Millers earn derby day win......
ROTHERHAM United breathed life into their Leasing.com Trophy campaign as they edged a five-goal thriller with Doncaster Rovers thanks to Trevor Clarke’s winner, on his Millers debut.
In a topsy-turvy encounter, Rovers skipper Joe Wright headed into his own net to put the Millers ahead before goals either side of the interval from Kieran Sadlier and Wright, himself, gave Rovers the initiative.
However, Rotherham ensured that their participation was taken to their last game at Lincoln City when Carlton Morris equalised before Clarke grabbed the decisive winner, just minutes, after Ian Lawlor saved Morris’ spot-kick.
Following their handsome league victory over Coventry City at the weekend, Millers boss Paul Warne reshuffled his pack for the visit of their local rivals, from just up the M18.
Lewis Price was handed a rare start between the sticks while youngster Jake Cooper was given a chance to impress at the heart of Rotherham’s defence alongside Scottish defender Clark Robertson.
Dan Barlaser retained his place in the central midfield areas following his impressive display against the Sky Blues while the AESSEAL New York Stadium faithful had their first glimpse of French winger Julien Lamy.
In the early minutes, Doncaster had faint appeals for a spot kick when Morris and Danny Amos collided, just inside the Millers box, but the referee waved away visiting protests.
Morris was calling for a penalty of his own at the other end as he tumbled under the challenge of Rovers skipper Joe Wright but no further action was taken before Lamy’s deep cross had Lawlor backtracking nervously, as it narrowly cleared the visitors bar.
Following a steady start by both sides, the Millers broke the deadlock on 11 minutes when Ben Wiles spread the play to great effect and Billy Jones skipped down the by-line to deliver a tantalising centre into the Rovers box and Wright, in attempting to clear, could only direct his headed clearance into the top corner of his own net.
The home side were lifted by the breakthrough and Joe Mattock was the next to race down the flank to plant a dangerous centre which narrowly evaded the attentions of Lamy before a wayward Rovers pass presented Freddie Ladapo with a one-on-one situation with Wright and the ex-Plymouth striker showed fleet of foot to work a shooting position to bring a fine save from Lawlor, with the visitors scrambling the ball to safety.
The Millers were looking the most likely and Jones was again the architect with a curling cross which was met by the head of Morris, but his effort lacked power before the Norwich loanee gave Barlaser the opportunity to fizz a delicious centre which flew across the Rovers goalmouth – with no home player in attendance.
In a rare Rovers foray, former Millers youngster Alex Kiwomya delivered an inviting centre which saw Kwame Thomas head over, under pressure from a home defender.
Just before the half-hour mark, Rotherham came close to doubling their lead when Robertson emerged from the ruck of bodies in the box to meet Wiles’ deep corner, but the home centre-half could only blaze his header narrowly wide of the target.
Minutes later, Shane Blaney was forced to turn Morris’ low cross behind before Doncaster levelled matters, eight minutes before the break, when the visitors turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye and Sadlier got the ball under his spell, to advance menacingly towards the edge of the box before taking aim with a rasping drive which gave Price no chance, as it flew into the roof of the Millers net.
The Millers responded positively to the setback and Wiles stung the palms of Lawlor with a fierce drive from distance before Lamy exchanged passes with Barlaser before letting fly from long range, and the ball beat the outstretched hand of Lawlor, to smash against the woodwork, before falling to safety.
Half-time- Rotherham United 1 Doncaster Rovers 1
Following the break, the Millers fans were given a treat as Irishman Clarke donned the Rotherham colours for the first time, in a long awaited debut following injury.
However, it was Doncaster, who had the first sight of goal when Anthony Greaves’ threaded pass paved the way for Will Longbottom to strike goalwards but Price denied him before Kiwomya flashed an effort well wide.
With Shaun MacDonald off the pitch receiving treatment, the Millers failed to heed the warning as Doncaster took the lead when Rotherham were caught napping from a set-piece and a floated ball into the box was met by the head of Wright, who atoned for his earlier own goal, by looping a header which evaded the attentions of Price to nestle in the far corner of the net.
The visitors’ joy almost proved short lived as Lamy dug out a cross which was inch-perfect for Morris, to power a point-blank header towards goal but Lawlor showed good reflexes to keep the ball out.
Lawlor was called into action once again to parry Mattock’s cross-cum-shot to safety before Rotherham finally broke Doncaster’s resistance on 67 minutes when Clarke’s slide-rule pass presented Morris – with the chance to race away from two defenders before the Millers frontman kept his nerve to drill a low left-footed effort past Lawlor.
The Millers wasted an opportunity to regain the lead, just five minutes later, when a fine flowing move gave Wiles the chance to burst into the box before the Rawmarsh-born midfielder picked out the advancing run of Clarke, who got a foot on the ball before Blaney, who left a trailing leg to bring down the former Shamrock Rovers midfielder in the box – with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
The visitors were indebted to Lawlor for preserving parity when he correctly guessed Morris’ intentions from the resultant spot-kick to smother his tame effort.
However, Rotherham had a second bite of the cherry – with 13 minutes to go - when Morris made amends for his earlier miss with a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of Clarke, who got on the wrong side of his marker, before firing an angled drive into the far corner of the net giving Lawlor no chance.
In the dying minutes, sub Joshua Kayode came close to making it four when he headed over from a promising position before Rotherham successfully negotiated four minutes of second-half stoppage time to record victory.
Full-time- Rotherham United 3 Doncaster Rovers 2
Rotherham United 3
Doncaster Rovers 2
Teams:- Rotherham- Price, Jones, Mattock, MacDonald (Lindsay 55), Wiles, Ladapo (Clarke 46), Barlaser (Kayode 73), Morris, Robertson, Lamy, Cooper. Unused- Bilboe, Ihiekwe, Olosunde, Hinds.
Doncaster- Lawlor, Halliday (Daniels 46), Wright, Sadlier (May 46), Gomes, Amos, Blaney, Longbottom, Kiwomya, Greaves, Thomas (Taylor 76). Unused- Dieng, James, Sheaf, Watson.
Referee- M Edwards
Attendance- 2192 (557)