REPORT | Burton Albion 2 v 1 Rotherham
GOALS from Jackson Irvine and Matty Palmer either side of the interval saw Rotherham United return from the Pirelli Stadium empty-handed as Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion ran out victors.
The Millers started the game brightly in Staffordshire but Irvine put the home side ahead with a well-taken strike. Jon Taylor and Izzy Brown both had first-half chances to level matters before Palmer’s superb strike doubled Burton’s lead.
Tom Adeyemi’s first goal for the club, deep in stoppage time, proved in vain as Burton held on to claim victory.
Following the narrow home defeat at the hands of Leeds United last time out, caretaker manager Paul Warne took the Millers reins for the first time following the resignation of Kenny Jackett.
Warne was unable to call upon the services of ‘keeper Lee Camp, who was unavailable because of a knee injury sustained against the Whites so Lewis Price made his full league debut between the sticks.
Anthony Forde was given an opportunity to impress on the left-side of midfield with Taylor returning from injury on the other flank while Chelsea loanee Brown was asked to provide the ammunition behind in-form frontman Danny Ward.
There were a couple of familiar faces in the home ranks as one-time Millers striker Chris O’Grady was hoping to break his goalscoring duck against his former side while Lee Williamson was named on the Brewers bench.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks and they had the first sight of goal when Forde cut inside with menace to release Brown, who played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Taylor, who advanced into the box but his goalbound shot was deflected over the bar.
From the resultant corner from Forde, the ball was only half-cleared into the path of Vaulks, who hooked the ball back into the danger area but his cross was hacked clear by a well-stationed home defender.
The visitors continued to press and a long punt forward saw Danny Ward win a footrace with John Mousinho to flash a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal before Taylor picked up the loose ball to clip an inviting cross which saw Brown rise highest but under pressure, he could not direct his header goalwards.
The Millers were looking the most likely and Brown pounced on a loose ball before giving Taylor another glimpse of goal but as the ex-Peterborough winger advanced with menace into the box, Ben Turner got in a timely tackle to deflect his low effort wide of the target.
Moments later, O’Grady plucked a ball out of the sky to drill a low effort which stung the palms of Price before Jon McLaughlin spilled Taylor’s cross, in the next phase of play, but the home ‘keeper gathered at the second attempt.
However, the Brewers broke the deadlock on the quarter hour when the Millers failed to deal with a long ball forward and although O’Grady’s run into the box was halted when his shot was blocked, the ball fell invitingly into the path of Irvine, who kept his composure to slide a ball past the outstretched hand of Price to find the bottom corner of the net.
The home side were lifted by the breakthrough and Jamie Ward blasted an effort over the bar before Turner got on the end of Palmer’s inswinging free-kick but he failed to trouble the visitors’ goal as he nodded wide of the target.
Moments later, Palmer’s clever ball over the top paved the way for O’Grady to volley goalwards but Price tipped his effort over, although any goal may have been chalked off for offside before Forde again worked a crossing position to deliver a tantalising centre which looked inch-perfect for Brown, but once again, he failed to trouble McLaughlin with his header.
In the Millers’ next attack, Brown was felled by Mousinho but Forde failed to make the home side pay from the resultant free-kick when he fired over before Jamie Ward blazed an effort harmlessly wide of the target at the other end.
With half-time approaching, Palmer delivered another inviting free-kick which saw Irvine emerge from the ruck of bodies to head goalwards but his effort was deflected wide.
Half-time- Burton Albion 1 Rotherham United 0
With the words of Warne ringing in their ears, the Millers started the second half on the front foot and Joe Mattock’s drilled ball forward gave Taylor, a glimpse of goal, but he failed to trouble McLaughlin with a sliced effort.
At the other end, the Millers were indebted to Darnell Fisher for a double block on Irvine, who twice looked to strike goalwards from the edge of the box before the Australian missed a gilt-edged chance to double the Brewers advantage when O’Grady outmuscled Dominic Ball to win possession before sliding the ball across the face of the visitors box but Irvine fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy as he skied his effort over the Millers bar.
O’Grady was proving a thorn in the Millers side and he again tested Price with a snap shot before Tom Naylor became the first to see yellow as he tripped Brown in full flow.
Moments later, Mattock’s ambitious volley from distance was straight down the throat of McLaughlin before Burton took a stranglehold on the game by doubling their lead just past the hour mark.
A home corner caused mayhem in the Millers box as Ball headed towards his own goal and in the ensuing phase of play, the ball fell kindly to Palmer on the edge of the box, who firstly put the ball under his spell before firing a thunderous volley from 20 yards out which gave Price no chance as it arrowed into the top corner of the goal.
Rotherham’s frustration boiled over when Vaulks became the latest to be cautioned for hauling over O’Grady before Adeyemi was at the forefront of a lightning counter-attack by the Millers but he skied his shot over the bar from the edge of the box.
However, Adeyemi got himself on the scoresheet near the end, deep in stoppage time, when Brown’s cross found the Cardiff loanee unmarked at the far post and he kept his nerve to steer the ball home from close range.
However, with just seconds remaining, the home side successfully ran down the clock to claim the three points.
Full-time:- Burton Albion 2 Rotherham United 1
Burton Albion 2
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Burton- McLaughlin, Brayford, Mousinho, Turner, O’Grady (Flanagan 86), Akins, Dyer, J Ward (Miller 79), Naylor (Choudhury 75), Palmer, Irvine. Unused- Bywater, Williamson, McCrory, Harness.
Rotherham- Price, Mattock, Vaulks, Wood, Forde (Newell 67), D Ward, Taylor (Yates 67), Ball, Fisher, Adeyemi, Brown. Unused- Bilboe, Kelly, Fry, Blackstock, Belaid.
Referee- C Kavanagh