On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 5 Sunderland 1

Scorers and providers Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo. Picture by Kerrie BeddowsScorers and providers Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo. Picture by Kerrie Beddows
Scorers and providers Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo. Picture by Kerrie Beddows

RAMPANT Rotherham United climbed to fourth spot in League One as they saw off promotion rivals Sunderland with a stunning display at AESSEAL New York Stadium

The Millers, now unbeaten in their last 11 outings, were simply too good for a side that had started the clash a place above them in the table.

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Newcastle United fan Michael Smith's 12th goal set Rotherham on their way on a thrilling afternoon against north-east opposition and Freddie Ladapo and Michael Ihiekwe were also on the scoresheet along with Smith and Ladapo again as Paul Warne's men continue to rattle up big margins of victory.

They have now hit the net 21 times in their last six matches.

Sunderland had a man sent off in the second half as Rotherham dominated proceedings and looked every inch promotion contenders as they ended a wait of 59 years for a win against the visitors.

The Millers made a quick start and Dan Barlaser wasn't far away with a deft volley from the edge of the area.

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A minute later, the midfielder's perfect pass freed Freddie Ladapo who weaved through the Sunderland defence and set up Chiedozie Ogbene only for the winger to take too long to get away his shot at the back post.

The lead wasn't long in coming and Michael Smith claimed yet another goal in his prolific season after a brilliant Rotherham move.

Shane Ferguson spotted Ben Wiles' run, Wiles laid the ball into Ladapo's path and Ladapo floated an exquisite, 11th-minute chip on to the head of his striker partner.

The visitors were rocked but came back into the match with their first spell of pressure around the 20-minute mark.

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On 24 minutes, they levelled when Ross Stewart finished well on the break for his tenth goal of the campaign after shouts for fouls on Ollie Rathbone and Ogbene had gone unheeded just before the visitors unleashed their breakaway.

With New York basking in the autumnal sun, both teams went at each other in a thrilling contest in which the tackles were flying in.

Four minutes before the break, Rotherham led again as the roles of provider and scorer were switched. Smith found himself wide on the right and fired in a low cross that Ladapo joyously diverted into the net in front of the North Stand.

Stewart smacked the post with a rasping effort for the visitors, then in the dying seconds of the opening period the Millers came agonisingly close to extending their advantage.

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Lightning, ping-pong passing from the home side unlocked Sunderland and Ladapo's header flashed just wide when Ogbene's cross came in

It was fast, it was frantic, it was fantastic and the scoreline was the right one as the teams headed in at the break.

Rotherham were unable to field loan striker Will Grigg against his parent club so Ladapo, a scorer off the bench at MK Dons last week, had got the nod to partner Smith up front.

Manager Warne chose to keep his backline from the 3-0 Dons win intact which meant skipper Richard Wood was among the substitutes again.

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Three minutes after the restart, Ogbene raced the length of the field and fed Ladapo whose shot lacked power but required a save from Thirben Hoffman.

Soon after, with the Millers dominating as they had early on in the first period, Barlaser was just off target with a thumping effort.

The third goal arrived on 53 minutes when Ferguson's corner landed on Ihiekwe's head and the centre-half's header landed in the Sunderland net.

Only three minutes later Sunderland were down to ten men when Aiden McGeady's late lunge on Ogbene brought the winger his second yellow card.

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Smith scored his second header of the contest on 72 minutes, converting Rarmani Edmonds-Green's cross as the Sunderland fans started to leave in droves.

Mickel Miller headed over and fellow sub Josh Kayode was close to his first senior Rotherham goal in the 80th minute when his header went just wide.

Edmonds-Green made a superb break down the right and all that was missing was a touch in front of goal from Kayode as the clock ticked down.

The fifth goal duly came in the 89th minute when Kayode unselfishly set up Ladapo who drove in his second from close range against utterly beaten opponents.

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At the end, New York rose in acclaim of a brilliant afternoon for the equally-brilliant Millers.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Josh Vickers; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Michael Ihiewe, Wes Harding; Chiedozie Ogbene (Kieran Sadlier 75), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone, Shane Ferguson (Mickel Miller 75); Freddie Ladapo, Michael Smith (Josh Kayode 75). Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Richard Wood, Tolaji Bola, Hakeem Odoffin.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Thorben Hoffman; Carl Winchester, Tom Flanagan, Callum Doyle, Dennis Cirkin; Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton (Lynden Gooch H-T), Luke O'Nien (Bailey Wight H-T), Aiden McGeady; Leon Dajaku (Corry Evans 59), Ross Stewart. Subs not used: Lee Burge, Frederick Alves, Aiden O'Brien, Stephen Wearne.

Goals: Smith 11, 72, Ladapo 41, 89, Ihiekwe 53 (Rotherham); Stewart 24 (Sunderland).

Referee: David Rock (Hertfordshire).

Attendance: 10,573 (2,601).