ROTHERHAM United delivered an early Christmas present for their supporters with a deserved victory over MK Dons at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Goals from Jerry Yates and Will Vaulks, the latter a screamer, cancelled out the visitors’ early opener and crowned a bright attacking display from Paul Warne’s side. All the goals came in the 2-1 success came in the opening half-hour.
The Millers’ second win in three, it was also the third successive game they have fought back from behind to get something. Their forward play also showed that confidence is well and truly returning after their autumn dip.
There was a question mark over Marek Rodak for the Dons’ opener on nine minutes. The stopper didn’t put a hand to Chuk Aneke’s free-kick, appearing to think it was drifting wide, only to see it nestle inside his post.
The equaliser on 21 minutes was somewhat untidy but welcome. Vaulks’ long throw created havoc in the Dons penalty area and Yates was able to loft the ball towards goal and into the net almost in slow-mo.
The goal settled Rotherham down and helped by returning skipper Lee Frecklington, they got a foothold in midfield. They were able to find lots of space down the flanks and Anthony Forde’s delicious set pieces invariably found their mark. Semi Ajayi twice went close to profiting from them.
It was Forde, not surprisingly, who had a hand in the second goal just before the half-hour. His corner was only half cleared and the ball fell to Vaulks to despatch an absolute screamer that whistled into the top corner. It crowned a good half from Vaulks, filling in at centre-half for the suspended Richard Wood.
The half-time break didn’t interrupt Rotherham’s rhythm and they could have put the game to bed within minutes of the restart. First, Ryan Williams hared clear and his pull-back saw Yates demand a fine reflex save from Nicholls. With Dons clinging on, David Ball was denied by a desperate defensive block from close in.
Little was seen of Kieran Agard, the former Millers sharp shooter, until he sprang into life midway through the half with a vicious effort that Rodak did well to block.
That fleeting threat was a reminder that Rotherham needed a third goal before they could rest more easily and Joe Mattock went close to it with a dipping effort that had Nicholls scrambling.
Forde and sub Joe Newell also threatened before the Millers saw out seven minutes of stoppage time to seal the points.
Millers: Rodak, Emmanuel, Ajayi, Vaulks, Mattock, Forde, Frecklington, Towell, Williams, Ball, Yates (Clarke-Harris 88)
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Walsh, Wootton (Thomas-Asante 90), Upson (Gilbey 58), Sow (Aribiyi 66), Aneke, Pawlett, Agard, McGrandles, Ebanks-Landell
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincs)
Attendance: 8,333 (243 visitors)