The big man making an even bigger impact for the Millers: Rotherham United 3 Bury 2

Goal joy for Kieffer Moore and Richard Wood. Pictures: Dean Atkins
Goal joy for Kieffer Moore and Richard Wood. Pictures: Dean Atkins
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He ran back on to the AESSEAL New York Stadium turf, a wounded, bloodied hero, to cheers almost as loud as the ones which had greeted his deadly double.

Rotherham United followers like it when hitman Kieffer Moore is on the pitch, not in the bowels of New York having stitches put in a head wound.

The 63rd-minute ovation which marked his return to the fray was tumultuous.

By then, he already had two goals in his pocket, along with the Bury centre-halves who couldn’t handle the Millers’ man mountain despite their attempts to dish out the rough stuff.

Another loanee, Richie Towell, making his home debut, hit the stunning last-gasp winner which sparked a mass team celebration by the left corner flag in front of the equally-ecstatic North Stand.

But Moore, not for the first time, was the main man.

His six goals in six games make him the joint top scorer in League One, while his average of one every 74 minutes is the best of any hitman in the division.

Fans sang his name to the tune and words of an old song once reserved for another Moore quite famous in these parts, former prolific centre-forward and double-promotion-winning manager Ronnie.

Today’s boss, Paul Warne, jokingly, always plays down his striker’s contribution, aware that the asking price of parent club Ipswich Town is no doubt rising with every strike.

“He’s all right,” Warne dead-panned. “I have seen a lot better. But I have to play him, as Procs (Jamie Proctor) is injured.

Two-goal Kieffer Moore

Two-goal Kieffer Moore

“I think you are only as good as your strikers in the team because it builds play and confidence. He’s a handful and he took an absolute leathering again.”

Kieffer, all 6ft 5in of him, is making a big, big impact.

THE MATCH

The Warne kids, son Mack and daughter Riley, were good-naturedly tearing around the now-empty West Stand while their dad was in the dressing room after the game telling his men they could be “on the precipice of being great”.

Jon Taylor hits the side-netting

Jon Taylor hits the side-netting

They ran this way and that, constant motion, no thought of taking a breather, refusing to tire.

Who do they think they are? Millers players?

Rotherham dominated most of this match and were clearly the superior side as they moved up to 11th in the table with back-to-back league victories for the first time since the 2016 days of the Neil Warnock Championship survival miracle.

They showed energy and character to score an 89th minute winner after twice letting letting in Bury for soft equalisers against the run of play. Warne was delighted with the former and will work them hard on the latter.

Vaulks, twice, Richard Wood and Ryan Williams had missed chances when Moore struck in the 20th minute, controlling Vaulks’ superb ball over the top with an exquisite touch before sliding the ball past Shakers goalkeeper Joe Murphy.

Jon Taylor rounded Murphy but shot wide of an open goal 14 minutes later and within seconds Bury were level as Jermaine Beckford headed home their first opportunity of the game, created by Ryan Lowe’s cross.

Mob scenes as the Millers win it late on

Mob scenes as the Millers win it late on

With Bury manager Lee Clark watching from the stand after being sent off for aggressive behaviour towards referee Chris Sarginson at half-time, Moore, literally, was head and shoulders above anybody else as he rose at the far post to head in Taylor’s 54th-minute supply and the Ronnie-turned-Kieffer chant rang out in the New York rain.

“The worst thing about the game was that Kieffer took his shirt off about ten yards from my missus and I saw the way she looked at him,” Warne said. “It’s probably the same way I would look at him, to be honest! He’s in great shape and looks after himself and deserves the credit that he gets.”

The visitors squared up proceedings again in the 66th-minute as substitute striker Michael Smith, who made a big difference after replacing Lowe, headed a free-kick back across goal and Nathan Cameron applied the finish with his head.

Cue Towell’s big moment.

Just a minute of the regulation 90 was left when he latched on to fellow sub David Ball’s touch and lashed an unstoppable low shot into the far corner to give the Millers the three-point return they deserved.

NEW BOYS

Forty-three goals in 34 matches for Dundalk earned Towell a move to Brighton and Hove Albion and the 26-year-old, on as a 40th-minute sub when Vaulks went to right-back in place of injured Shaun Cummings, hasn’t lost the knack.

The instant, unerring strike for the late winner suggests Rotherham might just have found a midfield goal threat to match Lee Frecklington in his pomp.

The pressure was on, but the man making his home debut was up to the task. No flapping from this Towell, just an instinctive, quality finish.

Warne handed a first start to keeper Marek Rodak who was blameless for both Shakers goals and made an important stop from Mihai Dobre’s 70th-minute effort.

Towell, the one-time Celtic player who showed quick feet and a knack of doing the right thing throughout his performance, said: “I just remember a long ball from the keeper.

“I’m always wanting to get forward and gamble. It went to Bally, who got something on it, and I just struck it first time. I had a feeling it was going in. It was great to see it hit the back of the net.”

On any other day, the headlines would have been his alone.

But not on this one.

All together now ... “When he gets the ball, he’s bound to score, Kieffer, Kieffer Moore.”

Player ratings and match stats

Substitute David Ball

Substitute David Ball