Rotherham United 0
o better example of how difficult it often is away from home came on this ground a couple of weeks ago when League Two saw off the Premier League (in the shape of Newcastle United) in the FA Cup. And Stevenage were in the bottom half of the division at that!
So, the Millers were forewarned about the possibility of a difficult night and the greater difficulty they had was in trying to break down stubborn Stevenage before the home side killed them off with two goals in the final five minutes.
The key moment still remained the minute before half-time when Stevenage edged in front and then resisted all Rotherham’s attempts to get level. It means a third straight defeat for the Millers and now four without a win. This was their heaviest defeat of the season.
There were two changes for them, the enforced one with Danny Harrison in for suspended Jason Taylor whilst Kevin Ellison came in for Mark Randall.With no obvious hangover initially from Saturday’s defeat at Wycombe, Rotherham made the first opportunity courtesy of an excellent pass from Marshall which curled into the path of Le Fondre but looking for a touch and then a finish, the attempted control saw the ball run away from him.
Goalkeeper Day was fortunate when he punched away from Law’s centre and it dropped just wide of the lurking Ellison. Stevenage had to wait 20 minutes for their first real sniff and Beardsley should have done better but he failed to connect with his shot on the turn when in space to meet Winn’s pass.
A Fenton header went straight at Day before Mullins’ speed of recovery enabled him to make an important block on a shot on the turn by Bridges. The half ended with a flurry of action and Rotherham falling behind. Stevenage, noted for their set-pieces, got Beardsley in space when a Winn free kick came in but he headed a decent chance over.
Then Law stepped in with a good interception when Winn got behind the defence and pulled the ball back for the waiting Beardsley. However, the next long ball from the home side undid the Millers. Fenton got above Beardsley but the ball skidded off his head and Winn raced onto it. He came inside Mullins on the edge of the area and rifled a fierce effort past Warrington’s left hand and inside his near post.
Rotherham’s immediate response might have seen them equalise. Law got Ellison free on the left, his looping centre beyond the far post was met by Marshall but Day got down to make the block - and even as Rotherham reflected on the near miss, Stevenage swept to the other end and Bostwick drove not far wide of the far post.
It meant the Millers had to chase the game in the second half which suited Stevenage down to the ground. The pattern was set and 12 minutes into the half Le Fondre was so close to ending his goal drought.
Green’s ball towards the area was miscued but arrived with Le Fondre 18 yards out. He struck a left foot volley and the effort had Day beaten but missed the far post by a fraction.
The next opportunity followed shortly afterwards. Taylor’s header from a corner caused problems, Ellison’s attempted overhead was deflected towards Harrison 15 yards out but he skied his effort over the top.
With 20 minutes left Ronnie Moore made a double change, Randall for Harrison and Warne for Ellison as they continued to try and break down stubborn opposition who know their strengths and play to them.
But the Millers simply could not break them down, there was always the threat of a goal on the break and two goals in the final five minutes rubbed it in.
Wilson did well on the right before setting up a tap in for sub Harrison and the third was a classic breakaway and when the ball was rolled back to Laird 25 yards out he measured a superb left footer over Warrington and in off the bar.