Millers off the mark away from home ... on-the-whistle report: Southampton 1 Rotherham United 1
They rallied – oh, how they rallied – in the second and a wonder-goal from Jordan Hugill brought an equaliser that at one stage no-one had seen coming.
A bumper away following of more than a 1,000 fans gave their team a standing ovation at the end.
Injury-hit Rotherham remain next to bottom in the table but this result will do wonders for their confidence at they head into the international break.
The Millers suffered a torrid start and fell behind after only one minute and 52 seconds as Che Adams’ header from Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross came back off the post and Stuart Armstrong converted the rebound from close range.
Less than two minutes later, with the home side sweeping forward again and again, Viktor Johansson had to be at his acrobatic best to keep out Kameldeen Sulemana’s powerful strike from a tight angle on the left.
The home attacks kept on coming and Johansson had to save once more as Sulemana drove down the flank and set up Adam Armstrong with a low pull-back.
Only an offside decision stopped Rotherham falling behind on 14 minutes, a raised flag ruling out Adam Armstrong’s back-heeled finish into the far corner from another Walker-Peters’ delivery.
On the half-hour mark, the visitors replaced winger Fred Onyedinma with defender Sebastian Revan. The switch didn’t appear to be injury-related, just a change to five at the back in an attempt to halt the Saints’ flow.
However, within seconds it needed another superb Johansson stop to prevent Adams heading in Ryan Manning’s cross.
Rotherham were ravaged by injuries at the heart of their backline and had only one recognised centre-half, Grant Hall, in their line-up. Even he wasn’t match-fit, having only just returned from an absence caused by hamstring issues dating back to July
Record signing Sam Nombe was handed only his second start up front since his arrival which meant that Hugill dropped to the bench for a league match for the first time this season.
With injuries also biting hard in other areas of their squad, they were a man light on their bench.
After a first half in which only the form of Johansson had kept the Millers in the game, the start of the second was delayed by ten minutes because of a “medical incident” in the home crowd.
Rotherham offered more after the break without threatening an equaliser and were again indebted to Johansson for keeping down the score when the goalkeeper somehow palmed away Will Smallbone’s 69th-minute shot.
St Mary’s Stadium was expecting another goal and it duly arrived five minutes later. Only, against the odds, it went to the Millers who had just made three attacking substitutions in a bid to take something from the contest.
Hugill tried his luck from 25 yards and the ball flew up and over keeper Gavin Bazunu into the net.
Not long aferwards, Ollie Rathbone came close to giving Rotherham a shock lead as he danced in on goal only to be denied by Bazunu.
Johansson saved from Carlos Alcaraz as the clocked ticked down and Lee Peltier cleared off the line in stoppage time.
The Millers held on. At the sixth attempt, they are up and running on their travels. And they won’t win a better point all season.
Southampton (4-3-3): Gavin Bazunu; Kyle Walker-Peters, Taylor Harewood-Bellis, Jan Bednarek, Ryan Manning; Will Smallbone (Joe Aribo 86), Flynn Downes, Stuart Armstrong (Carlos Alcarez 63); Adam Armstrong (Ryan Fraser 63), Che Adams (Sekou Mara 86), Kameldeen Sulemana (Samuel Edozie 63). Subs not used: Alex McCarthy, Mason Holgate, James Bree, Shea Charles.
Rotherham (4-3-3): Viktor Johansson; Dexter Lembikisa, Lee Peltier, Grant Hall (Arvin Appiah 73), Cohen Bramall; Ollie Rathbone, Christ Tiehi, Cafu (Sam Clucas 73); Fred Onyedinma (Sebastian Revan 30), Andre Green (Georgie Kelly, 73), Sam Nombe (Jordan Hugill 61). Subs not used: Dillon Phillips, Tom Eaves, Ciaran McGuckin.
Goals: Stuart Armstrong 2 (Southampton); Hugill 74 (Rotherham).
Referee: John Busby (Oxfordshire).