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Fixture News

Opening day fixtures of the past

22 June 2016

A look back over some opening day fixtures from down the years...

Rotherham United were today handed an opening day fixture against Wolves after the announcement of the Sky Bet Championship 2016/17 fixtures.

The start of a new campaign always sparks excitement amongst the football fraternity, as many fans wait in anticipation for game 1 of 46 before the campaign comes to an end again in May.

The Millers recent opening day fixtures have been mixed, with new boss Alan Stubbs looking to lead the Millers to their first victory on the opening day since Burton Albion in 2012.

Here we look back on five opening day encounters from recent seasons.

Rotherham United 3 v 0 Burton Albion

Date: Saturday 18th August 2012

Venue: AESSEAL New York Stadium

You would be quite right to point out this fixture was actually the second game of the season after the unusual start of the first Saturday being selected for the League Cup (Rotherham lost to Hull City on penalties).

However, this was the opening league game and also the first ever game at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

A memorable afternoon was capped by a victory at the new home for Steve Evans’ Millers, plus a clean sheet too. 

Goals from Daniel Nardiello, who had the honour of scoring the first ever competitive goal at NYS, Kayode Odejayi and Ben Pringle crowned a momentous day for the Millers.

Team: Shearer; Mullins (Bradley 46), Arnason, Sharps, Wilson; O’Connor (Ainsworth 64), Taylor, Noble, Pringle; Odejayi, Nardiello (Revell 84).

Rotherham United 1 v 0 Lincoln City

Date: Saturday 9th August 2008

Venue: Don Valley Stadium


This game was particularly memorable for being the first competitive fixture at Don Valley Stadium.

With many supporters coming to the Millers’ temporary venue for the first time, it was important that Mark Robins’ side got off to a winning start.

Lincoln City were the first team to visit the Millers and a goal from new signing and debutant Reuben Reid was enough to secure victory.

The Millers would go unbeaten in eight games in all competitions at DVS, before defeat to Barnet.

Team: Warrington; Lynch, Sharps, Joseph, Green; Hudson, Mills, Harrison, Rhodes (Cummins 57); Taylor, Reid (Holmes 89).

Millwall 0 v 6 Rotherham United

Date: Saturday 10th August 2002

Venue: The Den

This opening day fixture will live long in the memory for the fans who travelled to the capital where their expectations were exceeded in spectacular style.

Milwall finished the 2001/2 campaign in fourth position and were widely tipped for another assault on the Premier League.

But they were given a shock as Ronnie Moore’s Rotherham ran riot with an exhibition of ruthless finishing. In fact many observers will remember the home side making a confident start, and even at 2-0 down they were still creating chances.

The Millers showed the way in how to finish, with Darren Byfield bagging four and Martin McIntosh and Chris Sedgwick helping themselves to a goal each.

Team: Pollitt; Scott, Swailes, McIntosh, Hurst; Sedgwick, Talbot (Garner 75), Mullin, Warne; Lee (R. Barker 86), Byfield (Robins 86).

Rotherham United 2 v 3 Crystal Palace

Date: Saturday 11th August 2001

Venue: Millmoor

Whilst this was a defeat, the level of excitement around Millmoor was palpable as the club made their long awaited return to the second tier of English football.

The Millers made a flying start with Guy Branston having the honour of scoring the first goal back in what was then called the First Division. Three minutes later Mark Robins made it 2-0 as the Millers threatened to blow Palace away.

After half-time it was a different story. Dougie Freedman pulled one back from the spot. Then Aki Riihilahti levelled before Jamie Smith completed the turnaround with 13 minutes remaining. The crowd weren’t short on entertainment that’s for sure.

Team: Pollitt; Bryan, Branston, Swailes, Hurst; Sedgwick (Monkhouse 84), Watson (Daws 86), Talbot, Warne; Barker, Robins.

Rotherham United 2 v 1 Burnley

Date: Saturday 17th August 1991

Venue: Millmoor

The significance of this meeting would not have dawned on the 6,042 who were in the crowd at Millmoor, but this opening day showdown would be between the division’s top two come the end of the campaign.

Burnley, who were then managed by former Rotherham forward Frank Casper, were to eventually win the old Fourth Division under another former Miller in Jimmy Mullen, with the Millers finishing second.

A superb run at the end of the campaign would secure promotion for Phil Henson’s Millers, and they also made a bright start with this notable opening day win.

Goals from Tony Cunningham and Nigel Johnson won the game for the Millers in what turned into a memorable campaign.

Team: Mercer; Hutchings, Johnson, Law, Robinson; Goodwin, Barrick, Richardson, Hazel; Cunningham, Page.

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