Empty stadium, empty feeling for the Carabao Cup Millers ... on-the-whistle report: Stoke City 6 Rotherham United 1

THERE were few fans and goals aplenty as Rotherham United exited the Carabao Cup at the second-round stage on a night of misery against familiar opponents.
Jordan Hugill in first-half action for the Millers. Picture: Jim BrailsfordJordan Hugill in first-half action for the Millers. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Jordan Hugill in first-half action for the Millers. Picture: Jim Brailsford

THERE were few fans and goals aplenty as Rotherham United exited the Carabao Cup at the second-round stage on a night of misery against familiar opponents.

It was only 24 days ago that the Millers were being hit by a 4-1 Championship opening-day defeat at the home of Stoke City.

Fielding a weakened side, they were made to suffer again as the Potters wrapped up their passage to round three with an even more emphatic margin of victory.

There was no appetite for this tie among Rotherham supporters, most of whom chose to give a cold night  in Staffordshire a miss, and there was little sorrow at their side's departure from the tournament.

The second tier matters, not this competition.

The Millers could hardly have made a worse start, falling behind after only 71 seconds.

Wouter Berger shot low and hard from the edge of the area and goalkeeper Dillon Phillips appeared to be deceived by the bounce as the ball flashed under him.

Rotherham had plenty of defending to do in the early stages against a home side showing seven changes but still looking very strong.

Tolaji Bola crossed just too high for Andre Green as the visitors made their first real foray into the Stoke half on 17 minutes but very soon afterwards Phillips was picking the ball out of his net again, this time following a classy finish into the far corner from Ryan Mmaee.

It seemed like it was going to be a long evening for the Millers yet they were quickly back in the contest as Sean Morrison headed in Cafu's corner for his first goal for the club.

Only a smattering of hardy souls had made the journey from South Yorkshire and their number in the away corner of the Caldwell Construction Stand looked to be less than 200.

They were making themselves heard as their side began to gain a foothold in the game at an echoing bet365 Stadium which was two-thirds empty.

They fell silent on the half-hour mark, however, as the Potters reasserted their authority through Josh Laurent's skidding, long-range effort.

Cafu's set-pieces were proving to be Rotherham's biggest danger and from another of his corners Green wasn't far away with a header.

Stoke were simply too good for the Millers and Tyrese Campbell bent a precision effort beyond Phillips to put City out of sight close to half-time.

Manager Matt Taylor had made six changes to the side that had run leaders Leicester City so close in the Championship at the weekend, resting as many players as possible for the forthcoming league visit of Norwich City.

New boy Arvin Appiah made his first start and youngster Ciaran McGuckin was named in the 11 after previously only making appearances as a substitute.

Centre-half Cameron Humphreys was handed an unfamiliar role as a holding midfielder.

Shortly after the restart, McGuckin's through ball picked out Green who forced a save from Jack Bonham.

Stoke then resumed normal service, with Laurent producing another quality finish in the 55th minute and debutant Mehdi Leris firing past Phillips in the 72nd.

Thankfully, that was the end of the scoring. Stoke had been excellent, the Millers very poor.

Time to go home, time for the league.

Stoke (4-3-3): Jack Bonham: Ki-Jana Hoever, Michael Rose, Ben Wilmot (Luke McNally 58), Josh Tymon; Ben Pearson (Jordan Thompson 58), Wouter Burger (Nikola Jojic 73), Josh Laurent; Mehdi Leris, Ryan Mmaee (Dwight Gayle H-T), Tyrese Campbell (Sol Sidibe 64). Subs not used: Frank Fielding, Enda Stevens, Daniel Johnson, Wesley.

Rotherham (4-3-3): Dillon Phillips; Tolaji Bola, Sean Morrison, Jamie McCart, Cohen Bramall; Cameron Humphreys (Christ Tiehi H-T), Cafu (Ollie Rathbone H-T), Andre Green (Tyler Blackett 68); Arvin Appiah (Tom Eaves 58), Jordan Hugill (Fred Onyedinma 49), Ciaran McGuckin. Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Dexter Lembikisa, Hamish Douglas, Josh Kayode.

Goals: Burger 2, Mmaee 18, Laurent 29, 55, Campbell 43, Leris 72 (Stoke); Morrison 22 (Rotherham).

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire).