Rotherham United were unlucky to only win this game 1-0, after completely dominating Notts County at Meadow Lane.
Notts County did the better, coming from two down at Anfield to force extra-time - but, of course, had the day’s extra rest, Rotherham playing on Wednesday. So, with the potentially draining effect such games can have, who would recover the better - or be affected the most?
As at Villa Park, the Millers had another big, vocal support and that was sure to help energise the team.
But it was a sprightly start, not a sluggish one, with Rotherham pushing on Frecklington ahead of the midfield four and behind Revell.
A long throw from Arnason had Notts defending less than solidly. When the ball dropped just outside the area, O’Connor closed in for a shot only for Frecklington to deny the opportunity by intervening and passing the ball out wide. Notts had another anxious moment from a Revell and Agard link. Then it was Rotherham’s turn for anxiety.
Frecklington, trying to find O’Connor, gave the ball away. Bell took over and his powerful 20 yarder was beaten away by Shearer.
When Campbell-Ryce then flashed the ball across the six yard area, smart defending at the far post by Breadley sorted things out. Involvement from Agard ended with Frecklington lining up a 22 yarder and firing over.
A better opportunity presented itself when a square ball found Frecklington unmarked 15 yards out. Surprisingly he declined the first time shooting chance on offer and tried to find Agard, but he was shut out.
Campbell-Ryce received treatment for a knock but was unbable to continue and was replaced by Coombes, scorer of County’s equaliser at Liverpool.
Notts seemed a touch cautious and somewhat reluctant, as the home side, to carry the game to the Millers and seemed more content to look to break quickly from deep.
Rotherham emerged from a spot of defending to to go in front on 37 minutes, the first time they have scored first in a league game this season.
It began with Frecklington heading away a free-kick and O’Connor’s long ball then sent Agard racing away with Dumbuya who handled the ball and was booked.
O’Connor, from the left, whipped in an inswinging free-kick. A bunch of players went for it on the edge of the six yard area, the ball rebounded away and AGARD pounced to rifle in, his shot striking a defender on its way in.
Frecklington then headed wide from a Bradley cross before Rotherham should have been two up.
Bialkowski dropped a high cross from Bradley and Pringle had a gaping goal. But his miscued shot hit the keeper, looped behind him and when Leacock cleared, Pringle had another chance only to shoot straight at the keeper.
As Rotherham finished strongly and well on top, O’Connor’s free-kick found Agard all alone eight yards out and his header went straight into the grateful arms of Bialkowski.
Rotherham would have been looking to carry their latter dominance into the second half and they started on the front foot.
Milsom, in his quiet way, used a couple of passes to prompt an attack and then got free up the left to carry it on. His centre saw Agard send a header goalwards.
As Bradley got up for an Arnason centre at the far post, he looked to have his shirt pulled. Rotherham’s best move should have seen their lead extended. It ripped Notts open ending with Pringle and Revell who sent Agard clear only for his shot to deflect over off Bialkowski.
It was all Rotherham. Notts were struggling to contain them and when Revell got up the right, Frecklington was unable to finish. Notts had barely had a kick this half and they replaced Fotheringham with Boucaud.
There was a clear problem for Bradley when, as a ball soared high over his head, he turned and then painfully clutched his groin. He couldn’t continue and Brindley replaced him.
The home side were struggling to get out of their own half with any meaningful threat but they did manage a rare shot when Coombes fired wide when a quick free-kick caught Rotherham napping.
It was one of those games where one side, in this case the Millers, looked to have more men on the pitch than the other. But they still had not put this game to bed despite their dominance.
With 11 minutes left, Rotherham lost Arnason to injury when he cleared the ball and then appeared to hold his buttock. He couldn’t carry on and so Mills went on.