So, what made the difference this week then?
Was it all the changes? Six in all.
Was it the ‘Gaffer’ being back on site?
Or the impact of new signing Lee Frecklington? Or the return of Kari Arnason?
Was it Rotherham playing well or Aldershot being poor?
Could there have been a lucky omen? The new, smart jacket and trousers combination in use for the first time at an away game. Lucky suits and all that eh?
Well, it was probably a combination of all the above (minus the smart look of course).
All made contributions towards the first away win of the season; the first one under Evans and the first since April 6 at AFC Wimbledon.
In the end 3-0 hardly did them justice or reflected the superiority or even the comfort of it. Certainly three was on the low side. Double would have been a truer reflection.
You can only beat what’s in front of you and the Millers certainly stacked up on all fronts. It wasn’t handed to them but the home side (leaving out Guy Branston and including Troy Brown at the back) struggled and Rotherham might not have less formidable opposition in any remaining away match.
But you have to take advantage and they did so. But for keeper Jamie Young (and a very contentious offisde decision), the home side would have been sunk without trace long before the end.
For recalled Andy Warrington it was barely any busier that his time on the subs’ bench watching Scott Shearer who is now out for around two months after a cartilage operation following a training ground injury when his studs caught in the turf. A couple of good punches and a catch was about the sum of his requirement.
Five others were pitched in too - Tonge, Arnason, Frecklington, Revell (after his three-match ban) and Nardiello. Making way were Hunt, Taylor, O’Connor, Odejayi and Evans.
They all contributed significantly and Frecklington certainly took the eye.
The one-time Lincoln livewire arrived on a month’s loan from Peterborough and was a busy presence in midfield, getting up and down, being involved.
He’s always been someone with an eye for goal, and it took him only three minutes to make a perfectly-timed, late run into the area to meet Ainsworth’s low centre and force a sharp save. On another occasion, he ended in the net himself so close was he to finishing off another Ainsworth centre.
His goal was very well taken and there was a certain surety about it as he teed the ball up 18 yards out and waited for it to drop.
That was after 33 minutes with Rotherham having started well and been on top, the only scare being a deflected shot from Danny Hylton, a player who started this season with an eight-match ban for racial abuse arising from their game against Barnet last March.
A revitalised Nardiello was soon taking the eye and he was really unlucky to have a fifth-minute header (from Pringle’s free-kick) ruled out by what seemed a late offside flag against someone else.
He got through plenty of work ... “I told him when he came off,” said Steve Evans, “that he’d covered every blade of grass. When he covers every blade bar one, then the bar one gets him out of the team.”
Revell won his tussles with Aldershot’s central defenders and, although he had a quieter second half, he rounded off the scoring when helping himself after Young had beaten away a 20 yarder from Ainsworth who had been supplied thanks to determination from Frecklington.
Brave goalkeeping had denied Revell late in the first half while Nardiello had a diving header saved and then, jumping above Morris, sent a header wide of an empty net with the keeper nowhere.
Arnason, who won plenty to set Rotherham going forward, had an effort from a corner cleared off the line right on half-time.
Rotherham went into the break knowing the game was there for the taking.
They surged down the slope after the break and the second goal was inevitable, with Young brilliantly denying Ainsworth then Frecklington twice.
But he could do little about Bob Harris’s nicely-curled 25 yard free-kick on 57 minutes after Frecklington had been downed by Brown as he burst clear, the defender getting
booked. It was the on-loan left-back’s first goal and he deserved it.
That was the moment you knew where the points were heading. Aldershot knew it too and never seriously threatened any sort of comeback although Rotherham always defended stoutly when the home side tried to restore some pride.
You felt Rotherham could score again at any time. Ainsworth should have passed to the unmarked Nardiello but instead dragged his shot wide and Pringle struck a chance over.
Finally, with seven minutes left, Revell put a gloss and a realism onto the scoreline and this team performance can only have done good with regard to several aspects - not least, getting that away-win monkey off their back. Before Saturday, only Rotherham and Barnet hadn’t won away in League Two!