Rotherham United have been knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tonight.
Goals either side of half-time from Jeff Hughes and Conor McLaughlin mean the Millers have been eliminated from two cup competitions in the space of four days. They were also beaten by League Two opposition, Rochdale, in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Nouha Dicko claimed his third goal in four appearances since arriving on loan from Wigan Athletic to cancel out Hughes opener but McLaughlin ultimately had the final say.
Rotherham boss Steve Evans made three changes to his starting line-up for tonight’s clash at Highbury Stadium in the semi-finals of the Northern Section of the JPT.
Evans recalled his three loan signings; James Tavernier, Haris Vuckic and Nouha Dicko. The trio were denied permission by their parent clubs to play in the Millers FA Cup defeat at Rochdale last weekend. Tavernier, Vuckic and Dicko replaced Richard Brindley, Michael Tidser and Joe Skarz. Tidser missed the tie following his red card against Rochdale.
It was the visitors who got off to the better start, with Alex Revell forcing Scott Davies into a smart stop in the third minute.
Dicko, seeking his third goal in four outings, then nodded Ben Pringle’s inviting free kick narrowly wide as Evans side continued to press for the opener.
It was a costly miss as Hughes notched his second goal in as many matches to give Fleetwood an 18th minute lead. The midfielder drilled a shot through Adam Collin’s legs.
After Hughes’ strike, Davies produced a good save to foil Rotherham’s leading goal-scorer Kieran Agard.
Moments before the interval, Millers captain Craig Morgan rose highest to meet Pringle’s corner but he nodded over. Tavernier then tried his luck from distance but his effort deflected off target.
Revell came within a whisker of levelling things up four minutes after the restart as he drive on the turn cannoned off the post.
Rotherham kept pressing and Dicko fed Agard, who fired a powerful right foot shot into the side netting.
But they deservedly equalised through the lively Dicko, who slotted home from close range.
Fleetwood nearly regained the lead just before the hour mark but Gareth Evans, formerly of Rotherham, flashed a free kick inches wide after a foul by Pringle.
Collin then came to Rotherham’s rescue, producing a superb stop to deny Antoni Sarcevic.
However, Collin was unable to keep out McLaughlin’s unstoppable 30 yard strike in the 69th minute.
The Millers nearly responded instantly to falling behind for a second time but Agard blazed off target when well placed.
In the dying minutes, Davies brilliantly tipped over Lee Frecklington’s 20-yard drive and he also thwarted Tavernier to compound the Millers woe.
*Fleetwood Town: Davies; McLaughlin, Roberts, Pond, Taylor; Blair, Schumacher, Hughes, Evans; Sarcevic; Tyson. Subs: Murdoch, Brown, Cresswell, Carr, Lucas.
*Rotherham United: Collin; Bradley, Morgan, Arnason, Tavernier; Agard, Frecklington, Pringle; Vuckic; Dicko, Revell. Subs: Shearer, Brindley, Davis, Tubbs, Rowe.
Referee: Scott Duncan (Tyneside).