Five-star Millers put on derby show.......
Rotherham United grabbed the South Yorkshire bragging rights by putting Doncaster Rovers to the sword with a ruthless display at the Eco-Power Stadium.
The Rovers faithful will be sick of the sight of the Millers, as Paul Warne’s side backed up their six-goal win in the Papa John’s Trophy earlier in the season, with another goal blitz at the home of their local rivals.
It was top versus bottom in the Sky Bet League One standings and the game went true to form as Mickel Miller scored straight from a corner before Ben Wiles eighth goal of the season put Rotherham in control at the interval.
Any hopes of a home comeback were over when Chiedozie Ogbene slotted home before Dan Barlaser netted from the spot soon after.
The Millers added to Doncaster’s woes late on when sub Jamie Lindsay rifled home a fifth goal from a tight angle.
For the short hop up the M18, Warne made three changes to his starting line-up from their weekend victory over Crewe Alexandra.
There was a new look to the Millers defensive line as Wes Harding and Joe Mattock were drafted into the back three at the expense of Rarmani Edmonds-Green, who suffered an injury at Gresty Road, and club skipper Richard Wood, who was on the bench.
Michael Ihiekwe took on the skipper’s armband while Miller was also recalled on the left flank with Shane Ferguson named among the replacements.
With both sets of fans’ in full voice, the Millers almost made the perfect start in the early minutes when Wiles got the ball under his spell before presenting Ollie Rathbone with the chance to strike, and the ex-Rochdale midfielder duly obliged with a rising effort which was arrowing into the far corner until home ‘keeper Jonathan Mitchell, on his Doncaster debut, made an 11th hour intervention with a fine save.
Minutes later, Will Grigg almost escaped the clutches of Ollie Younger to burst into the box, but he was crowded out before he could get his shot away.
However, Doncaster’s relief was only temporary as Rotherham broke the deadlock from the resultant corner on eight minutes.
Miller weighed up his options in the box before planting an inswinging corner which had Mitchell flapping at fresh air, as his centre evaded him and a number of home defenders on the line, as it dipped underneath the crossbar, to find the Rovers net.
The Millers were now in full flow and Ogbene terrorised Branden Horton by putting on the afterburners, to leave him in his wake before delivering a centre which was inches away from top scorer Michael Smith as Kyle Knoyle was forced to divert the ball to safety.
Warne’s side were sniffing blood – and following a dominant opening quarter-hour – it was no surprise when they doubled their lead.
The home side failed to clear their lines and Barlaser pounced on the loose ball to advance into the box, before playing a slide-rule pass to find Ogbene, who was in acres of space, and the Republic of Ireland international kept his nerve to pull the ball back to the advancing Wiles, who calmly swept the ball home past the outstretched hand of Mitchell.
The Millers were oozing confidence in all areas of the pitch and Wiles was again in the thick of the action as he cleverly exchanged passes with Miller, before clipping a cross-cum-shot which harmlessly cleared the home crossbar.
Home frustration boiled over when Younger saw yellow for a clip on the lively Ogbene, before the Millers came close to a third goal when a long ball into the box was nodded on by Harding, and Ihiekwe powered a header towards goal, but Mitchell parried the ball into the air, before an offside award released the pressure on the hosts.
The home side were at sixes and sevens and Rotherham almost capitalised on a number of occasions when Miller came close to meeting Smith’s centre but a timely clearance denied him before Mattock, of all people, waltzed into the box to force Mitchell into a point-blank save.
The hosts were still in a daze when Barlaser kept up the pressure to deliver another inviting corner which saw Ihiekwe rise highest to glance narrowly wide of the target.
Half-time: Doncaster Rovers 0 Rotherham United 2
Following the break, Rovers had a rare foray when Mipo Odubeko took advantage of a rare Harding misjudgement but the Millers centre-half redeemed himself with a fine block from his shot on the edge of the box.
Normal service was resumed when Doncaster made a hash of a clearance or two, and Grigg was almost the grateful recipient with a blocked shot, before clipping a cross which sailed over the head of an unmarked Smith, just yards out.
Rovers were a much improved outfit – without troubling the visitors goal – but Rathbone almost put the game to bed with a direct run which went unchallenged, before he got the ball from under his feet to dig out a shot which whistled just wide of the upright.
Doncaster failed to heed the warning, though, as Rotherham sealed the deal with a third and fourth goal – with less than twenty minutes remaining.
Firstly, a long ball forward was cushioned superbly on his chest by Smith, who played a ball across the Rovers box, and with Wiles involved to keep the move alive, Ogbene showed fleet of foot to cut inside before striking an effort with his weaker left-foot, and the ball arrowed into the bottom corner giving Mitchell no chance.
The Millers rubbed salt into home wounds when Kayode – just recently introduced – looked to work a crossing position in the box before tumbling under the challenge of Younger, and perhaps harshly, the referee pointed to the spot.
Barlaser was entrusted with the spot kick duties and the Geordie Pirlo had the large, vocal Millers travelling contingent, back up on their feet when he smashed the ball into the corner of the goal from 12 yards wrongfooting Mitchell in the process.
To their credit, Doncaster did not throw in the towel, and home skipper Tommy Rowe tested Josh Vickers, almost for the first time, with a downward header from Matt Smith’s corner, but the Millers ‘keeper was his equal with a smothered save.
It was evening to forget for the hosts and it got worse when Mitchell’s weak punch was capitalised on by Lindsay, who made no mistake to fire through the legs of the home stopper.
It was almost six and a repeat of their early season encounter when Harding blasted over from Kayode’s knock down, in the game’s last act, but it mattered little as Warne’s side took the acclaim of the visiting faithful at the end.
Full-time: Doncaster Rovers 0 Rotherham United 5
Doncaster Rovers 0
Rotherham United 5
Teams: Doncaster- Mitchell, Knoyle, Younger, Olowu, Clayton (Galbraith 46), Rowe, Matt Smith, Seaman, Dodoo (Griffiths 64), Horton (Jackson 46), Odubeko. Unused- Jones, Williams, Martin, Agard
Rotherham- Vickers, Harding, Mattock, Barlaser, Wiles (Lindsay 77), Grigg (Kayode 70), Ogbene (Wood 74), Miller, Rathbone, Ihiekwe, Michael Smith. Unused- Johansson, Ferguson, Odoffin, Ladapo.
Referee- S Oldham
Attendance- 9255 (3255)