On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 2 Blackpool 1

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 2 Blackpool 1

By Paul Davis | 01/01/2020

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 2 Blackpool 1
Michael Smith opens the scoring in the first half. Picture by Steve Mettam

RAMPANT Rotherham United made it a festive period to remember as they saw fellow play-off contenders Blackpool at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

The Millers left it late, clinching all three points with Dan Barlaser's superb free-kick in the 85th minute to move up to second in the League One table.

The win was their third successive victory and gives them a 10-point haul from their four holiday fixtures.

Against a strong Seasiders team they pushed hard throughout the second half for the winner and fully deserved to take the spoils.

Miidfielder Barlaser was superb throughout, playing a key part in their triumph.

Rotherham took the lead in the 21st-minute when Smith did really well to convert the Newcastle United loanee's perfect corner.

The Millers striker was being held by an opponent but still rose to plant a firm header in off the bar as Barlaser showcased his set-piece prowess with a laser-guided delivery.

The advantage lasted only 13 minutes before a well-worked corner routine by the visitors left Armand Gnanduillet with a free header at the back post from Jordan Thompson's cross.

In a decent first half, Nathan Delfouneso should have done better than shoot over for Blackpool in the 17th minute while Chiedozie Ogbene was off target for the home side after surging run as the interval approached.

After the break both teams remained keen to go forward and Rotherham were denied a clear penalty by referee James Adcock when Smith was hauled over in the 48th minute.

Dan Iversen had to save low from Matty Virtue and Gnanduillet while Matt Crooks lifted Richard's Wood's head-back over the bar, all within ten minutes of the restart.

Smith thought he'd scored again in the 65th minute but his hooked effort was headed off the line by Ollie Turton and two minutes later substitute Kyle Vassell, playing against his former club, was denied by a Mark Howard stop.

The Millers were now dominating and Vassell, who was making a real impact, should have put the them in front on 72 minutes when Smith headed back Barlaser's corner. The striker got his head to the ball only to direct it over the bar from close range.

It looked like Paul Warne's men might have to settle for a draw but Barlaser had other ideas.

His free-kick finish was sublime and New York erupted accordingly as the Millers' promotion bandwagon continues to roll.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Dan Iversen; Adam Thompson, Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Matt Olosunde; Chiedozie Ogbene, Dan Barlaser, Matt Crooks, Ben Wiles (Jake Hastie 69); Freddie Ladapo (Kyle Vassell 63), Michael Smith (Carlton Morris 81). Subs not used: Lewis Price, Trevor Clarke, Julien Lamy, Jamie Lindsay.

Blackpool (4-1-3-2): Mark Howard; Ollie Turton (Liam Feeney 85), Ben Heneghan, Ryan Edwards, James Husband; Jay Spearing; Jordan Thompson, Matty Virtue, Sullay Kaikai (Joe Nuttall H-T); Nathan Delfouneso, Armand Gnanduillet. Subs not used: Jack Sims, Michael Nottingham, Curtis Tilt, Callum Guy, Calum MacDonald.

Goals: Smith 21, Barlaser 85 (Rotherham); Gnanduillet 34 (Blackpool).

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).

Attendance: 8,689 (588).