Rotherham United: Bristol Rovers 1 Millers 2

David Noble in action against Bristol Rovers
David Noble in action against Bristol Rovers
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TWO goals in as many minutes helped Rotherham United to power back up into the automatic promotion places.

It was the second-half introduction of Kayode Odejayi that made all the difference with the substitute scoring one and playing a large part in the other.

A week is certainly a long time in football. Exactly seven days ago Steve Evans’ team got a much-needed tonic from a trip to the South-west, against Torquay

Now this re-arranged game in the same part of the world presented the Millers with a chance to notch a third straight league win.

Pirates boss John Ward had warned his players pre-game against a Rotherham backlash given their shock win, helped in no small part by a dire home showing, at New York Stadium just a month ago.

Claude Davis, who endured a nightmare debut in that reverse fixture, made a solid start with a strong header when Ryan Brunt thought he was about to have an early sniff on goal.

That may have calmed down any nerves he had as Rotherham managed to settle early.

Rovers were dealt an early blow when Fabian Broghammer had to be replaced after a quarter of an hour. On came Eliot Richards.

The home side had felt no need for change following a 1-0 win here on Saturday against Wycombe while Kieran Agard came in for the injured Daniel Nardiello up front in Rotherham’s only change.

Initial balls up to Agard had not come to much, with the striker muscled off the ball by Rovers defenders.

John Joe O’Toole had enjoyed a good early battle with Kari Arnason and, after finding space, he fired the first real shot of the game into the side netting from 25 yards out.

Rotherham had been playing neat football without threatening. Intricate passing around the box resulted in cleared crosses when an attempt on goal may have been more dangerous.

They were to have two big chances to take a lead before the half time whistle, though.

A long ball from Andy Warrington was flicked on first by Alex Revell and then by Agard into the path of onrushing, unopposed Lee Frecklington. Disappointingly, his lobbed effort floated harmlessly over the bar.

Danny Kearns then slid in a free Agard down the right channel. Yellow shirts flooded into the box but the striker could not pick out any of them with a poorly-placed centre.

Kearns had finished the first half limping and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Odejayi for the second period.

Rovers also made a change with David Clarkson introduced for Brunt and they almost caught Warrington on unawares when right-back Michael Smith hit a hopeful 30-yard shot that had to be parried.

Odejayi almost made a perfect introduction but his header from Frecklington’s clipped cross was blocked on its way goalwards by Mark McChrystal.

Rotherham were getting on top and, after Arnason fired over, Odejayi gave Rotherham the lead on the hour mark.

Revell’s shot had been blocked well but the ball fell kindly to the big striker who kept his composure to slot in from ten yards out.

The Millers then took advantage of a deflated looking Rovers to double their lead just two minutes later. Arnason’s cross was touched on by Odejayi and Frecklington met the ball perfectly on the volley to fire beyond Steve Mildenhall.

Warrington had to be agile to keep out Clarkson’s low shot from range.

Rovers were trying hard to get back into the game and got an 81st-minute lifeline from Joe Anyinsah’s powerful effort.

But, with Jordan Sleww brought on late on, Rotherham held on for the points.

ROVERS (4-5-1): Mildenhall, Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown, Clucas, Norburn, O’Toole, Anyinsah, Broghammer, Brunt. Subs: Gough, Woodards, Clarkson, Richards, Harrison, McDonald, Hitchcock.

MILLERS (4-3-1-2): Warrington, Bradley, Mullins, Davis, Ridehalgh, Noble, Arnason, Frecklington, Kearns, Revell Agard. Subs: Thompson, Tonge, Slew, Pringle, Odejayi, Morgan, Cameron.

Goals: Odejayi, 60, Frecklington, 62, for Rotherham; Anyinsah, 81, for Rovers.

Attendance: 8,146 (334 away fans).

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).

Bookings: None