MATCH REPORT: Millers push Toon all the way

ROTHERHAM United gave former Premier League side Newcastle a stern test before falling to a narrow defeat at a packed New York Stadium.

Alan Stubbs’ side more than matched the visitors for long periods and hit the post late on through Dominic Ball. Christian Atsu struck the only goal of the game towards the end of the first half to leave the Millers bottom of the Championship and move the visitors second.

The first half-hour was arguably Rotherham’s best spell at the New York this season as they pushed Newcastle back, the only scare coming early on when Yoan Gouffran forced Dominic Ball into a goalline block.

 A Joe Newell dipper forced Karl Darlow to tip over and Jon Taylor and Tom Adeyemi both had the stopper scrambling.

Visiting manager Rafael Benitez was left pacing his technical area, unhappy with what he was seeing, before his side  took the lead against the run of play on 41 minutes with a great finish, Atsu cutting in from the right to bend a super effort across Lee Camp and into the far corner of the net.

It was an example of the quaity in the Toon ranks and it took a full-stretch save from Camp to deny Atsu a second soon after the interval.

The Millers were offered precious few sights of goal in the second half but cursed their luck after an almighty late scramble. Ball’s header from a corner came back off the post and from the resulting corner, substitute Will Vaulks’ effort was shovelled off the line by Ciaran Clark.

Despite a fourth straight loss, Rotherham walked off to warm applause from their supporters, a gesture acknowledged by Stubbs as the teams disappeared down the tunnel.

Millers: Camp; Halford, Fry, Ball, Fisher; Taylor, Adeyemi (Vaulks 26), Frecklington, Newell (Blackstock 72); Brown, Ward

Newcastle: Darlow; Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback; Atsu (Ritchie 66), Diame, Gouffran; Gayle

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 11,653 (2,587 visitors)