Capital punishment for Millers.....
Rotherham United’s woes on the road in the Sky Bet Championship continued as Millwall condemned them to another away defeat, thanks to goals from Ryan Longman, Zian Flemming and Tom Bradshaw.
Matt Taylor’s side are yet to register a point on their travels so far this season and despite a change in formation and personnel, they were second best for large spells of the evening in the capital.
Following their White Rose defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Town last time out, Taylor made three changes to his starting line-up.
Aston Villa loanee Sebastian Revan was handed his Millers debut while Sam Clucas was rewarded for his impressive substitute cameo at the John Smith’s Stadium, by earning a starting berth.
Club-record signing Sam Nombe was asked to spearhead the Rotherham attack from the start for the first time alongside Jordan Hugill.
There were a couple of familiar faces in the home line up. Former Millers loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy started the game while Wes Harding – who left South Yorkshire in the summer – was on the bench.
In wet and windswept conditions, the home side made the early running and Dexter Lembikisa was forced to turn Flemming’s cross to safety before Tyler Blackett was well-stationed to head Longman’s whipped centre behind his own goal.
Minutes later, Fred Onyedinma diverted Norton-Cuffy’s cross away from goal following a fine flowing move by the hosts before Flemming fired a half-volley harmlessly wide of the visitors goal after the Millers had failed to clear the danger.
In the home side’s next attack, Lions skipper Jake Cooper rose highest to meet Longman’s free-kick but Viktor Johansson got his body behind his downward header, although the flag had already been raised.
The Millers – who were employing a new 3-5-2 system - were almost victims of their own downfall when Onyedinma’s errant pass was latched upon by Bradshaw and following interplay involving Flemming and Kevin Nisbet, Bradshaw worked a yard of space on Blackett before firing over the Millers goal.
Nevertheless, Taylor’s side failed to heed the warning as Millwall broke the deadlock on 27 minutes.
Allan Campbell played a pass into the path of Longman, who jinked away from Onyedinma, before letting fly from distance and despite Ollie Rathbone making a last-ditch attempt at a charge down, his effort gathered pace and height as it arrowed past the desperate dive of Johansson to find the far, top corner of the visitors goal.
In the Millers’ first real raid into home territory, Onyedinma nodded wide from Clucas’ corner before Bradshaw headed into the grateful hands of Johansson following Norton-Cuffy’s clipped cross, at the other end.
The Lions were dominating the proceedings and Christ Tiehi bravely put his body on the line to block Campbell’s fierce effort at close quarters before Nisbet failed to make the most of Flemming’s lovely assist when he headed straight at Johansson with the goal at his mercy.
The Millers were hanging onto the coattails of the home side and Johansson was called into action again to smother Campbell’s low, stinging drive from distance before Nisbet fired a fierce free-kick straight into the Rotherham wall.
Taylor’s side were grateful to hear the half time whistle, but not before, Flemming nodded just wide from Norton Cuffy’s cross after Longman had worked the initial opening.
Half-time: Millwall 1 Rotherham United 0
Following a disappointing first half, the Millers made a double change at the break with Hakeem Odoffin and Andre Green introduced at the expense of Nombe and Clucas.
The move almost proved a masterstroke, just minutes into the half, when Rathbone brushed aside the attentions of his marker to find Onyedinma, who struck a lovely first time effort from the edge of the box which beat the outstretched hand of Bartosz Bialkowski to find the bottom corner of the Lions net.
However, any joy soon turned to despair, as the assistant referee had already flagged for offside.
The moment proved a false dawn though as Millwall took a firm grip on the game just before the hour mark, by scoring their second goal.
There looked little danger for the visitors when Duncan Whatmore skipped to the by-line, before delivering a near-post cross. However, Blackett – in an attempt to clear – could only divert the ball to Flemming, on the edge of the box, and the Dutch midfielder kept his nerve to work a shooting position, and he duly obliged, by firing a low, left footed effort which whistled past Johansson.
The Millers had an opportunity to get themselves back in the game almost immediately when Rathbone planted a ball over the top of the Millwall rearguard but Green failed to make a telling connection with a volley and Bialkowski was able to tip the ball away from goal.
Rotherham’s frustration boiled over when Revan saw yellow for a hefty challenge on Whatmore before Longman soon joined him in the book.
The Millers were struggling to make any impression in the attacking parts of the pitch, and it was Millwall, who threatened next, when firstly sub George Saville hooked a ball over following a lung-bursting run from Ryan Leonard before Norton-Cuffy – in his last involvement - skimmed a low effort which Johansson did well to keep out.
In the dying minutes, Johansson was called upon again to deny Watmore with an instinctive save.
However, Millwall rubbed salt into Rotherham wounds with a third goal in stoppage time when an initial shot was blocked, and following a bit of pinball in the Millers box, Bradshaw was the quickest to react, and he toe-poked an effort into the roof of the visitors net.
Full-time: Millwall 3 Rotherham United 0
Rotherham United 0
Teams: Millwall- Bialkowski, Wallace, Cooper, Nisbet (Watmore 55), Bradshaw, Flemming, Longman (Bryan 70), Campbell (Saville 70), Norton-Cuffy (McNamara 82), Leonard, De Norre. Unused- Trueman, Mitchell, Emakhu, Esse, Harding.
Rotherham- Johansson, Lembikisa, Blackett, Clucas (Odoffin 46), Hugill (Eaves 65), Onyedinma, Rathbone, Humphreys, Tiehi, Revan (Appiah 73), Nombe (Green 46). Unused- Phillips, Kelly, McGuckin, Douglas.
Referee- G Eltringham