Dons downer for Millers

ROTHERHAM United fell to a heavy defeat to newly-promoted MK Dons in a sobering Championship opener at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Despite a first-half effort from Matt Derbyshire, the Millers were never able to get to grips with the more fluid visitors, who won 4-1 with strikes from Rob Hall, Dean Bowditch, Carl Baker and an own goal from Danny Collins.

Eight of the starting 11 were new signings and they were a goal down after only five minutes when Hall converted Bowditch’s low ball in.

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Derbyshire levelled from Rotherham’s first serious assault eight minutes later, heading in at the near post from Chris Maguire’s corner.

Neither side looked comfortable defensively in the first period and the Dons’ goal lived a charmed life in a mad minute as Derbyshire, clean through, clipped the woodwork and then saw Aidy White plant the rebound wide.  Derbyshire also might have capitalised after seizing on a stray back pass.

Just as the Millers started looking the livelier, the visitors struck twice in seven minutes with two messy goals from their point of view. Jordan Spence’s low cross took a deflection off Collins and squirmed past goalkeeper Kelle Roos for 2-1 on 28 minutes and when new captain Greg Halford’s intended back pass hit team-mate Tom Thorpe, Ben Reeves seized on the loose ball and centered for Bowditch to fire in.

Rotherham brought on Paul Green and Lee Frecklington in the second half and turned on the pressure after the break without every really threatening a comeback.

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Derbyshire and Green had David Martin scrambling but the issue was put beyond doubt 15 minutes from time when Dons sub Baker weaved his way into the penalty area and turned to smash in.

 Millers: Roos, Halford (capt), Newell, Thorpe, Collins, Maguire (Bowery 73), Grant Ward, Smallwood, White (Green 46), Derbyshire, Danny Ward (Frecklington 46)

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington (capt), McFadzean, Kay, Potter, Bowditch (Powell 69), Reeves, Spence, Gallagher (Church 76), Carruthers, Hall (Baker 69)

Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham)

Attendance: 9,869 (849 visitors)