Six of the best for the Millers.....
ROTHERHAM United made it three wins out of six Sky Bet League One games as they put a new-look Bolton Wanderers side to the sword in a devastating display at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Thibaud Verlinden gave Keith Hill the perfect start on his managerial league bow with the Lancastrians with an early goal but the Millers took the game by storm, as Ben Wiles’ solo effort, Freddie Ladapo’s fine strike and Carlton Morris’ first on his return to the club put Paul Warne’s side in charge at the interval.
Further goals from Ladapo and Morris rubbed salt into Bolton’s wounds, early in the second half, before Jake Hastie put the gloss on a polished Rotherham display with a tap-in.
Following their last-gasp derby day defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers last time out, Millers boss Paul Warne made three changes to his starting line-up for the visit of the Trotters.
Daniel Iversen returned between the Rotherham sticks following his stint on international duty with Denmark. Experienced operator Joe Mattock returned to the left-back slot and took the captain’s armband, at the expense of Richard Wood, while Clark Robertson reverted to his favoured central defensive role.
Matt Crooks was recalled to the Millers engine room as Shaun MacDonald had to settle for a substitutes berth while the AESSEAL New York Stadium faithful had their first glimpse of Rangers loanee Hastie, who enjoyed an impressive goalscoring debut at the Keepmoat Stadium.
In the early seconds, the Millers had a nervy moment when Iversen dwelt in possession before being forced into a hurried clearance.
In a whirlwind sixty seconds, Hastie breezed past former Millers defender Jake Emmanuel to burst into the box but Jack Hobbs was on-hand to snuff out the danger before Robertson was well-stationed to head Ali Crawford’s cross over, at the other end.
However, Rotherham failed to heed the warning as the Lancastrians opened the scoring from the resultant corner.
Verlinden spotted the Millers short of numbers for a short corner and following a smart one-two with Crawford, the Belgian midfielder raced into the box and despite being at a tight angle, he fired high into the roof of the home net with Iversen in no position to intervene at his near post.
The Millers responded positively to the early setback and Hastie was again the architect with a whipped cross which skimmed off the head of Crooks, at the far post, before Ben Wiles clipped a centre which Hastie headed back into the danger area but Ladapo, under pressure from Hobbs, could only bundle the ball wide from close range.
Moments later, Hastie and Wiles combined to great effect to present Ladapo with a glimpse of goal but the ex-Plymouth striker was unable to get his shot away before the same player took Crooks’ pass in his stride to fire goalwards from the edge of the box, moments later, but his shot was straight down the throat of Remi Matthews.
On the quarter hour, the Millers finally broke Bolton’s resistance, thanks to a moment of magic from Rawmarsh-born midfielder Wiles.
There looked little danger when Wiles picked up possession in the right channel but the Millers midfielder showed his class with a dink over the top of a Bolton defender to race into the box and the Academy youngster kept his composure on his left-foot to stroke the ball past the outstretched hand of Matthews to find the far corner of the net.
The Millers were lifted by the equaliser and Crooks’ slide-rule ball presented Hastie with the chance to fire a rising left-footed effort which flew narrowly over the bar before Dennis Politic made something out of nothing to try his luck from distance, but the ball fizzed past the home upright.
Moments later, Mattock skipped down the by-line before squaring a delightful centre into the path of Ladapo, who looked a certain scorer, but he failed to make a clean connection with the goal at his mercy.
The Millers frontman almost made amends when Hastie’s delicious centre was not cleared decisively by the Bolton rearguard, and Ladapo popped up to head goalwards from point-blank range but he was cruelly denied by the woodwork before Bolton scrambled the ball clear.
However, Ladapo was not to be denied and he grabbed his first league goal at the AESSEAL New York Stadium when good work from Crooks initially paved the way for the Millers striker to inject pace into a home move before executing a superb one-two with Morris on the edge of the box and after getting the ball from under his feet, Ladapo kept his nerve to strike a rasping effort which found the heart of the Bolton net after striking the underside of the crossbar.
The Millers’ joy almost proved short-lived when Crooks’ errant pass put the home side in trouble and Verlinden worked a yard of space on Michael Ihiekwe to fire goalwards but Iversen showed great reflexes to divert the ball away from the goal with his legs – although the referee bizarrely awarded a goal kick.
Minutes later, Jamie Lindsay became the first to see yellow for a late clip on Liam Bridcutt before the Scottish midfielder was the grateful recipient of Ihiekwe’s marauding run into the box, but his goalbound effort was deflected wide by Hobbs.
Just shy of the interval, Rotherham took a grip on the game with a third goal when a quick throw into the box was cleverly clipped on by Ihiekwe and Morris almost ghosted in unnoticed between two Bolton defenders to nod home from close range.
Halt-time- Rotherham United 3 Bolton Wanderers 1
Following a slow start to the second half by both sides, Rotherham effectively sealed the deal on 53 minutes when a pullback from the touchline paved the way for Lindsay to whip in a tantalising centre which was inch-perfect for Ladapo, who headed goalwards from close range and despite the best efforts of Matthews on his own goal line, the ball squirmed into the visitors net.
The Millers were going for the kill and they added a fifth goal, two minutes later, when Mattock advanced down the left flank to plant a centre into the Bolton box and Hobbs’ clearance fell kindly for Morris, who took aim from the edge of the box and the ball struck the unlucky Hobbs, who looked to atone for his earlier error, but the ball deceived Matthews to dribble into the visitors net.
The Millers were running riot at the stage and Ladapo showed fleet of foot to work a shooting position but Matthews plucked his effort out of the sky before Hastie flashed a vicious left-footed free-kick narrowly over.
Minutes later, Morris unleashed a dipping effort from distance which had Matthews nervously scurrying backwards as it shaved the visitors upright before the Millers made it six with 25 minutes to go.
Wiles was the provider, this time, with a dangerous cross from the right flank and despite Ladapo, being denied by a combination of Hobbs and Matthews, the prone Hobbs could only scoop the ball into the path of Hastie, who had the simple task of tapping home into the unguarded net from close range.
The moment proved Hastie’s last of the afternoon and both he and Morris were given a standing ovation from the home faithful, as Michael Smith and MacDonald were introduced into the fray.
To their credit, Bolton refused to throw in the towel and Crooks became the latest to see yellow for a needless challenge on Emmanuel, on the edge of the visitors’ box.
Near the end, Mattock almost put the icing on the cake when he anticipated Wiles’ short corner to perfection, but he blasted over from a promising position before Ladapo came close to claiming the match ball, near the end, when he fired over following good work from the Rotherham left-back, in the build-up.
Full-time- Rotherham United 6 Bolton Wanderers 1
Rotherham United 6
Bolton Wanderers 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Iversen, Mattock, Wiles, Ladapo, Morris (Smith 67), Robertson, Lindsay (Barlaser 75), Crooks, Ihiekwe, Olosunde, Hastie (MacDonald 67). Unused- Price, Jones, Wood, Lamy.
Bolton- Matthews, Emmanuel, Hobbs, Wright, Murphy (Darcy 62), Crawford, Chicksen, Weir (Lowe 39), Verlinden, Politic, Bridcutt. Unused- Alnwick, Zouma, Boon, Brown, Senior.
Referee- S Stockbridge
Attendance- 10088 (2600)