Full-time: Rotherham United 2 Hull City 0

Joe Newell against Hull CityJoe Newell against Hull City
Joe Newell against Hull City
The manager was brave, and how it paid off for Rotherham United as they beat promotion-chasing Hull City in their final game before Christmas.

Boss Neil Redfearn made changes after the midweek defeat at Huddersfield Town, including dropping leading scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris, and was rewarded with the Millers' best Championship performance of the season.

Danny Ward was chosen as a lone striker and ran his heart out in the 2-0 victory which will do so much to lift Rotherham spirits in their bid to escape the drop zone.

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Danny Ward in possessionDanny Ward in possession
Danny Ward in possession

The Millers were full of endeavour and deserved their win as skipper Lee Frecklington smacked in a first-half penalty and Joe Newell fired in a beauty in the second half.

There were brave, committed performances all over the pitch as the home players responded to Redfearn's Tuesday-night criticism.

Hull hit the woodwork twice after the break through Chuba Akpom, but the Millers could have added a third in the dying seconds when Grant Ward's piledriver was pushed out by visiting keeper Allan McGregor.

Redfearn had labelled the performance at the John Smith's Stadium "criminal" and got exactly the response he was looking for.

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Clarke-Harris was dropped along with defenders Lewis Buxton and Danny Collins, with Stephen Kelly making a welcome return from his calf injury at right-back, teenager Farrend Rawson, back after a groin op at centre-half and Luke Hyam brought into midfield.

The only worry on a wonderful Millers afternoon was Kelly appearing to pick up another injury and not coming out for the second half.

Rotherham United (4-2-3-1): Camp; Kelly (Buxton H-T), Rawson, Broadfoot, Mattock; Smallwood, Hyam; G Ward, Frecklington (Andreu 84), Newell; D Ward (Clarke-Harris 80). Subs not used: Collin, Collins, Green, Derbyshire.

Hull City (4-4-2): McGregor; Odubajo (Diame 55), Davies, Maguire, Robertson; Elmohamady, Meyler (Huddlestone 67), Livermore, Maloney; Akpom, Hernández (Diomande 67). Subs not used: Jakupovi?, Taylor, Clucas, Hayden.

Goals: Frecklington pen 27, Newell 57.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

Attendance: 10,355 (2,571).