OH yes, there was a game on as well. And it’s fair to say Rotherham’s feelgood factor extended to what they saw on the pitch - which was pretty impressive.
Steve Evans started with a side probably not far off his best one. Keith Hill was shorn of some half-a-dozen of his first team squad but had the bonus of promising contributions from three youngsters, John Stones, Paul Digby and Jordan Clark, who are starting to push through.
It was no surprise, on such an occasion, Rotherham’s players opened eagerly. Inside 30 seconds Daniel Nardiello had shot wide. Nardiello, young Mitchell Rose - who settled in comfortably - Kayode Odejayi and Nardiello again (denied by Ben Alnwick’s good save) all threatened.
Barnsley settled, created space intelligently down the flanks, made openings and Craig Davies was superbly denied by new keeper Scott Shearer.
The ‘honour’ of the first goal at the New York Stadium went to Jacob Mellis on 37 minutes. His fine 20 yard strike was worthy of that historic little footnote after a slick set-up between Jim O’Brien and Davies.
The ‘honour’ of the first equaliser went to David Noble a minute later, neatly tucking home after Nardiello’s short pass.
The ‘honour’ of the first winner, therefore, went to Odejayi in the 45th minute. Set up by a brilliant pass from the impressive Kari Arnason, he rounded Alnwick before rolling the ball home in front of the Barnsley fans.
He might have had another soon after half-time before a raft of substitutions by both sides and young winger Jordan Clark made a mark for the Reds.
Outstanding skill was denied by Jason Taylor’s last minute block before Shearer touched his swivel-shot onto a post.
Nardiello flicked an effort onto the inside of a post, Alnwick clawing the ball away, and young Alec Denton couldn’t finish off Arnason’s pass and an entertaining game ended with Clark’s pass cut out when he unselfishly tried to set up Mido who got a first appearance in a 35 minute cameo.
ROTHERHAM UTD: Shearer; Hunt, Sharps (Bradley 57), Mullins, Wilson (Johnson 87); Noble (Taylor 55), Arnason, Rose (Evans 55); Pringle (Ainsworth 55); Nardiello (Denton 75), Odejayi (Revell 55).
BARNSLEY: Alnwick; Stones,Collins, McNulty, Golbourne; Done (Clark 55), Digby, Mellis (Etuhu 55), O’Brien; Dagnall (Martin 55), Davies (Mido 55).
Referee: Jock Waugh (Sheffield).
Goals: Mellis (37) for Barnsley; Noble (38), Odejayi (45) for Rotherham.