On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 3 Bristol Rovers 0

By Paul Davis | 18/01/2020

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 3 Bristol Rovers 0
Dan Barlaser in action against Bristol Rovers. Picture by Steve Mettam

HIGH-FLYING Rotherham United racked up their fifth successive League One win to consolidate their place at the top of the table.

The Millers put a poor first-half display against Bristol Rover behind them to cruise home after the break at AESSEAL New York Stadium and remain in pole position, ahead of Wycombe Wanderers on goal difference.

Two goals in a devasting two-minute spell just after the restart did the damage and the home crowd were already singing about promotion when the third goal went in near the end.

Kyle Vassell headed Paul Warne's men in front in the 51st minute and Michael Smith wrapped up the points with a header while supporters were still celebrating the breakthrough.

Rotherham dominated from then on and Chiedozie Ogbene's first goal for the club wrapped up proceedings with two minutes to go.

The Millers started slowly and had a let-off after three minutes when old boy Jonson Clarke-Harris passed up a golden opportunity to open the scoring.

The striker was right in front of goal when Alex Rodman's ball in picked him but he steered his effort wide.

The home side's only effort early on came in the 11th minute when Michael Smith headed over Ben Wiles' left-flank cross.

Josh Barrett curled a 22nd-minute effort wide for the visitors while Hakeeb Adelakun, on his New York debut, miscued a low shot off target nine minutes later.

Rotherham goalkeeper Daniel Iversen was called into action for the first time on 34 minutes, diving to his left to parry Clarke-Harris's long-range bouncing free-kick.

Attacking the kop after the interval, the Millers immediately looked more urgent and Smith screwed a shot wide in the 49th minute before Warne's team killed the contest in that 120-second blitz.

Vassell powered home his fifth goal in five games with a superb 51st-minute header from Chiedozie Ogbene's devastating cross and Ogbene was the supplier again moments later when Smith was the man to head home.

Matt Crooks and Smith had chances to increase the lead while Iversen had to tip over a Josh Ginnelly header and Clarke-Harris headed wide.

Then came Ogbene's moment as he slid the ball into the net after Freddie Ladapo's shot from the left had been saved.

Rotherham left the field to a standing ovation.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Dan Iversen; Matt Olosunde, Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Ben Wiles; Chiedozie Ogbene, Matt Crooks (Jamie Lindsay 79), Dan Barlaser, Hakeeb Adelakun (Julien Lamy 83); Kyle Vassell (Freddie Ladapo 73), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Laurence Bilboe, Trevor Clarke, Shaun MacDonald, Jake Hastie.

Bristol Rovers (5-4-1): Jordi van Stappershoef; Alex Rodman, Rollin Menayese, Tony Craig, Alfie Kilgour (Tom Davies 74), Luke Leahy; Gavin Reilly, Ed Upson, Liam Sercombe (Ollie Clarke 59), Josh Barrett (Josh Ginnelly 71); Jonson Clarke-Harris. Subs not used: Alexis Andre, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Tom Nichols, Jayden Mitchell-Lawson.

Goals: Vassell 51, Smith 53, Ogbene 88 (Rotherham).

Referee: Leigh Doughty (Preston).

Attendance: 8,287 (338).



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