Crooks nets Millers winner....
Rotherham United extended their lead at the top of the Sky Bet League One table to six points as Matt Crooks’ well-taken header earned the Millers their eighth win in nine games, at the expense of Lincoln City.
It was third time lucky for Paul Warne’s side, who avenged a home reversal and an EFL Trophy defeat, earlier in the season to get the better of the Lincolnshire outfit, in a keenly contested affair at the LNER Stadium.
Following their hard-fought victory over Burton Albion last time out, Warne made a solitary change to his starting line-up with Ben Wiles asked to ply his trade in the full-back slot as regular left-back Joe Mattock was unavailable because of injury.
Deadline-day signing Josh Koroma was named amongst the visiting substitutes alongside last weekend’s match winner Freddie Ladapo.
In a slow start by both sides, Jorge Grant had the first sight of goal for the home side when he fired a free-kick into the side netting before Chiedozie Ogbene had Rotherham’s first shot in anger when he was twice denied by a retreating defender.
On the quarter hour, Rotherham were indebted to Daniel Iversen for preserving parity when the Danish stopper pulled off a top draw save to deny Grant, who looked a certain scorer as he met Jake Hesketh’s centre with a goalbound header.
The home duo combined to great effect, once again, on the half-hour mark, when Hesketh failed to hit the target following good work by Grant in the build-up.
With half-time approaching, Hakeeb Adelakun showed fleet of foot to give Kyle Vassell the opportunity to set up Crooks, but the Rotherham midfielder was unable to get his shot away.
Half-time- Lincoln City 0 Rotherham United 1
The Millers made a lightning start to the second half and they were rewarded with the decisive winner when Dan Barlaser started the move which paved the way for Vassell to clip a cross which was superbly met by the head of Crooks, who cleverly steered his downward header past the outstretched hand of Josh Vickers, to send the sell-out Millers contingent behind the goal into ecstasy.
The visitors were lifted by the opener and Adelakun flashed an effort wide before Ogbene almost took advantage of a barnstorming run by Michael Ihiekwe, but he failed to trouble Vickers with his shot.
Warne’s side were looking the most likely and Vassell came close to doubling the Millers lead but he was denied by Vickers, who made a point-blank save before Richard Wood had to be on the toes to deny Tyreece John-Jules, at the other end, with a timely clearance.
In the dying minutes, Ladapo almost added gloss to the scoreline when he fired narrowly wide following Koroma’s assist before Rotherham had a late scare when Adam Thompson failed to clear his lines and John-Jules stabbed goalwards but Iversen stood up tall to divert his tame effort to safety.
Full-time- Lincoln City 0 Rotherham United 1
Lincoln City 0
Rotherham United 1
Teams- Lincoln- Vickers, Bridcutt, Shackell, Bolger, John-Jules, Grant, Morrell, Eardley, Melbourne, Anderson (Hopper 82), Hesketh (Scully 72). Unused- Andrew, Payne, Chapman, Coventry, Edun.
Rotherham- Iversen, Thompson, Wood, Vassell (Ladapo 77), Wiles, Barlaser, Adelakun (MacDonald 90), Crooks, Ogbene (Koroma 79), Ihiekwe, Smith. Unused- Bilboe, Lindsay, Clarke, Olosunde.
Referee- M Coy
Attendance- 9876 (1745)