On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 3 Burton Albion 2

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 3 Burton Albion 2

By Paul Davis | 01/02/2020

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 3 Burton Albion 2
Michael Smith scores in the first half. Picture by Steve Mettam

FREDDIE Ladapo climbed off the substitutes' bench to fire Rotherham United to victory as the Millers tightened their grip on top spot in League One.

The leading scorer had been on the pitch for only six minutes when he scored his 13th goal of the season in the second half to send Paul Warne's side three points clear at the summit.

His 71st-minute effort, allied to two goals from Michael Smith, saw off spirited Burton Albion who will feel they were worth a point at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

There were chances aplenty in the opening stages, with the majority of them coming the way of the visitors.

Kyle Vassell shot wide for the home side when he was sprung clear by Hakeeb Adelakun after only 90 seconds but it was Albion who went ahead in the seventh minute as Jamie Murphy cut inside from the left and curled the ball into the far corner.

The Millers were level inside thee minutes through Smith, the striker taking his time and then scoring smartly with a low shot following Matt Crooks' pass.

Dan Iversen had to save twice in quick succession, denying Stephen Quinn when the Burton man was through on goal and then turning Murphy's shot on to the post with his leg.

Smith was only inches from connecting with Chiedozie Ogbene's superb cross, then Iversen thwarted Quinn for a second time, palming away the midfielder's drive.

Ogbene's fierce effort brought a great save from Kieran O'Hara and the winger chased down the ball and crossed for Matt Crooks who headed off target.

All this had happened inside the first half hour.

The start to second half was even more spectacular than the first as the teams traded goals within two minutes of the restart.

Smith headed in Dan Barlaser's corner 40 seconds after the resumption and Oliver Sarkic responded with a thumping finish 75 seconds later.

Crooks was just wide with a 50th-minute volley when a deflected free-kick fell into his path.

Twelve minutes later Rotherham should have been behind but Lucas Akins somehow managed to skew the ball wide of an unguarded net from inside the six-yard box.

Warne's men came storming back and Ladapo's low strike flew in after Ogbene's cross had been touched to the attacker by fellow sub Ben Wiles.

Michael Ihiekwe almost extended the Millers' advantage with a 77th-minute header from Wiles' corner that was spectacularly clawed away by O'Hara.

Rotherham saw out the game to record their fifth straight New York victory.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Dan Iversen; Adam Thompson, Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Joe Mattock; Chiedozie Ogbene, Matt Crooks, Dan Barlaser (Matt Olosunde 75), Hakeeb Adelakun (Ben Wiles 61); Kyle Vassell (Freddie Ladapo 65), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Laurence Bilboe, Trevor Clarke, Jamie Lindsay, Shaun MacDonald.

Burton (4-1-4-1): Kieran O'Hara; John Brayford, John-Joe O'Toole, Jake Buxton, Colin Daniel (Reece Hutchinson 88); Conor Shaughnessy; Oliver Sarkic, Ryan Edwards (Joe Powell 83), Stephen Quinn, Jamie Murphy;  Lucas Akins. Subs not used: Ben Garratt, Kieran Wallace, Scott Fraser, Joe Sbarra, Richard Nartey.

Goals: Smith 10, 46, Ladapo 71 (Rotherham); Murphy 7, Sarkic 47 (Burton).

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).

Attendance: 8,563 (540).