REPORT: Rotherham United 2 Preston North End 1

Rotherham's Sean Ragget contests the ball with Paul Huntington
Rotherham's Sean Ragget contests the ball with Paul Huntington

Depleted Rotherham United got a much needed good start to 2019 with a 2-1 win over Preston North End.

Strikes from skipper Will Vaulks and Michael Smith's header ensured Paul Warne's side won for the first time since early November and moved them out of the relegation zone.​

​Preston should have taken the lead on two occasions in the opening 16 minutes with Rotherham carved open first by Lukas Nmecha, who played in Tom Barkhuizen to fire wide one-on-one. Moments later Marek Rodak came to the Millers's rescue by saving from Graham Burke with his legs.​

​Rotherham went in at the break ahead out of nowhere with Vaulks's thunderous free-kick beating Declan Rudd all ends up. The skipper celebrated with his trademark and equally as impressive acrobatic celebration.​

​Half time substitute Joe Newell crafted Rotherham's second with a driving run and perfect cross for Michael Smith to head home on 76 minutes.​

​Preston rallied and halved the deficit in the 78th minute through Nmecha but Rotherham clung on for victory.​

​Rotherham: Rodak, Ajayi, Raggett, Wood, Mattock, Taylor (Newell half time), Palmer (Forde half time), Vaulks, Williams, Wiles, Smith. Unused: Price, Yates, Hinds, Southern-Cooper.​

​Preston: Rudd, Clarke, Storey, Huntington, Hughes (Woods 67), Ledson, Johnson, Barkhuizen, Burke, Gallagher, Nmecha. Unused: Crowe, Fisher, Simpson, Baxter, O'Reilly, Walker.​

​Referee: Lee Probert.​

​Attendance: 9,077 (1,141 from Preston).