MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 1 Shewsbury 3

Dodgy decision: Rotherham caretaker boss Andy Liddell confronts the officials at half-time at the Don Valley Stadium.
Dodgy decision: Rotherham caretaker boss Andy Liddell confronts the officials at half-time at the Don Valley Stadium.
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THIS was down to earth with a bump and a salutary lesson as well.

Hard work has been the starting-point mantra but it got undermined here by a defensive error, a missed handling offence by the referee and a comical gift ‘killer’ third goal.

Utterly dejected: Danny Harrison after Shrewsbury's third goal.

Utterly dejected: Danny Harrison after Shrewsbury's third goal.

A spirited effort lifted things from the desolation of the 3-0 scoreline and Adam Le Fondre’s 22nd of the season produced a vestige of hope but Shrewsbury were the big winners and jumped into the automatic promotion places.

Rotherham, due to Port Vale winning, are now ninth.

Millers followers found neither Nick Fenton nor Ryan Cresswell on the teamsheet.

Fenton was not risked whilst Cresswell was injured in training which meant a rare start for Luke Ashworth in this vital clash.

In contrast, Shrewsbury were able to make a change of choice in centre defence bringing in new loan signing Neil Canavan, from Scunthorpe, who was on international duty with the Republic of Ireland U21s last weekend. He partnered former Millers man Ian Sharps, who spent four years with the South Yorkshire outfit before leaving last summer after the club’s play-off final defeat to Dagenham.

The Millers made some promising early inroads. Bradley fired over from 20 yards after a slick move involving Thomas-Moore and Law before the same two set up Bradley, a lay back and Harrison’s 22 yarder went over.

Then came a clear chance for the Millers on 15 minutes.

Thomas-Moore glanced on, Taylor was in behind the defence but Smith came out to block with his legs.

Shrewsbury, pacy up front, then got that vital first goal from their first real threat on 20 minutes.

As the ball bounced up in the area, Collins forced his round Ashworth as the defender unbalanced and fell.

Warrington had no chance with the volley.

Inside two minutes, the hosts could easily have been two down.

A breakaway saw Collins clear down the right. He had Wright in front of an empty net but Law, who had run back a long way, prevented a certain goal by his interception in the centre.

It unnerved Rotherham for a spell and, naturally, Shrewsbury grew in confidence.

An opportunist long ranger from Thomas-Moore was wide before the visitors escaped when Law got in a low centre but behind the Millers attackers and it was scrambled away.

Then came a decisive moment three minutes from half-time with ref Phillips missing a handling offence by Collins. When the ball came back to Collins, Ashworth toppled him on the edge of the area.

Rotherham protested about the ‘missed’ handball before ex-Barnsley midfielder Wroe struck home the spot kick.

The unfortunate Ashworth was replaced at half-time in centre defence by Jason Taylor but a real comic goal straight after half-time killed the Millers.

Warrington came out wide to the edge of his area, his kicked clearance thumped into Bradshaw and rebounded across the area to the unmarked Collins who simply walked it into the empty net.

Daley and Le Fondre went on to perk things and on 69 minutes, Raven stumbled in possession and Daley robbed him to set up Le Fondre for a crisp finish.

However, Shrewsbury had enough in hand to see it out.

ROTHERHAM UNITED: Warrington, Tonge, Ashworth (J Taylor, ht), Mullins, Newey; Law, Bradley, Harrison, Marshall

(Daley 69); R.Taylor,Thomas-Moore (Le Fondre 69). Subs: Green, Brogan, Henderson, Annerson.

SHREWSBURY TOWN: Smith; Raven, Sharps, Canavan, Sadler; Wright, Wroe, Davies, Taylor (Ainsworth 80); Collins,

Bradshaw. Subs: Cansdell-Sheriff, McIntyre, Goldson, Disley, Neal.

REFEREE: Dave Phillips (West Sussex).

ATTENDANCE: 3,471

GOALS: Collins (20, 48), Wroe (42 pen); for Shrews; Le Fondre (69) for Millers.