Rotherham United booked their place in the second round of the Carabao Cup in convincing fashion on Tuesday night, with goals from Matt Crooks, Kyle Vassell, Freddie Ladapo and Richard Wood downing Shrewsbury Town at the Montgomery Waters Meadown Stadium.
Remarkably, the Millers didn’t waste any time as they raced into a 2-0 lead just three minutes into proceedings. With just over 60 seconds played, Ben Wiles teed up Vassell who saw his effort quelled by Joe Murphy, but Crooks was on hand to slot home the rebound.
With their next attack, Rotherham then doubled their advantage as Vassell got himself on the scoresheet, latching on a through ball to fire one under the arms of the despairing goalkeeper from just inside the area.
The bright start continued and the Millers almost stretched their winning margin once more on 11 minutes following a Dan Barlaser corner, but despite rising the highest amongst a crowd of bodies, Michael Ihiekwe could only send his header wide of the far post.
It took Shrewsbury 26 minutes to muster their first sighting of goal as the ball broke to Brad Walker on the edge of the box, but Wood stood firm to get himself in the way of the strike and hook the ball away from danger.
Whilst the Shrews did see more of the ball in the remainder of the first half, they fell further behind on the stroke of half-time as the Millers inflicted further misery upon them. Matt Olosunde’s pinpoint cross was headed back across goal by Michael Smith, and Freddie Ladapo was on hand to convert from close range.
Following the restart, the hosts searched for a response and the Shrewsbury supporters thought Fejiri Okenabirhie was in on goal after 51 minutes, only to watch on as Ihiekwe got across to intercept with a perfectly timed sliding challenge. Ladapo then went close almost immediately afterwards up the other end, but Murphy was equal to his low shot.
On the hour mark, James Rowland ventured forward before taking aim from distance, but Lewis Price did well to clutch the ball to his chest. His opposite number was called into action three minutes later, but he responded with a smart reaction save to keep out an effort from Smith.
As the game wore on, it was Rotherham who carried on dictating the tempo as they knocked the ball around with real ease on a slick surface, and plenty of chances were falling their way. Vassell saw a volley well blocked on 73 minutes before Crooks sliced one high and wide soon afterwards.
Wood ensured that Rotherham recorded an even more comfortable victory in front of 164 travelling supporters as he rifled one beyond the reaches of Murphy from 12 yards with five minutes left to play, putting the icing on the cake as his side progressed into the second round of the competition.
Shrewsbury Town: Murphy, Beckles, Waterfall (Pierre 6’), Ebanks-Landell, Golbourne (Whalley 45’), Barnett, Walker, McCormick, Rowland, Okenabihrie, Morison © (Giles 78’).
Unused Substitutes: O’Leary, Vincelot, Love, Taylor.
Rotherham United: Price, Olosunde, Wood ©, Ihiekwe, Robertson, Wiles (Lindsay 76’), Crooks, Barlaser, Vassell, Ladapo (MacDonald 64’), Morris (Smith 6’).