air as it dipped into the home goal, to spark wild celebrations from the visitors faithful.
The Dons frustration was summed up when Revell headed over from close range following good work by sub Samir Carruthers near the touchline before Danny Ward’s low effort was straight down the throat of Cropper.
Minutes later, Joe Walsh was booked for hacking down Ward before Revell’s header was smartly gathered by Camp on his own line in the last action of the game.
The final whistle brought huge acclaim from the vocal travelling contingent over the efforts of their side, who extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
Full-time:- Milton Keynes Dons 0 Rotherham United 4
Milton Keynes Dons 0
Rotherham United 4
Teams:- Milton Keynes Dons- Cropper, Lewington, Kay (Maynard 77), Potter, Bowditch (Baker 67), Walsh, Revell, Baldock, Williams (Carruthers 67), Murphy, Forster-Caskey. Unused- Burns, Spence, Powell, Long.
Rotherham- Camp, Mattock, Broadfoot, Wood, Frecklington (Newell 41), Kelly, Halford, G Ward, Derbyshire (Thomas 78), Smallwood, Best (D Ward 56). Unused- Kenny, Richardson, Clarke-Harris, Facey.
Referee- I Williamson
Attendance- 13,048 (2934)