A magnificent all-round team performance - faultless in its defensive application, tireless in its effort and ruthless in its attacking - saw Rotherham destroy second-placed Brentford with a memorable performance at the New York Stadium.
Rotherham destroy second-placed Brentford with a memorable performance at the New York Stadium.
It was a compelling performance and as complete a display as the Millers have put on this season against a side who arrived with only one defeat in 25.
Rotherham confronted them all over the pitch and with a bit more luck would have won by a bigger margin. The result extended Rotherham’s unbeaten run to 14 and cut their deficit to Brentford in second to seven points.
From the start it was absorbing stuff. Brentford, just one defeat since October, oozed confidence. Their passing crisp, their movement quick.
But if the Millers knew they were up against a good side well worthy of second place, Brentford soon realised that they had a real game on as well and that Rotherham’s fourth place was definitely no fluke.
A sharp save by Adam Collin just touched wide a snapshot from Clayton Donaldson.
But Rotherham’s response all over the pitch was top drawer and they got the great boost of an early lead on 13 minutes. James Tavernier’s sharpness enticed a challenge from Alan Judge and a penalty resulted - Rotherham’s 10th of the season, the joint highest number in the division. Kieran Agard calmly sent David Button the wrong way his sixth successful spot kick.
In League One terms the football on show was of the highest order. Rotherham, composed and defending sensibly, kept this fine Brentford side at bay. It was more than the Bees could do as Rotherham troubled them.
Alex Revell flashed a header just over from a super cross by Nicky Adams. Then James Tavernier rattled the post with a 22 yard free-kick.
Adams struck an angled effort over before the Millers doubled their lead right on half-time. Revell and Agard combined. It ended with Ben Pringle’s low centre being laid aside by Adams for Agard, who fired in his 20th goal of the season.
A bit more conviction on a header from Tavernier’s free-kick and Agard would have had his hat-trick early in the second half.
Brentford were being hounded at every turn.
Adams, a menace all night, wriggled clear into the area only to be denied by a great challenge from Craig and then the winger tricked his man for a stunning cross to which Agard rose and headed just over.
Brentford were hanging on at times. Then Rotherham were forced to defend with every bit of awareness and concentration. They gave everything in terms of effort.
Frecklington was inches from finishing Brentford with a 20 yarder following a short corner but substitute Haris Vuckic did so with a low 12 yarder inside the near post in stoppage time - and they deserved every decibel of the thunderous ovation at the end for a great team effort.
*Rotherham united: Collin 9; Tavernier 9 Morgan 9, Arnason 9, Skarz 9; Adams 9, Frecklington 9, Smallwod 9, Pringle 9 (Milsom 87); Agard 9 (Vuckic 90+1) , Revell 9. Subs: Shearer, Davis, Addison, O’Connor, Hitchcock.
*BRENTFORD: Button; McCormack, Craig, Dean, Bidwell; Reeves, Forshaw (Yennaris 66), Douglas, Judge (Adams 86); Donaldson, Trotta (Grigg 74). Subs: Lee, O’Connor, Dalas, Tarkowski.
*Goals: Agard 13 pen, 45, Vuckic 90+2.