ROTHERHAM United tasted defeat on home soil for only the second time in the league this season after falling to Gillingham at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Gills – without a permanent manager and second from bottom in League One before the start of play – out-thought, out-muscled and outmaneuvered Paul Warne’s side, who were fifth at the start of the day, winning 3-1.
Kieffer Moore netted when Gillingham were 2-0 up to give the Millers brief hope of a revival but Joe Mattock’s late red card and Josh Parker’s second of the game even later ensured the Gills went back to Essex with all three points.
The Millers had the worst start possible. A mix-up at the back between Michael Ihiekwe and goalkeeper Marek Rodak resulted in the Gills winning a corner, which Parker met to head home his first of the afternoon with only three minutes on the clock.
Midfielder Joe Newell had the home side’s first sight of goal. He struck a long range effort straight at Gills goalkeeper Tomas Holy, who gobbled up the ball at the second attempt on 15 minutes.
Rotherham saw more of the ball as the half wore on but were lacking the killer pass and penetration needed to unlock a stubborn Gillingham defense. Half chances from Ryan Williams and Shaun Cummings were all the Millers could muster.
The home side’s best chance of the half came and went with five minutes of it remaining when Newell’s clipped cross was met by the head of 11-goal top-scorer Moore, but his looping effort landed on the roof of Holy’s goal.
The one thing Warne’s men couldn’t afford was to start the second half the same as the first, but that’s exactly what happened.
Jake Hessenthaler found space down the Gills right before finding former Miller Tom Eaves with a pinpoint cross which was headed past Rodak three minutes into the second period.
Moore restored hope for the Millers 10 minutes later when a long ball forward from Darren Potter was slammed home by the Ipswich loanee to net his 12th of the season, and half the deficit.
Sub Jon Taylor was the next to test Holy as the Millers went in search of an equaliser. He cut in from the left and hit a rasping drive towards goal, which Holy had to be alert to to turn behind.
Moore had another header which was comfortably saved and Richard Wood had a tame penalty claim waved away before the game erupted late on.
Things went from bad to worse for the Millers when full-back Joe Mattock received two yellow cards in a matter of seconds. After being booked for a foul high up the pitch, the former Sheffield Wednesday man’s reaction earned him another booking quickly after, leaving his team mates a man down with five minutes remaining and searching for a leveller.
The equaliser was never to come but a third Gills goal was.
Parker found space in the Millers’ 18-yard-box to head home Bingham’s corner with minutes left on the clock, to condemn Rotherham to their second defeat in three games.
MILLERS: Rodak; Cummings, Ihiekwe, Wood, Mattock; Williams (Yates 89), Potter, Towell (Ball 53), Newell, Forde (Taylor 53); Moore.
Subs not used: O'Donnell, Emmanuel, Ajayi, Clarke-Harris.
GILLINGHAM: Holy, Garmston (Ogilvie 46), Ehmer, Zakuani (O’Neill 69), Hessenthaler, Eaves, Martin, Parker, Bingham, List (Wagstaff 58), Clare.
Subs not used: Nelson, Wilkinson, Cundle, Byrne.
Attendance: 7,865 (274)