Not good enough, but as you were at the top of the table ... on-the-whistle report: Burton Albion 2 Rotherham United 0

Jordi Osei-Tutu in action before his early departure. Picture by Jim BrailsfordJordi Osei-Tutu in action before his early departure. Picture by Jim Brailsford
Jordi Osei-Tutu in action before his early departure. Picture by Jim Brailsford
ROTHERHAM United clung on to their automatic-promotion place despite giving one of their most disappointing displays of the season in a 2-0 League One defeat at Burton Albion tonight.

The Millers failed to capitalise on their weekend win over Ipswich Town and were second best to opponents who had won only once in 11 matches and hadn't scored in their previous five games.

They were forced through injury into two early substitutions they didn't want to make but can have no excuses for not delivering on an evening of huge importance in the race for the Championship.

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MK Don's loss at Oxford United - this weekend's visitors to AESSEAL New York Stadium - saw Paul Warne's side maintain their top-two status with three games of the campaign to go.

The Millers got off to a terrible start and found themselves a goal down after only three minutes.

The defending was weak as Tom Hamer's long throw into the area was met by Sam Hughes and the ball dropped for Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to stab the ball into the net.

It was the first time the home side had hit the net since March 12.

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Rotherham were quickly on the attack and Ben Wiles had a shot blocked which was followed by Ollie Rathbone bouncing an effort on to the roof of the net.

Soon after, Dan Barlaser tested Matej Kovar with a curler and Wes Harding put the ball over the bar when the least he should have done was hit the target.

The visitors were being cheered on by a near-1600 following who kept their volume level up despite the early setback.

On 23 minutes, Wiles was close to connecting with Rarmani Edmonds-Green's flashing cross as he attempted a diving header but, seconds later, Rotherham almost fell 2-0 behind.

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It needed sharp reflexes from Viktor Johansson who spread himself to foil Oumar Niasse who was through on goal.

The Millers looked vulnerable at the back and Johansson was forced into a save from William Kokolo who tried his luck from the edge of the box.

Shane Ferguson came on for the injured Jordi Osei-Tutu and had an immediate impact, delivering a superb cross for Michael Smith whose header was kept out by Manchester United loanee Kovar.

Manager Warne paced his technical area anxiously, not happy as a Millers breakthrough failed to materialise, and it wasn't long before he decided on a formation change, bringing on Freddie Ladapo up front in a 38th-minute switch to the usual 3-5-2 and taking off midfielder Barlaser.

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He had made just one change to the starting 11 after the victory over Ipswich three days earlier, bringing in Barlaser for hamstring victim Mickel Miller.

The half ended with Rotherham having had more sights of goal but Burton the clearer opportunities.

By the start of the second period the Millers had made all three of their substitutions as sub Ferguson had to be replaced at half-time, by Richard Wood, after seeing less than 20 minutes of action.

They were under the cosh as Kololo fizzed a volley wide and Johansson saved as Harry Chapman scampered clear.

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Christian Saydee came on for the Brewers to thump a shot at Johansson and Burton then doubled their advantage when Joe Powell's header gave John Brayford a free header from close range.

Rotherham tried to rouse themselves, with Rathbone firing over, Wiles having a diving header saved and Chiedozie Ogbene twisting and turning to bring  a smart stop from Kovar, but it was proving to be too little too late.

Ladapo hit the post in the dying minutes as the Millers finally rallied only for time to run out on them.

The only saving grace was that loss for MK.

Burton (3-4-1-2): Matej Kovar; Sam Hughes, John Brayford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson; Tom Hamer, Michael Mancienne, Deji Oshilaja, William Kokolo; Joe Powell (Conor Shaughnessy 85); Oumar Niasse (Louis Moult 90+3), Harry Chapman (Christian Saydee 54). Subs not used: Ben Garratt, Gassan Ahadme, Jacob Maddox, Charlie Lakin.

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Rotherham (3-4-2-1): Viktor Johansson; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Michael Ihiekwe, Wes Harding; Chiedozie Ogbene, Jamie Lindsay, Dan Barlaser (Freddie Ladapo 38), Jordi Osei-Tutu (Shane Ferguson 33, Richard Wood H-T); Ollie Rathbone, Ben Wiles; Michael Smith. Subs not used: Josh Chapman, Joe Mattock, Hakeem Odoffin, Josh Kayode.

Goals: Borthwick-Jackson 3, Brayford 69 (Burton).

Referee: Tom Reeves (Birmingham).

Attendance: 3,537 (1,573).