Ten-men Rotherham United were denied a spirited point at MK Dons, as they conceded a heart-breaking late winner.
Against a side who had not lost at home, Rotherham were protecting an unbeaten away league record, not a bad start at all from the League One newcomers.
The changes by Steve Evans also saw a change of formation, and they began with five across midfield but were to change it about 15 minutes in.
It was the home side who opened brightly and would have scored in the fifth minute but for Shearer.
Intricate play ended with Bamford being put clear inside the area. He looked sure to score, but Shearer deflected the shot with his leg and it looped up behind him and dropped onto the roof of the net.
Rotherham were almost caught out from a corner, and Morgan was alert to the danger to throw himself in front of Flanagan’s shot.
Brindley, lying in the centre circle, looked in some discomfort but was able to recover after treatment to his knee. As expected, MK were moving the ball about confidently but Rotherham should have gone in front from their first threat.
Frecklington won possession, found Pringle and he slid a pass through for Revell. He was always getting to it before the keeper, but his touch wasn’t quite strong enough and Martin managed to get enough of a desperate hand on the ball to foil the striker.
Rotherham then produced their own slick football, and went close at the end of the move.
The move ended with a sharp ball from Milsom, to find Skarz. His centre caused problems and when the ball came loose, Frecklington struck from 22 yards and it wasn’t far wide.
O’Connor was rather harshly booked after appearing to win the ball, against Bamford. Then the home side missed a great chance.
Bamford’s short pass put Banton clear, but with only the keeper to beat, he curled his effort beyond the far post.
Then, O’Connor pounced on Potter 25 yards out, won possession and was wrestled to the ground. However, Revell picked up possession, and went clear into the area, only for Martin to block his shot.
For his offence against O’Connor, Potter, the former Owls midfielder, was booked.
Brindley was booked for fouling Banton, and then referee Madley showed another yellow, this time to Williams for fouling Agard.
Rotherham had big shouts for a penalty when O’Connor’s shot was on target, but Flanagan’s arm got in the way and took the sting out of it as Rotherham screamed for a spot-kick.
The home side instantly broke away, Powell’s shot was well saved by Shearer and Bamford would have had a tap-in but for Morgan’s challenge which diverted the ball back to the keeper.
Frecklington was booked before Revell struck another effort over the top and, right on half-time, Rotherham were reduced to ten men and went a goal down.
Bamford lifted the ball over everyone, into the area, and O’Connor tangled with Gleeson who went down.
The referee awarded the penalty, and showed a red card to O’Connor for preventing a goalscoring opportunity - meaning he misses Tuesday’s home game against Tranmere.
And WILLIAMS saw his penalty squeeze under the dive of Shearer.
It was a real blow for the Millers, but they should have levelled instantly. However, Revell messed up the opportunity. Having gone clear, he surprisingly tried to square the ball for Frecklington, instead of shooting, and the pass was intercepted.
Steve Evans made a change at half time and, in view of the missed chances, it was Revell who came off, to be replaced by Eaves.
It could have got worse for Rotherham’s ten men in the opening minute when Bamford got away. But Shearer blocked the shot.
Millers boss Evans wasn’t on the touchline giving rise to speculation that he had been invited to sit in the stand. He had certainly been vocal in his comments and there is no doubt that referee Madley had done little to enhance his reputation.
Rotherham were playing 4-3-2 as they tried to get back in the game and they were certainly working hard to try and do so, but they went two down on 65 minutes and Shearer, who had made some good saves, was at fault.
Powell delivered low from the right, and the keeper got both hands on the cross but couldn’t hold on and it gave an easy tap in for REEVES.
During a break in play, for treatment to Flanagan, there was seemingly some bother amongst the Millers fans who were standing at the back of the away contingent.
Amazingly, Rotherham’s ten men pulled level with two goals in two minutes.
On 72 minutes, Morgan’s cross saw FRECKLINGTON on the run steer his header past the keeper.
Two minutes later, a long ball from Shearer had FLANAGAN in trouble and under pressure, his header looped beyond his own keeper and into the net right in front of the 1,400 joyous Millers fans.
It had been a tremendous second-half effort by Rotherham’s ten men and it took a wonder goal to beat them when, with three minutes to go, BAMFORD struck a superb effort from 20 yards into the top corner.