On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 0 West Brom 4

ROTHERHAM United were left feeling anything but merry as they slipped to a heavy defeat on home soil in their final game before Christmas.
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The Millers were 4-0 down before the hour mark against a West Brom side that were in the Premier League last season.

Paul Warne's men, who missed a second-half penalty, had their chances but were given a lesson in clinical finishing by the Championship's most in-form team.

Dwight Gayle wrapped up his hat-trick, to go with a goal by Harvey Barnes, before Ryan Manning hit the post with a 76th-minute spot-kick awarded for a foul on Richie Towell.

The expensively-assembled Baggies were very good but Rotherham did little to help themselves by making gifts of two of the visitors' goals.

The Millers got off to the worst possible start and were behind after only six minutes.

Gayle won a soft free-kick just outside the penalty area and then slipped the ball under the wall to give the visitors the lead.

Five minutes later, Rotherham could have been level when Manning's curling shot came back of the post and Semi Ajayi's follow-up was cleared off the line.

In the 20th minute, Ajayi needlessly gave away possession with an ill-conceived cross-field ball in defence and seconds later Barnes played in Jay Rodrguez who hit the post, with Barnes converting the rebound.

The contest was over a minute before half-time when Gayle steered in Matt Phillips' free-kick from the right.

Gayle was presented with his hat-trick when goalkeeper Marek Rodak, trying to stop the ball going from corner, mishandled the ball straight into the striker's path.

The Millers never stopped trying to go forward and Clark Robertson has a header cleared off the line before Manning stepped up and hit the woodwork from the spot.

The defeat against high-flying Albion highlights the size of the challenge facing 20th-placed Rotherham in trying to remain in this division.

A more crucial clash looms on Boxing Day when they travel to a team much closer to them in the table, Bolton Wanderers.

Rotherham (4-4-1-1): Marek Rodak; Zak Vyner, Semi Ajayi, Clark Robertson, Joe Mattock; Anthony Forde, Will Vaulks, Ryan Manning, Joe Newell; Richie Towell; Michael Smith: Not used: Lewis Price, Richard Wood, Matt Palmer, Ben Wiles.

Subs: Ryan Williams (for Mattock, 65 minutes), Jon Taylor (for Newell, 72), Jamie Proctor (for Smith, 80).

West Brom (4-3-3): Sam Johnstone; Tosin Adarabioyo, Craig Dawson, Ahmed Hegazi; Kieran Gibbs; Jake Livermore, Gareth Barry, Matt Phillips, Harvey Barnes, Jay Rodriguez, Dwight Gayle. Not used: Boaz Myhill, Bakary Sako, Tyrone Mears, Rekeem Harper.

Subs: Chris Brunt (for Barry, 58), James Morrison (for Phillips, 78), Hal Robson-Kanu (for Gayle 82).

Goals: Gayle 6, 44, 54, Barnes 20 (West Brom).

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).

Attendance: 10,593 (2,597).