STAND-IN skipper Richard Wood struck to hand Rotherham United an excellent win at rain-soaked Rochdale.
Wood, who pulled on the armband after an early injury to Lee Frecklington, nodded the only goal of the game on 12 minutes into the second half as the Millers banked their sixth win in eight matches.
The sight of Frecklington limping off within three minutes of the start was an unwelcome sight for the sizeable contingent of travelling supporters but the result provided a perfect tonic and was the right one on the balance of play.
Steve Davies posed Rochdale’s biggest threat, stretching Richard O’Donnell with a first-half header and very nearly catching him out with a wicked, dipping snapshot from distance that landed on the top of the net.
At the other end Frecklington’s replacement Will Vaulks forced a full-length save from Josh Lillis and the home stopper also rushed out to deny Richie Towell at feet. A Millers hot spell midway through the half also saw Anthony Forde scuff at a decent chance after being fed by Ryan Williams ten yards out.
The rain continued to sheet down in the second half and it was the Millers were made the breakthrough 12 minutes in. Forde flung in a corner and Wood got in to send a header into the corner of the net. It was the first goal Rochdale had conceded in more than seven hours of football and it was the centre-half’s first goal in nearly a year.
Rotherham were immediately forced onto the defensive. Davies clipped the bar with a header and Vaulks nodded off the line from one-time Miller Ian Henderson.
The hosts continued to press while Rotherham pose a threat on the break but the last big chance fell to Rochdale in stoppage time. A high ball came in and substitute Bradden Inman, ten yards out, stabbed high and wide.
The three points moved the Millers fourth in League One.
Rochdale: Lillis, Daniels, Bunney, McNulty, McGahey, Camps, Williams, Rathbone (Andrew 61), Davies, Henderson, Done (Slew 81)
Millers: O’Donnell; Cummings, Mattock, Wood, Ihiekwe; Forde, Potter, Frecklington (Vaulks 3), Towell, Williams; Moore (Clarke-Harris)
Referee: David Coote (West Yorkshire)