Millers FT: Rotherham United 2, Stevenage 1

Alex Revell is thwarted by keeper Chris Day
Alex Revell is thwarted by keeper Chris Day
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Lee Frecklington’s late strike helped Rotherham United to a dramatic 2-1 victory over League One bottom side Stevenage.

Millers chairman Tony Stewart invested heavily in a top drainage systemnd on days like this, the value of such an outlay was obvious. The pitch was in excellent nick.

There was an early opportunity for Pringle to show his free-kick prowess from 25 yards. However, Day dealt with it comfortably.

Davis knocked the ball back to his keeper from out wide and was then seen knelt down, his head touching the ground. He stayed like that for 30 seconds, before getting up and playing on without treatment. A minute later Davis and Charles were spoken to by the referee.

Stevenage started with a lot of vim and vigour and Rotherham, so used to being on top in the opening stages, were on the back foot.

Then Stevenage had a great chance to lead when Akins got a fortunate break on the right. His cross just cleared Arnason and Zoko - who had a Millers trial earlier in the season - headed straight at Collin when he should have scored.

Rotherham United v Stevenage Borough''Wes Thomas is congratulated by Keiran Agard

Rotherham United v Stevenage Borough''Wes Thomas is congratulated by Keiran Agard

Then Rotherham went close. Tavernier slipped Pringle free down the left. He centre to the near post was turned goalwards by Revell and Day touched it over the bar.

For a second time Collin charged outside his area to clear and was fortunate the clearance bounced awkwardly for Morais or he might have been able to attempt a lob from 35 yards.

Rotherham couldn’t really get going but Stevenage, filling midfield well, needed to take some credit for the way they had set up and how they were going about things.

There was a scare when Arnason put a clearance over his own bar from a centre by Heslop and then Agard did well to make a lot of ground to get back and block an attempted effort by Freeman who had gone up the left.

A free-kick 22 yards out offered Pringle an opportunity but he struck it against the defensive wall then, on 41 minutes, the Millers grabbed the lead. Day couldn’t hold onto a high ball under challenge from Revell. Thomas should have scored from the loose ball but his shot was cleared off the line by Hartley.

The follow-up from Agard was blocked and the ball ran away to Bradley outside the area. He drove it across towards the far post where THOMAS slotted it home.

It looked close to offside and Stevenage players and manager Graham Westley were extremely angry and they crowded around the assistant referee and complained long and hard.

Two minutes later, Collin prevented an equaliser with a brilliant save from Ashton’s header following a free-kick, Bradley clearing the loose ball.

It was Stevenage who started the second half on the front foot and Zoko troubled Arnason, but then sliced his angled shot wide.

Next minute a superb centre from Morais saw Arnason so close to conceding an own goal when he sliced his interception just over the bar.

Revell was in the wars when he challenged for a Pringle centre and took a blow to the head, and only desperate defending by the Millers six yards out somehow prevented an equaliser as Bradley got in an important header, before Frecklington made a key challenge.

Rotherham threatened next and Revell controlled Agard’s centre, and his volley brought a fine save from Day. Pringle’s follow-up centre flashed across the goal face.

When Collin failed to hold a high ball, Davis bailed him out with an important clearance. However, the ball was quickly back in Rotherham’s area. Freeman showed lovely skill, made space but then shot wide from ten yards when he should have scored.

Then Rotherham had a chance. Pringle delivered a lovely cross but Thomas just couldn’t climb high enough and the header was over.

Play was stopped for Revell who was laid out. He walked off clearly with a facial problem and this led to a double change with Revell and Davis replaced by Vuckic and Addison.

Smallwood made three vital interventions but then Pringle’s centre was cleared.

It certainly hadn’t been a fluid performance from the Millers, anything but, and they were having to scrap for everything.

There was a dramatic finale with Stevenage equalising and Rotherham going back in front. On 86 minutes Stevenage got a deserved equaliser. Smith’s corner was headed by Hartley to the far post where the unmarked ZOKO fired in.

But Rotherham replied instantly. Good play by Vuckic saw him find FRECKLINGTON who scored in identical fashion to Revell’s winner against Orient, a low curler into the bottom corner.