DESPITE scoring the fastest goal yet at the New York Stadium – after just 16 seconds – and arguably its best one, Rotherham United slumped to a crushing defeat by bottom side Wycombe.
Although ravaged by injuries, a suspension and finishing with 10 men after another injury, the Millers suffered a damaging defeat and, after leading at half-time, produced their poorest 45 minutes yet at the new stadium and, to be truthful, hardly created a chance worthy of the name in the fruitless search for an equaliser.
The Millers fans were flattened and stunned long before the end!
With no new central defender it meant Jason Taylor continued at the back and missing in midfield was Michael O’Connor, serving a one-match ban for five bookings. Surprisingly it meant a central midfield berth for new winger Luke Rooney on his home debut. Ben Pringle stayed out on the right, as he did on Saturday, from where he provided the sublime centre for the opener after just 16 seconds.
Rotherham kicked off – going towards the South End as they have done in the first half of every game they have played at the stadium. A couple of touches before Bradley pumped the ball forward and Johnson messed up his header. It dropped to Pringle who supplied a delicious inswinging cross. Nardiello, stretching, got a foot on it at the far post, the keeper saved it but then dropped it and Nardiello bundled the ball in.
Rotherham were inches away from another minutes later when Revell returned Pringle’s corner and Bradley’s shot was deflected inches wide on its way inside a post.
It was a bad start for the bottom-placed side but anyone expecting them to fold were in for a surprise.
Probably because they’d nothing to lose after the early setback, Wycombe attacked with some verve, exposed inexperience in one or two positions and should have levelled when Lewis missed a sitter from eight yards.
Both sides were being troubled and it wasn’t a surprise when Wycombe levelled on 29 minutes. Scowen’s free-kick, curling in, was a problem from the moment it left his foot and big defender Winfield got in front of his marker to glance in his header. It certainly put an extra spring in Wycombe’s step but Rotherham restored the lead with a stunning second goal.
Pringle’s corner from the left dropped beyond everyone towards Bradley standing just inside the area and he trusted his technique by striking an awesome volley which arrowed on target, defying a defender’s effort to keep it out.
He deserved every bit of acclaim for as clean a volley as this stadium has seen or is likely to see.
At half-time the Millers lost another key player in Frecklington who was replaced by Evans who went on the left and Cameron to the right.
Within ten minutes the game had turned round.
Five minutes into the half Wycombe equalised when a long ball from Foster saw McClure get the better of Taylor and fire home. Five minutes later, Morgan lofted the ball beyond the defence and McClure was away and he lifted it over Warrington.
Revell, understood to have got a knock, was replaced by Odejayi and then Hunt went on with Bradley going into centre defence and Taylor moving to midfield as Rotherham strove to break down Wycombe’s resistance.
The Millers were reduced to ten men with 13 minutes left when left back Morris was stretchered off after a tackle which brought Foster a booking.
But apart from an early Revell shot saved, Rotherham barely created an opening all second half, even in the seven minutes of stoppage time.
ROTHERHAM: Warrington; Bradley, Sharps, Taylor, Morris; Rooney Hunt 62), Frecklington (Evans ht), Pringle, Cameron; Revell (Odejayi 56), Nardiello. Subs: Wilson, Rose, Walker, Thompson.
WYCOMBE: Archer; Foster (Kewley-Graham 80), Winfield, Johnson, Dunne, Andrade (Ainsworth 85), Lewis, McClure,Grant (Wood 63); Morgan, Scowen, Subs: Harrison, Oli, Morias, Hause.
Ref: Rob Lewis (Shropshire)
Goals: Nardiello (1), Bradley (35) for Millers; Winfield (29), McClure (50, 55) for Wycombe.