Portsmouth 3 Rotherham United 2 - Millers fall short in south coast thriller
Freddie Ladapo’s double was not enough to save Rotherham from defeat in a five-goal thriller at Fratton Park.
The Millers, fourth in League One, got off to the worst possible start as Portsmouth took the lead with only 33 seconds played.
Former player Ryan Williams found Ronan Curtis in space on the edge of the penalty are and the Irishman bent a delicious finish into the top right corner.
Rotherham reacted well to the early setback and Kyle Vassell forced a smart save from home goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray with a well-placed shot from outside the box in the 11th minute.
The visitors were level four minutes later courtesy of Ladapo’s third goal in as many games after scoring twice in Saturday’s 3-2 win at MK Dons.
MacGillivray found Daniel Barlaser’s free-kick too hot to handle and Ladapo was on hand to turn home the rebound from close range.
Defender Trevor Clarke could have put Rotherham in front in the 20th minute but failed to keep his header down after being picked out by a Carlton Morris cross.
Ladapo called MacGillivray into action again seven minutes later with a drilled shot from an acute angle.
The Millers had a big let-off moments later when Pompey midfielder Ben Close blazed over the crossbar after being teed up by Ellis Harrison.
But there was no escape for Rotherham eight minutes before half-time as former Doncaster striker John Marquis restored the hosts’ lead by turning in Harrison’s header from yards out.
Marquis should have extended Pompey’s advantage in first-half stoppage time but headed tamely at Daniel Iversen from a Curtis cross.
Pompey had the ball in the net again three minutes after half-time but the goal was ruled out for Harrison’s foul on goalkeeper Iversen.
The Millers were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute when Morris was brought down by Oli Hawkins and Ladapo made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 2-2.
Rotherham’s joy last just four minutes before Close put Pompey in front for a third time with an 18-yard volley after the visitors had failed to clear a corner.
Paul Warne’s men were forced to see out the final 15 minutes with ten men after Billy Jones hobbled off injured with the Millers having used all three substitutes.
Rotherham came agonisingly close to a last-gasp equaslier when Jamie Lindsay’s shot deflected inches wide five minutes from time.
Portsmouth: MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Hawkins, Burgess, Brown; Close, Walkes; Williams (Harness 78), Marquis, Curtis; Harrison.
Subs: Bass, Downing, Bolton, Cannon, Evans, Pitman
Rotherham: Iversen; Olosunde (Ogbene 45), Ihiekwe, Robertson, Jones; Morris, Barlaser (Lindsay 73), Wiles, Clarke; Vassell, (Crooks 73) Ladapo.
Subs: Price, Thompson, Hastie, Smith.
Referee: Antony Coggins