Tigers edge five goal thriller.
HULL City withstood a late Millers rally to earn their first win of the campaign, as they edged a five-goal thriller at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Skipper Richard Wood gave the hosts the perfect start but Nigel Adkins’ side turned the game on its head, thanks to first-half goals from Jackson Irvine and Fraizer Campbell.
The Millers were given a mountain to climb, early in the second half, when Irvine notched his second goal of the evening and although sub Jamie Proctor halved the deficit late on, the Millers were denied a share of the spoils.
Following their narrow defeat at the hands of high-flying Leeds United at the weekend, Millers chief Paul Warne made just one change to his starting line-up for the hosting of the Tigers.
Ryan Manning was handed his first Millers start following his impressive substitute cameo at Elland Road. Semi Ajayi reverted back to his familiar centre-back role as Sean Raggett had to settle for a place on the bench.
There was a familiar face among the visitors’ substitutes with striker Nouha Dicko making a return to the AESSEAL New York Stadium following an impressive loan spell with the Millers, earlier in his career.
The visitors started in a positive vein and fine interplay involving Evandro and Campbell ended with the latter fizzing a dangerous centre which flew across the Millers goalmouth before Zak Vyner floated a tantalising ball into the box which was met by the head of Michael Smith, but the Millers striker could not direct his effort goalwards.
Minutes later, Tigers skipper Markus Henriksen unleashed a thunderbolt from long range which Marek Rodak was forced to tip over before Rotherham were at sixes and sevens from the resultant corner and Daniel Batty latched onto the loose ball to fire a snap effort towards goal but Millers captain Wood bravely put his body on the line to block the shot en-route to goal.
Just past the quarter hour, Rotherham broke the deadlock when Manning swung a delightful corner into the danger area and Wood emerged from the ruck of bodies in the box to power a downward header which arrowed into the bottom corner of the net giving David Marshall no chance.
The visitors responded positively to the setback and Eric Lichaj’s quick throw caught the home side napping and Batty tried his luck with a dipping effort which had Rodak nervously looking over his shoulder, as it narrowly cleared the home crossbar.
In a training ground free-kick, Jon Taylor dropped the ball for Manning to deliver an inviting centre which saw Ajayi rise highest but the Millers centre-half failed to test Marshall with his downward header, which looped harmlessly wide of the target.
In the Millers next attack, Manning got the better of Batty in a midfield duel before taking aim with his favoured left-foot but his curling effort from distance fizzed narrowly over the visitors’ crossbar.
Just before the half hour mark, Hull levelled matters when Evandro showed great awareness to clip a ball into the path of Jackson Irvine and the Australian playmaker kept his nerve to control his left-footed volley, which arrowed into the roof of the Millers net giving Rodak no chance.
Minutes later, Manning was the orchestrator, once again, with a pinpoint cross into the box and Smith got the ball from under his feet to drill a low effort which was blocked by Reece Burke.
However, Hull took a grip on the game in first-half stoppage time when Rodak’s parried clearance from a right-wing cross fell kindly for Lichaj, who played a slide rule ball into the path of Campbell, who did not seem to get a clean connection when he swung his left-foot but it was enough to find the corner of the Millers goal.
Half-time- Rotherham United 1 Hull City 2
Following the break, Henriksen became the first to see yellow for a rash challenge before Hull extended their advantage when Campbell got the better of Ajayi near the touchline which paved the way for Jarrod Bowen to race clear and the highly-rated youngster played a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of the unmarked Irvine, who calmly stroked the ball in the far corner of the net.
The Millers gradually regained their composure and Will Vaulks launched a long throw into the box and Wood bulldozed his way through a crowded penalty area to head goalwards but Marshall was able to watch the ball sail harmlessly wide of the target before the Scottish international was called into action, minutes later, to punch Manning’s centre to safety.
In an attempt to spark the home side into life, Warne made a double substitution with Kyle Vassell and Joe Newell entering the proceedings but it was Hull, who next threatened the home goal, when Campbell struck a rasping effort from distance which whistled over the bar.
Just past the hour mark, Vaulks drilled a low centre which flew across the box but it fell kindly for Joe Mattock, who floated a delicate cross to the far post but Smith was not able to generate enough power on his header and Marshall plucked his tame effort out of the sky.
The Millers missed a gilt-edged chance to halve the deficit when, in a carbon copy of the home opener, Manning delivered an inviting centre which was met by the head of the unmarked Wood, but this time, the home centre-half was unable to steer his header goalwards, as the ball screwed off his forehead, while narrowly evading the attentions of Vassell, at the far post.
The visitors almost added a fourth when the lively Bowen ghosted past the attentions of Ajayi to force a point-blank save from Rodak with the Slovakian stopper on hand to deny sub Will Keane from the rebound.
From the resultant corner, Rotherham failed to clear their lines and Irvine missed an opportunity to claim the match ball when he hooked over from a promising position and the moment proved crucial when the home side gave themselves a glimmer of hope – with quarter an hour to go.
In the build-up, Vaulks had a snap shot blocked by a retreating defender but the home side continued to press and the ball was switched to the right-flank where Vyner planted a delicious cross which was inch-perfect for sub Proctor, who had only entered the proceedings just minutes earlier, and the home frontman cleverly guided the ball into the heart of the Tigers goal with a smart header.
The Millers were sensing an opportunity to claim a share of the spoils and Hull were forced to weather a number of set-pieces before Smith smartly knocked a ball back into the danger area and Ajayi, with his back to goal, executed an overhead kick, which flew narrowly wide of the upright.
Moments later, Manning was needlessly felled by Henriksen near the by-line and the QPR loanee dusted himself down to clip a deep cross which was headed back across goal by Proctor into the path of Wood but his instinctive header was straight down the throat of Marshall.
With time running out for the hosts, Wood was cautioned for upending Bowen in full flight before Ajayi squandered an opportunity to level matters, in stoppage time, when Proctor’s clipped cross was headed back into the danger area by Smith but the Rotherham centre-half fluffed his lines with a wayward header.
Full-time- Rotherham United 2 Hull City 3
Rotherham United 2
Hull City 3
Teams:- Rotherham- Rodak, Vyner, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood, Palmer (Proctor 73), Taylor (Vassell 56), Manning, Williams (Newell 56), Smith. Unused- Bilboe, Ball, Robertson, Raggett.
Hull- Marshall, Lichaj, De Wijs, Burke, Evandro (McKenzie 80), Irvine, Kane, Batty (Stewart 77), Bowen, Henriksen, Campbell (Keane 67). Unused- Long, Dicko, Milinkovic, Curry.
Referee- J Simpson
Attendance- 8962 (1225)