Home joy for flying Millers ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 3 Blackpool 0

Chiedozie Ogbene heads Rotherham in front. Picture by Dave PoucherChiedozie Ogbene heads Rotherham in front. Picture by Dave Poucher
Chiedozie Ogbene heads Rotherham in front. Picture by Dave Poucher

ROTHERHAM United matched their best-ever start to a second-tier campaign, climbing to ninth in the Championship table tonight as they saw off the challenge of Blackpool in emphatic style.

Chiedozie Ogbene's first-half header set the Millers on their way to another triumph at AESSEAL New York Stadium and quickfire strikes from Wes Harding and substitute Georgie Kelly in the closing minutes completed the damage.

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The Millers haven't tasted defeat in the league on home soil and have lost only one of their opening eight matches.

Their points tally of 13 at this stage of a season equals their equivalent mark in 1965/66 when wins were worth two points, not three.

The Seasiders gave them a stern test but Paul Warne's men deserved their victory.

Blackpool, with Millers old boy Jerry Yates in their line-up, made a fast start and Callum Connolly saw an early strike deflected wide before the midfielder headed the ensuing corner off target.

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Rotherham's first threat came in the seventh minute when Grant Hall poked Dan Barlaser's cross the wrong side of the post.

After that, neither side dominated and there were no clear-cut opportunities despite some decent play from both teams.

The atmosphere had been sombre before kick-off as no music was played over New York's PA system in the countdown to the game and a minute's silence was held in memory of The Queen following her death last week.

The national anthem was sung and players from both sides were wearing black armbands.

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Brooke Norton-Cuffy tested visiting goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw with a cross-cum-shot towards the half-hour mark before Ben Wiles blazed a shot over the bar as the home side began to exert a degree of control.

The Millers had been pressing for a while and the breakthrough came on 34 minutes when Dan Barlaser clipped a lovely ball into the Blackpool box.

Richard Wood was lurking and headed the ball in the direction of Ogbene who looped a header over Grimshaw into the net.

Pool's response to falling behind was a low shot just wide from  Kenny Dougall and Rotherham headed in at the break worthy of their narrow lead.

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The Millers had made one change to the team that had drawn 1-1 with Watford in their previous outing on September 3.

Grant Hall was fit after a hamstring injury came back in at centre-half in place of Lee Peltier who didn't make the matchday 18.

Wing-back Shane Ferguson, who has been nursing a groin niggle, and striker Tom Eaves also missed out.

Another player kept out recently by hamstring trouble, central defender Cameron Humphreys, was named on the bench.

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Rotherham were on top at the start of the second half as they attacked the North Stand end but then spent a spell on the back foot as the visitors enjoyed possession and territory without creating a clear-cut opening.

The home team came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage in the 72nd minute when Wiles' 15-yard effort crashed back off the post

Ten minutes later, the second goal arrived when Wes Harding was on hand at the back post to convert sub Tolaji Bola's supply.

Kelly wasted no time getting himself on the scoresheet, wrapping up proceedings with a sharp finish after Ogbene's shot had been parried by the keeper.

It was a good end to a good Rotherham display.

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Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Grant Hall, Richard Wood, Wes Harding; Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Cameron Humphreys 81), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone (Scott High 81), Cohen Bramall (Tolaji Bola 63); Chiedozie Ogbene, Conor Washington (Georgie Kelly 76). Subs not used: Josh Vickers, Jamie McCart, Jamie Lindsay.

Blackpool (3-4-3): Daniel Grimshaw; Marvin Ekpiteta, Rhys Williams (Sonny Carey 84), Jordan Thorniley; Jordan Gabriel, Kenny Dougall (Callum Wright 84), Callum Connolly (Charlie Patino 66), Dominic Thompson; Ian Poveda (Shayne Lavery 57), Jerry Yates, Theo Corbeanu. Subs not used: Chris Maxwell, James Husband, CJ Hamilton.

Goals: Ogbene 34. Harding 82, Kelly 85 (Rotherham).

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire).

Attendance: 9,105 (698).