Millers earn narrow win......
ROTHERHAM United made it two league wins out of three following a solitary goal victory over Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
The decisive moment came midway through the first-half when Ben Wiles’ effort struck the upright before the ball cannoned off home ‘keeper Kieran O’Hara before finding the home net.
Following their comfortable Carabao Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town in midweek, Millers chief Paul Warne made two changes to his starting line-up for the return to Sky Bet League One action.
Leicester loanee Daniel Iversen returned between the Rotherham sticks, at the expense of Lewis Price while Michael Smith was named as one of the Millers front three with Carlton Morris ruled out, due to concussion.
The Millers were almost given a shock in the early seconds when a hopeful cross into the box saw Nathan Broadhead work a yard of space on Matthew Olosunde, before clipping an effort which almost caught Iversen out on his near post, as it struck the woodwork before the visitors scrambled the ball clear with Lucas Akins lurking menacingly for the rebound.
Broadhead was in the thick of the early action and he dragged a low shot harmlessly wide of the target, from just outside the box, before Scott Fraser tried his luck from distance but his deflected effort failed to trouble the target.
Minutes later, Broadhead got the better of Olosunde to force Iversen into a smart, smothered save before Rotherham threatened for the first time when Akins was forced to head Dan Barlaser’s corner to safety.
In the next visitors attack, Kyle Vassell tumbled under the challenge of Jake Buxton and following a Millers free-kick routine, Vassell almost exacted retribution with the resultant free-kick but one-time Millers loanee Stephen Quinn bravely took the full force of his shot, as it arrowed towards the Burton goal.
Just past the quarter hour, Fraser injected pace into a Burton move and after Akins flicked the ball on, Fraser latched onto the loose ball to hook over the bar from a promising position before Crooks had a sight of goal when Vassell got the better of John Brayford, initially, but his effort, from a tight angle, lacked power as Kieran O’Hara comfortably snuffed out the danger.
However, Rotherham broke the deadlock on 24 minutes when a fine-flowing move involving Olosunde and Crooks saw a ball played to the far post where Wiles showed great composure to cut inside with menace before unleashing a shot, which appeared to take a slight deflection, as it smashed against the upright before hitting the unlucky O’Hara and the ball dribbled into the home net.
Just before the half-hour mark, Broadhead fired a free-kick into the large hordes of Rotherham fans amassed behind the goal before Freddie Ladapo emerged from the ruck of bodies in the box to meet Barlaser’s centre but his downward header was straight down the throat of O’Hara.
The Millers came within a coat of paint of doubling their advantage when a quickly taken free-kick caught the home side napping and Vassell thundered an effort from an acute angle which a backtracking O’Hara appeared to tip onto his own crossbar, as the ball flew to safety.
The hosts finished the half strongly as Rotherham failed to clear the danger and the ball fell invitingly to Fraser on the edge of the box but a combination of Richard Wood, Clark Robertson and Barlaser showed their commitment to the Millers cause, by throwing their bodies in the way of his goalbound shot.
Minutes later, Colin Daniel swung a tantalising centre into the danger area and Liam Boyce looked a certain scorer as he met his cross with a powerful header but Iversen showed fantastic reflexes to keep the ball out with a parried save.
In the late noteworthy action of the half, Barlaser planted a long punt forward which caught the Burton defence square and Smith was the grateful recipient to bare down on goal but O’Hara stood up tall to block his attempted lob, at close quarters.
Half-time- Burton Albion 0 Rotherham United 1
Following the interval, Rotherham were quick out of the blocks and Barlaser’s curled an inviting free-kick into the danger area but Michael Ihiekwe was unable to make a clean connection, as his towering header whistled harmlessly wide before Ladapo made something out of nothing to drill a low effort, which took a slight deflection off Buxton, which took the sting out of his shot.
From the resultant corner, Barlaser caressed a centre which saw Robertson rise highest but the Scotsman’s looping header shaved the home woodwork before Ihiekwe got on the end of another delicious Barlaser’s set-piece to head goalwards but Burton managed to scramble the ball clear, from just underneath their own crossbar.
Just before the hour mark, John Brayford’s snap effort struck Akins en-route to goal before the Millers had a let-off when Daniel dug out a cross which paved the way for Fraser to burst into the box, before being felled by Wood, as he looked to get his shot away, but the referee waved away vehement home appeals for a spot kick.
The Millers squandered an opportunity to kill the game when Iversen’s punt upfield was flicked on by Smith into the run of Vassell, who cut inside to work a shooting opportunity on his favoured left-foot but he blazed his shot over from the edge of the box, when he should have done better.
Minutes later, Robertson was shown a yellow card for deliberating over a throw-in before sub Jamie Lindsay burst away before playing a tantalising centre which was inches away from the outstretched leg of Vassell, who would have had a tap-in.
Fellow sub Shaun MacDonald was the architect of another fine-flowing Millers move but Proctor’s centre was smashed clear by a retreating home defender before Wiles’ goalbound shot was blocked by John Joe O’Toole.
The Millers almost put the icing on the cake on a polished performance when Robertson rose highest to meet Wiles corner with a powerful header but Daniel was well-stationed to head over his own bar.
In the dying minutes, Burton wasted a chance to claim a share of the spoils when Boyce fizzed a centre across the Rotherham goalmouth but Broadhead fluffed his lines by firing over with the goal at his mercy.
The Millers fans had their hearts in their mouths - with seconds remaining, when Akins launched a long throw into the box which was only half-cleared into the path of sub David Templeton, whose sweet strike from the edge of the box, smashed against the visitors’ upright – to the relief of all those with a Rotherham United persuasion.
Full-time- Burton Albion 0 Rotherham United 1
Burton Albion 0
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Burton- O’Hara, Brayford (Sarkic 75), Daniel, Edwards, Buxton, Quinn (Wallace 80), Fraser (Templeton 87), Broadhead, Akins, O’Toole, Boyce. Unused- Bywater, Sbarra, Hutchinson, Nartey.
Rotherham- Iversen, Wood, Vassell, Wiles, Ladapo (MacDonald 57), Barlaser (Lindsay 72), Robertson, Crooks. Ihiekwe, Olosunde, Smith (Proctor 80). Unused- Price, Mattock, Cooper.
Referee- N Kinseley