Rotherham United produced a superb second half show to earn a South Yorkshire derby victory against Sheffield United.
Prior to kick off, most eyes were trained up towards the Directors’ Box where the suited and bespectacled Prince Abdullah took his place alongside Kevin McCabe who quickly pointed out the South End where the Blades following was congregated.
It was an unusual and rare circumstance in that the Blades arrived in Rotherham below the Millers in the table by a several places and a few points. The last time that will have happened was the last time Rotherham managed a home win against their neighbours, in February 1981 when they went up and United went down.
The Blades, without a goal in three games, were inches from one in the third minute.
Cuvelier was impeded by Morgan around 25 yards out. McMahon curled the free-kick for the near side and it came back off the bar. When Davis went to clear, the ball bounced up and struck his hand and there were furious claims for a penalty.
A deep ball from Milsom saw Howard leave his line towards the side of goal. However, Brindley got there first and hooked the ball high towards the far post where Maguire put it behind.
Then came a great opportunity. Frecklington pounced on a loose ball inside his own half and suddenly burst through the centre and found himself going clear. However he couldn’t find the extra gear to keep clear and as Maguire got back at him, the midfielder finished with a weak shot.
Morgan picked up a booking for downing Hill and the Rotherham skipper was limping when he resumed.
The Blades had been playing their measured game and Rotherham really hadn’t got into any rhythm or tempo and the visitors posed a threat when Baxter and Hill linked and it needed Frecklington to clear hurriedly to prevent Baxter shooting.
A spell of pressure ended with Frecklington delivering from the right, Milsom arrived late into the box for a clear header but put it over the top into the Blades fans.
Then, on 34 minutes, the Blades went in front and, for their extra purpose, they deserved it.
It started with McMahon’s throw near the right corner flag. BAXTER slipped past a challenge and from the narrowest of angle struck a shot which appeared to get a slight deflection and ended up in the far corner.
It sparked something of a response from Rotherham but Collins was strong again in the air. Pringle then wasted a free-kick, putting it straight into Howard’s arms. The visitors, bang in command at the back and bossing Revell so far, deserved their half-time lead and hadn’t let the Millers into the game.
Rotherham suffered a blow when central defender Morgan, injured when fouling Hill early on, stayed off. Nardiello replaced him.
The Millers should have equalised inside 90 seconds. Pringle delivered a super ball, Revell took a touch but then fluffed his finish and Collins deflected it wide.
On 51 minutes they were level. AGARD pounced on a loose ball around 25 yards out. He struck a tremendous shot which went straight over Howard if not through his hands, probably swerving as it did so.
The Millers had certainly upped their tempo this half both on and off the ball.
Maguire twice got himself in trouble and Hill eventually rescued matters, robbing Frecklington on the edge of the area.
Rotherham, far more urgent, were also looking more threatening and Frecklington fired low at Howard after linking with Pringle.
David Weir made a double change replacing Porter and Flynn with Taylor and, on debut, Bunn.
However, with 18 minutes left Rotherham’s much improved performance saw them go in front with a penalty
Nardiello turned skilfully to open things up and was bundled over by McMahon who protested his innocence. NARDIELLO thumped the penalty to Howard’s left.
Three minutes later, the stadium was bouncing when it was 3-1.
It was a dreadful error from Maguire. He dallied, gave the ball away to Revell who rolled it square to MILSOM and he drove it home low from 18 yards for his first goal for the club.
The only other time the Millers had beaten both Sheffield clubs in the same season was back in season 1951/52.
The attendance of 11,758 is a record for the New York Stadium