Rotherham United match verdict: Millers 1 Cambridge United 0

Jordan Bowery scores. Picture: Richard Parkes
Jordan Bowery scores. Picture: Richard Parkes
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The talk was of shooting stars around AESSEAL New York Stadium last night.

But not on the pitch, where Rotherham United were too good for League Two opposition but couldn’t add the goals their superiority deserved.

Jordan Bowery celebrates

Jordan Bowery celebrates

Striker Jordan Bowery, making a rare start, headed them in front on the stroke of half-time and, despite several near-misses after the break, that was that.

Meteor showers may have lit up the skyline around the Millers’ home later in the evening, but this clash against League Two opposition never threatened to reach the level of galactical.

Not that that will bother Steve Evans’ side one bit. They move on, job done, to their Championship showdown at Nottingham Forest on Saturday eager to put right the wrongs of their opening-day 4-1 home defeat against MK Dons.

I doubt Evans put a rocket up their, well, you know, at half-time, but there was a big improvement in the second half. The goal by Bowery had relaxed the Millers and dented the spirit of the away side.

Evans had made several changes, including handing a debut to right-back Lewis Buxton, finally fit after missing all of pre-season with a calf problem but kept faith in goalkeeper Kelle Roos who had suffered, along with the rest of the Millers defence, against the Dons.

The Dutchman, whose handling and kicking had been assured, didn’t have a save to make for 89 minutes and then, with the game opening up as Cambridge pressed for an equaliser, he showed what he’s really capable of.

Ex-Millers man Conor Newton, on as a substitute, shot hard and low for Roos’ bottom left-hand corner, and the 6ft 5in shot-stopper produced a superb diving save to tip away the effort for a corner.

There was still time for Danny Ward to break clear and fire just wide and for Matt Derbyshire to do the same.

Before then, Lee Frecklington had twice shot wide in a second half dominated by Rotherham and Derbyshire’s deft touch was kept out by U’s keeper Chris Dunn.

In an unremarkable first half, Rotherham saved the best until last.

Fifteen seconds into time added on, Joe Newell, who was a lively attacking threat from left-back, sent over a cross which Bowery headed in from five yards.

Before then, the hard-working Derbyshire had been closest to a breakthrough.

First, his looping header in the 23rd minute finished up on top of the goal.

Then, a minute later, he did well to get on the end of Richie Smallwood’s diagnonal ball only to direct his header straight at Dunn.

The Millers are now in the hat for the second-round draw on Thursday evening.rda

But next up Forest, where Rotherham will hope for league lift-off.

Rotherham United (4-4-2): Roos; Buxton (Richardson 76), Collins, Halford, Newell (G Ward 73); Ledesma, Frecklington, Smallwood, White; Bowery (D Ward 80), Derbyshire. Subs not used: Collin, Thorpe, Green, Maguire.

Cambridge United (3-4-1-2): Dunn; Coulson, Roberts, Taft; Omozusi, Keane, Berry, Taylor (Dunk 64); Simpson (Donaldson 64); Carr (Newton 64), Slew. Subs not used: Beasant, Morrissey, Hughes, Chiedozie.

Goals: Bowery 46 (Rotherham).

Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire).

Attendance: 4,568 (408).