Rotherham United progressed to the Second Round of the Carabao Cup with a 2-1 victory at Vale Park against Sky Bet League One side Port Vale, on a sun soaked evening in Burslem.
The Millers were rewarded for a bright start when Ollie Rathbone opened the scoring with eight minutes on the clock and didn’t relinquish control, adding a second through Chiedozie Ogbene in first half stoppage time.
Vale pulled one back with under 10 minutes remaining through Mal Benning, but Warne’s side held on to progress to the next round of the competition.
Rotherham started the brighter of the pair and were almost ahead with just six minutes on the clock in the Staffordshire heat. Bramall delivered an in-swinging corner which landed into the path of McCart who adjusted his feet before taking aim, seeing his effort well-blocked by a Vale defender.
Paul Warne’s side wouldn’t have to wait too long for a reward for their fast start and were ahead two minutes in bizarre circumstances. Georgie Kelly chased down Vale keeper Aidan Stone, who was rushed into a clearance which sold Tom Pett short. Rathbone nipped in to make the tackle and his touch had enough on it to carry it into the goal, despite the best efforts of Nathan Smith on the line.
The Millers continued to assert themselves on the game and new signing Scott High was next to try his luck. The Huddersfield loanee collected the ball just inside Vale territory before driving through the middle of the park. Space opened up for the midfielder to take aim, as he lifted an effort over the bar.
The away side’s high press was causing Vale all sorts of problems, with Rathbone again at the spearhead of it. The all-action midfielder pounced on a loose pass from Smith and found Bramall who cut the ball back for Washington, who was eventually crowded out in the area.
Two more big chances fell the way of The Millers, firstly, Washington advanced into the penalty area before firing a low effort at Stone. The ball was cleared by the goalkeeper, but only as far as Barlaser who picked up possession for Rotherham and found Washington again, this time on the right flank. The striker centred a delicate cross which was met by Kelly, but the Irishman could only head wide on 19 minutes.
Vale responded through the tricky Sammy Robinson, who won his side a free kick after being upended by McCart. Conlon planted the ball into the turf for Vale and played it quickly into the wingers path, as he saw his low drive blocked by Hall and cleared away from danger.
After both teams had taken a minute or two to take on some fluids as part of a water break on a sweltering evening in Staffordshire, the Millers were dealt their first injury blow of the evening as Peter Kioso went down requiring treatment.
Whether precautionary or otherwise, Warne made the decision to withdraw the right-wing-back and introduce the versatile Wes Harding out on that flank.
The change clearly didn’t disrupt the Millers, who, after dealing with a Vale free kick thanks to some confident goalkeeping from Vickers, charged up the other end to create an opportunity of their own.
Bramall had been electric wide on the left and turned on the afterburners again after nutmegging Tom Conlon, before eventually having his charge halted by the retreating Rory Holden.
The Millers were dealt another worrying injury concern though minutes later when Conor Washington hit the deck unchallenged, appearing to have some discomfort in his thigh. Again, Warne keen not to cause any further woe in the treatment room, withdrew Washington for Ogbene in a change that would inadvertently go on to inspire a second goal for his side.
The injury stoppages prompted the Fourth Official to show seven minutes of stoppage time, but keen not to waste another second, Ogbene doubled their visitors’ advantage after some patient build-up play.
HALF TIME | Port Vale 0 v 2 Rotherham
Conlon looked to respond for Vale in the 57th minute as he aimed a cross towards the head of Holden, but Peltier had read the danger and took up a good position to enable him to thwart the danger.
The Millers were asked a few questions in the second half by the home side, but stood up to the challenge well before almost adding a third after 60 minutes. Kelly flicked Peltier’s pass into the path of Bramall and raced into the area to meet the cross, forcing Stone into a smart save from point-blank range.
Vale pulled one back with nine minutes to play when substitute Mal Benning was found on the left flank by McDermott before cutting inside and bending an effort past Vickers with his right foot.
The home side turned the screw and were denied a certain leveller by some superb defending from Cameron Humphreys, who stretched out his right leg to prevent Massey’s cross reaching ex-Miller Jamie Proctor for a tap-in, as the Millers held on to win.
FULL TIME | Port Vale 1 v 2 Rotherham
PORT VALE XI | Stone; Forrester, Smith (Ojo 69’), Jones; Robinson, Pett (McDermott 69’), Walker, Small (Benning 69’); Conlon; Garrity; Holden (Proctor 69’).
UNUSED | Cass, Hall, Agyakwa.
ROTHERHAM XI | Vickers; Peltier (Wood 72’), Hall (Humphreys 45’), McCart; Kioso (Harding 31’), Barlaser (C) (Lindsay 45’), Rathbone, High, Bramall; Kelly, Washington (Ogbene 37’).
UNUSED | Johansson, Wiles, Bola, Ferguson.