Millers coast into round two.....
Rotherham United booked a safe passage into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup following a comfortable victory over National League side, Bromley.
The tie was billed as a clash of two in-form sides, in their respective leagues, but Rotherham avoided any potential giant killing with a double strike, just before the break, through Ben Wiles and Freddie Ladapo.
Bromley’s cause was not helped when half-time sub Haji Mnoga saw red, within minutes of coming on and Will Grigg killed off any hopes of a comeback, with a third goal for the hosts, late on.
Millers boss Paul Warne reshuffled his pack by making five changes following the midweek draw with Charlton Athletic.
There were recalls for ‘keeper Viktor Johansson, Hakeem Odoffin, Shane Ferguson, Chiedozie Ogbene and Grigg.
Midweek scorer Mickel Miller was not involved in the home squad, following a foot complaint sustained in South London. The in-form trio of Wiles, Michael Smith and Rarmani Edmonds-Green were named among the substitutes.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when Ogbene and Ollie Rathbone combined smartly on the right flank, as the Irish winger floated a cross which was met by the head of Grigg, but the Sunderland loanee’s goalbound header was hacked clear by a retreating Bromley defender.
Ogbene was causing havoc in the early stages, and he showed Harry Forster a clean pair of heels to dart into the box before tumbling under the challenge of the visiting player, but the referee waved away the protests of the Rotherham flyer.
Both sides traded chances when firstly Liam Trotter almost put James Alabi in the clear, but Wes Harding stuck out a timely leg, to take the ball away from his grasp before Ogbene got the better of Forster, once again, at the other end, but his tame left-footed effort was straight down the throat of Reice Charles-Cook.
Warne was forced into an early change when Odoffin and Billy Bingham clashed in an aerial duel in the box. With both players requiring lengthy treatment, Odoffin was in no position to continue, and Wiles entered the fray, while Bingham was, also, replaced, just two minutes later, for the visitors.
The Millers continued to press and Bromley were indebted to Omar Sowunmi for a superb, last-ditch sliding challenge to prevent Grigg, from stroking the ball home following Rathbone’s delicious cross before Ladapo had a shot blocked at close quarters, in the next phase of play.
Forster was having a tough time with Ogbene but he came to Bromley’s rescue with a goal saving clearance, to prevent the Rotherham winger from tapping into the unguarded net after Wiles had got round the back of the Londoners defence, following some good approach play from the home side.
Just before the half hour mark, Trotter, proverbially took one for the team, by cynically tripping Rathbone in full flow, and the referee had no hesitation in issuing him a yellow-card.
Sowunwi showed another piece of outstanding defending to deny Grigg, in a carbon-copy of the earlier move, following good combination play from Wiles and Ogbene before Rathbone stung the palms of Charles-Cook with a low, skimming drive, from the edge of the box.
Despite Rotherham having the lion’s share of the first half chances, Bromley had an opportunity to break the deadlock.
Alabi left home skipper Richard Wood in his wake on halfway before giving George Alexander the chance to fire goalwards, but Johansson stood up tall to smother his goalbound effort. However, the ball squirmed away from the Swedish stopper, and Alabi looked set to turn the ball into the empty net but Harding came out of nowhere with an 11th hour intervention, to snuff out the danger.
The capital outfit were left to rue that chance when Rotherham opened the scoring, two minutes before the break.
A long floated ball forward saw Ogbene get on the wrong side of Forster, and the home paceman got the ball under his spell, before sliding the ball across the face of the 18-yard box, and Rathbone showed great awareness, to dummy his centre, in the safe knowledge that Wiles was behind him, and the Rawmarsh-born youngster executed great technique, to fire a delightful effort which left Charles-Cook motionless, as it arrowed into the top corner of the goal.
Rotherham were going for the jugular and Barlaser had a long-range effort deflected behind before they doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time.
Ferguson put over a corner into the danger area and Rotherham won the initial header, before Wood headed the ball on and Ladapo, in typical poacher’s fashion, turned the ball home from close range.
Half-time: Rotherham United 2 Bromley 0
The second half brought a quartet of changes from the visitors but it was the Millers, who started the second 45 as they finished the first and they came within a coat of paint of a third goal when a quick corner, involving Wiles, caught the Londoners napping and Rathbone took aim with a dipping shot, from the edge of the box, which shaved the outside of the far post.
The Ravens came close to halving the deficit when Edmonds-Green, who was introduced at the interval, headed in avertedly across goal, and Michael Cheek paved the way for Louis Dennis, to have a volley which was blocked, at close range.
The game took a sinister twist, just six minutes into the half, though, when half-time sub Haji Mnoga launched into a rash challenge on Ogbene, near the touchline, and the referee brandished a straight red-card to the Bromley man, as Ogbene was left grounded, and both sets of players faced off against each in the aftermath of the incident.
The moment was Ogbene’s last involvement of the game with the Republic of Ireland international, thankfully, able to walk around the side of the AESSEAL New York Stadium, and in turn, appreciate the applause of the home faithful, in the process.
Warne’s side were looking for a killer third goal but Barlaser and sub Kieran Sadlier failed to trouble the target from distance before Tolaji Bola found himself in the book for a clip on Alabi.
Minutes later, sub Joshua Kayode nodded narrowly wide from Bola’s corner before Edmonds-Green met Sadlier’s delivery to threaten the visitors’ goal but substitute ‘keeper Mark Cousins tipped his point-blank effort against the woodwork, before it was scrambled clear.
Cousins was a busy man, and Rathbone had a personal duel with the Bromley stopper, when firstly a snap shot was parried, before the former Rochdale man floated a lovely effort which had Cousins at full stretch, to keep the ball out.
However, Rotherham were not to be denied a third goal, and it duly came with ten minutes to go when Wiles’ long range strike was saved by Cousins, but Bola kept the ball alive to plant the ball back into the danger area, and Grigg showed his predatory instincts, by tapping home from close range.
Grigg came close to a second goal, in a matter of minutes, with an instinctive effort which brought the best out of Cousins before Sadlier fired wide from long range.
Near the end, Wiles showed fleet of foot and no shortage of skill to ghost towards goal but he dragged his shot, just wide of goal.
Full-time: Rotherham United 3 Bromley 0
Rotherham United 3
Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Harding, Barlaser, Wood, Grigg, Ladapo (Kayode 60), Ogbene (Sadlier 54), Ferguson (Bola 60), Rathbone, Ihiekwe (Edmonds-Green 46), Odoffin (Wiles 17). Unused- Vickers, Smith.
Bromley- Charles-Cook (Cousins 46), Bingham (Cawley 20), Bush, Sowunmi, Coulson (Sablier 77), Cheek (Lovatt 81), Alabi, Trotter (Arthurs 46), Webster, Forster (Mnoga 46), Alexander (Dennis 46). Unused- Partington, Skeffington.
Referee- D Bourne
Attendance- 4064 (437)