Millers suffer defeat in survival run-in ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 0 Luton Town 2

ROTHERHAM United's three-match unbeaten run came to an end as they lost out to promotion-chasing Luton Town and saw the gap between them and the Championship drop zone narrow by a point this afternoon.
Wes Harding in first-half action against Luton. Picture by Kerrie BeddowsWes Harding in first-half action against Luton. Picture by Kerrie Beddows
Wes Harding in first-half action against Luton. Picture by Kerrie Beddows

The Millers battled manfully at AESSEAL New York Stadium but were defeated by a quality side who stretched their own record without a loss to ten matches.

The game turned either side of the interval when the visitors took a 45th-minute lead and then doubled their advantage only 25 seconds after the break.

Club captain Richard Wood, back in the frame after three months of being out of favour, was thrown on in the second half to huge applause. However, by then the damage had been done.

Rotherham, with five matches left to play and a game in hand, remain in 18th place but are now only three points above the bottom three.

There was an early flashpoint between Cameron Humphreys and New York old boy Carlton Morris early on when the Millers defender didn't appreciate the striker's challenge from behind.

The Luton attacker, who had two loan spells at New York earlier in his career, was subjected to some abuse from the home crowd and a few words from the referee for his trouble.

The fourth-placed Hatters had arrived in South Yorkshire with six wins and three draws in their last nine matches and had lost only once away from home since boss Rob Edwards' November appointment.

They were dangerous and direct but Rotherham handled their threat well and neither goalkeeper was tested in the opening quarter of an hour.

Chiedozie Ogbene burst down the left, beating two men only to send in a cross that was too high for Wes Harding to convert at the back post.

Millers manager Matt Taylor had switched from the 4-3-3 formation he had favoured since the turn of the year, opting for 3-5-2 and matching up the visitors

Two committed teams knew they were in a contest as the half-hour mark came and went with Luton having a slight edge but Rotherham remaining right in the game.

Close to half-time, Morris headed over to jeers fom the North Stand before an off-balance, Ogbene, cutting in from the right and receiving heavy Hatters attention, shot wide at the other end.

Josh Vickers pulled off a stunning save to deny Amari'i Bell an opener but was powerless to prevent Town take the lead shortly afterwards.

In the 45th minute, Morris produced a fine finish into the top corner from a tight angle on the right for his 18th goal of the campaign and angered the kop even further with his celebrations.

Taylor had made two changes to the side that had started Easter Monday's goalless draw at Norwich City, with Lee Peltier and Leo Hjelde coming into the side.

Wood was named in the squad for the first time since the January trip to Watford and Ollie Rathbone dropped down to the bench to protect his long-standing groin issue.

Disaster struck only 25 seconds into the second half when Harding handballed with no opponent around him to give away a penalty.

Vickers produced a superb save, diving to his right to parry Cauley Woodrow's spot-kick, but the rebound was cruel on the Rotherham keeper and the Luton man was able to score at the second attempt.

Taylor reacted by making a double substitution and reverting to 4-3-3. One of those subs, Domingos Quina, bent a free-kick not far wide but a comeback against such strong opposition was looking highly unlikely.

Home appeals for handball and a penalty when Jamie Lindsay's shot hit Allan Campbell went unheeded before Taylor made a last throw of the dice, sending on Wood and Georgie Kelly together to a tumultuous reception.

Wood was soon in the thick of the action, preventing what looked like being a certain goal for Luke Berry with a 73rd-minute block.

The Millers couldn't find a way through and Vickers had to keep out a Sonny Bradley header to prevent Town going further ahead before Jordan Hugill flashed a stoppage-time header wide from Quina's free-kick.

Rotherham could have no complaints about the outcome. Now on to the last five games ...

Rotherham (3-5-2): Josh Vickers; Lee Peltier (Cohen Bramall 58), Cameron Humphreys, Tyler Blackett (Richard Wood 68); Wes Harding, Jamie Lindsay, Conor Coventry (Ollie Rathbone 52), Tariqe Fosu (Georgie Kelly 68), Leo Hjelde (Domingos Quina 52); Chiedozie Ogbene, Jordan Hugill. Subs not used: Robbie Hemfrey, Hakeem Odoffin.

Luton (3-5-2): Ethan Horvath; Reece Burke (Luke Freeman 86), Tom Lockyer, Sonny Bradley; Cody Drameh, Pelly- Ruddock Mpanzu, Marvelous Nakamba, Allan Campbell, Amari'i Bell; Carlton Morris (Joe Taylor 66), Cauley Woodrow (Luke Berry 70). Subs not used; James Shea, Henri Lansbury, Louie Watson, Elliot Thorpe.

Goals: Morris 45, Woodrow pen 46 (Luton).

Referee: Leigh Doughty (Lancashire).

Attendance: 11,009 (2,125).