MATCH REPORT: Millers cruise back to winning ways

Michael Smith celebrates his opener. Pictures: Trevor PriceMichael Smith celebrates his opener. Pictures: Trevor Price
Michael Smith celebrates his opener. Pictures: Trevor Price
ROTHERHAM United bounced back to winning ways on the back of a thoroughly professional performance at Northampton.

A first-half strike from Michael Smith and second-half efforts from David Ball and Richie Towell sealed a 3-0 victory which warmed the 1,100 travelling fans at a freezing Sixfields.

The Millers’ starting 11 showed five changes, with Josh Emmanuel, Jon Taylor, Matt Palmer, Ryan Williams and Ball all coming in. Skipper Richard Wood was one of the casualties, with Will Vaulks taking the armband and his place at centre-half.

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Rotherham were comfortable in the first half and allowed Northampton hardly any sights of goal.

It was no surprise when the visitors took the lead. Vaulks played in a free-kick and it found Smith who steadied himself to slot past Richard O’Donnell from an angle. The former Rotherham stopper, who only moved to Sixfields in January, also saved well from Towell and Ball to keep his team in it.

It took the hosts 55 minutes to get their first shot in on goal, with Hildeberto Perreira’s shot well saved. The effort was greeted by ironic cheers from the home fans.

O’Donnell blocked with his legs from Taylor at the other end before the advantage was doubled on 62 minutes. The ball was crossed to the back post and Williams fed Ball to drill in.

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A good afternoon was capped nine minutes from time with the best goal of the afternoon. Palmer, Smith and Anthony Forde were all involved in a lovely move and Towell capped it with a delightful finish.

The victory and the performance was the perfect response to two successive defeats. It also keeps Paul Warne's men firmly placed in fourth spot in League One and bang on track for a play-off place with nine games to go.

Millers: Rodak, Emmanuel, Mattock, Ajayi, Vaulks, Palmer, Towell, Williams, Taylor, Ball, Smith

Subs: Price, Wood, Forde, Ihikwe, Yates, Newell

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 5,882 (1,129 visitors)