Millers match verdict: Rotherham United 2 Blackburn Rovers 0

Karl Arnason puts Rotherham in front. Picture: Richard Parkes
Karl Arnason puts Rotherham in front. Picture: Richard Parkes
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Some wins are bigger than others.

This Millers one was massive.

They were full value for their victory over opponents who were once champions of the Premier League, and the feel-good factor was restored to Rotherham’s Championship campaign.

Five league matches without a win had inevitably dampened spirits, even though some of their performances had deserved more reward.

Last night, they got what they deserved.

They scored the goals their dominance deserved in the first half, and then manfully stood up to Rovers’ pressure after the break - while remaining a threat in their own right.

Starting with pace and purpose, they needed only five minutes to force themselves in front.

It came from an unlikely source as centre-half Kari Arnason dragged the ball into the bottom right corner as it fell for him, after Luciano Becchio and Ben Pringle had challenged from Paul Taylor’s flag-kick.

He hasn’t put a foot wrong in his own penalty area all season - and now he hasn’t in the opposition one, either.

Three minues later Lee Frecklington could have doubled the advantage as he drove down the right-hand side of the penalty area but the midfield man fired into the side-netting.

The New York Stadium crowd was right behind their team as the Millers continued to impress. Taylor broke down the right, fed Alex Revell and the big man’s inviting curling cross was headed wide by Becchio.

Rotherham had hounded Rovers, managed by Millers old boy Gary Bowyer, throughout the half and persistence paid off as Becchio put the home side 2-0 ahead after 32 minutes.

Pringle lost the ball on the right, but refused to give up and harried former Manchester United youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe to the point where he had to give the ball back to goalkeeper Jason Steele.

Steele’s clearance ricocheted off Becchio into the net, to the delight of the home supporters who later stood to applaud off their team at half-time.

With danger man Rudy Gestede departing injured, Blackburn were restricted to long-range efforts, while a stunning tackle by Joe Skarz on Ben Marshall emphatically snuffed out the danger as the former Sheffield Wednesday man broke through and shaped to shoot.

Rovers came at Rotherham at the start of the second half. Switching to a 4-1-4-1 formation to give them more width, they tested the home side’s mettle with a period of sustained pressure.

But the Millers were up to the task, fighting back with two Revell efforts and one from Frecklington.

When Rovers’ Jordan Rhodes, the target of top-flight clubs and said to be worth anywhere between £15-20 million, fluffed his lines with a clear sight of goal in the 73rd minute, you sensed this was the Millers’ night.

And when Pringle cleared Shane Duffy’s header off the line in the 80th minute, and recalled ’keeper Adam Collin held a deflected Rhodes overhead kick, you knew it was.

There was still time for the Millers to come again, sub Anthony Wordsworth’s header being saved and Becchio heading over from Paul Green’s clever pass.

The Millers’ efforts were given another standing ovation at the end. And, to put things in perspective, remember this...

The last time the Millers moved up to the Championship, under Ronnie Moore, they stayed up and went on to have four successive seasons in the second tier.

Ronnie’s band didn’t win a match until October, and ended September with a 3-0 defeat at home.

Evans’ men have 11 points and three victories from their opening 10 games.

Rotherham United: Collin, Richardson, Broadfoot (Morgan 10), Arnason, Skarz, Taylor (Wordsworth 59), Frecklington, Green, Pringle, Revell (Bowery 82), Becchio. Subs: Loach, Hall, Derbyshire, Clarke-Harris.

Blackburn Rovers: Blackburn Rovers: Steele, Hanley, Rhodes, Marshall, Olsson, Taylor (Henley 76), Duffy, Tunnicliffe, Evans, Conway (King H-T), Gestede (Varney 31). Subs: Eastwood, Henley, Kilgallonk, Williamson, Songo’o.

Goals: Arnason 5, Becchio 32.

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).

Attendance: 9,525 (1,305 away).