IN-FORM Rotherham United won an absorbing contest with Scunthorpe United to pump up their challenge near the top of League One.
A first-half screamer from Will Vaulks and a 72nd minute goal from Kieffer Moore, his tenth of the season, secured a 2-0 win for Paul Warne’s constantly improving side.
It was their fifth home league win on the spin and their seventh in the last nine league games.
The match was a fine advert for the division and Scunthorpe played their part to the full.
Paddy Madden twice went close for the visitors in a hectic first half but it was Rotherham who looked the more threatening in the final third.
Richie Towell and Anthony Forde both forced full-stretch saves from distance as Scunthorpe defended well, also surviving a frantic goalmouth scramble until being breached by a brilliant strike from Vaulks ten minutes before half time.
The utility man took possession 22 yards out and, with defenders backing off, arrowed a superb shot into the top corner before treating the crowd to his trademark somersault celebration.
Richard O’Donnell had kept his place in goal in place of Marek Rodak, who is back from international duty, and justified the decision in the first half with a couple of smart stops. He came to the rescue again early in the second half when he appeared to get a vital touch to help Funso Ojo’s curler onto a post.
The momentum of the match continued to swing one way and then the other. A vital interception from Rory McArdle thwarted Richard Wood as he shaped to head into an open goal and the skipper popped up with a great tackle to thwart Lee Novak at the other end.
It proved important when the Millers bagged their second 18 minutes from time. David Ball, in for the injured Darren Potter, showed great trickery down the left and his low cross was tapped in by Moore in front of the kop.
Scunthorpe swept back and continued asking questions but the Millers put their bodies on the line to protect the lead and went off to a standing ovation from the appreciative home supporters.
Rotherham have now won their last three league games without conceding.
Millers: O'Donnell; Cummings, Ihiekwe, Wood, Mattock, Williams, Vaulks, Towell, Forde, Ball (Newell 77), Moore (Clarke-Harris 90)
Scunthorpe: Gilks, Clarke, Townsend, Crofts (Mantom 73), Wallace, Ojo, McArdle Morris, Holmes (Adelakun 73), Novak (Van Veen 79), Madden.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)
Attendance: 9,167 (1,321 visitors)