Match Report: Rotherham United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Ben Pringle celebrates his goal against Wednesday
Ben Pringle celebrates his goal against Wednesday
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A great night for the Millers and the first magical cup night for the New York Stadium to pop into its history books.

On the other hand a disastrous night for Wednesday. They could have no complaints whatsoever over the result, were palpably second best in the first half and although they had a go in the second half, their misery was compounded by the sending off of Jermaine Johnson 12 minutes from time for an alleged headbutt.

But nothing should detract from the fact it was Rotherham’s night and the effort, passion and commitment that manager Steve Evans demanded was there in full.

Wednesday, so often victorious when they turn up in Rotherham, will want to forget this which was Rotherham’s first home win over them since 1976.

Each side made three changes with Steve Evans leaving out the experience of Claude Davis in a game like this. He brought in Mark Bradley, Kieran Agard and gave a first start to Matt Tubbs.

For Wednesday, there was an instant debut for Rafael Floro at left back after his international clearance yesterday whilst Jacques Maghoma got his first start. Rhys McCabe came into midfield.

There was a 15 minute delay to the kick off to accommodate all the latecomers but no delay in getting stuck into the action as both sets of fans ramped up the atmosphere.

However, it was the Millers who really flew out of the traps, taking the lead with a cracking strike after just nine minutes and Wednesday were on the back foot in the opening 20 minutes.

They needed something to quell Rotherham’s early enthusiasm and energy and got it with their first meaningful threat and an equaliser from Rhys McCabe on 22 minutes. It set up a cracking cup-tie.

Before then it had been all Rotherham.

It had required a fine block from the advancing Chris Kirkland to deny Tubbs after he had burst onto Alex Revell’s header. But the relief was brief.

A long throw from Kari Arnason saw Craig Morgan challenge. Tubbs got a touch out towards Ben Pringle and with an almost nonchalant strike, he thundered an angled left-footer past Kirkland high into the far corner.

Lee Frecklington followed up by striking a 20 yarder over the top before Morgan had a header held by Kirkland from another long throw.

Wednesday could hardly have been surprised at the League One side’s high octane start.

They needed to get a foothold in the game and McCabe’s low 30 yard free-kick provided it.

It took some of the sting out of the Millers but they began to threaten again and Anthony Gardner produced two tremendous bits of defending, one of them denying Revell.

But Rotherham were not to be denied much longer.

Again an Arnason long throw was at the heart of it and before Frecklington struck a superb right footer from 22 yards which flew beyond Kirkland. The Millers were buzzing again but Wednesday were stung into action and Jacques Maghoma, playing in behind Atdhe Nuhiu, forced Scott Shearer to save at the second attempt.

Then the keeper dashed a long way to go down at the feet of Michail Antonio as he raced onto a long ball.

Even so, it needed Kirkland to block Arnason’s header from a corner to prevent Wednesday’s half-time deficit being worse.

Wednesday needed improvement and the initial attempt to bring it about involved a positional switch - Maghoma going wide and Antonio going centrally.

Another change soon followed, Gary Madine replacing Nuhiu and then another, Jermaine Johnson for Maghoma. The game had changed too and it was now Wednesday forcing the pace and they needed to get some momentum.

But Rotherham were giving it everything and when Revell won yet another header, Tubbs had space but miscued his effort.

McCabe showed his free-kick skills again, this time with when he went for a curler from 25 yards but was over the top.

With 20 minutes left, Dave Jones went for broke, sending on Chris Maguire for Flores with Jeremy Helan dropping to left back.

Rotherham had to take off the limping Frecklington to send on Michael Tidser and Wednesday were now making their push only to be reduced to 10 men on 78 minutes after the red card for Johnson.

He had tussled with Pringle. The pair, off the ball, confronted each other and Johnson appeared to thrust his head towards the Millers player.

It was right in front of a linesman but the fourth official must have seen it too as he spoke to ref Darren Drysdale and he dismissed Johnson.

Wednesday tried to salvage something but Rotherham defended doggedly, ought to have scored on the break and there was no doubt that the Millers deserved to go through.