Millers undone by Downing strike

ROTHERHAM United remain bottom of the Championship after a tight defeat at high-flying Middlesbrough.

Although more resilient than in Saturday’s showing at Derby, they again struggled in attack and were edged out by a solitary strike from Stewart Downing.

Neil Redfearn made five changes to freshen his team up but it  took nearly 45 minutes for them to muster their first serious shot on goal from Paul Green.

By then Boro led 1-0 from former England international Downing’s 16th minute goal, collecting Grant Ward’s missplaced pass and racing clear to find Lee Camp’s bottom left-hand corner.

There was a lucky escape moments later when Carlos De Pena’s header rattled the crossbar and Albert Adomah twice went close to doubling thelead.

Unlike at Derby on Saturday, the match was still alive as a contest into the second half and the home crowd began to get frustrated as Boro struggled to nail another goal.

De Pena headed over from one of their few clear chances but little happened at the other end to excite the 271 travelling Millers supporters despite the introduction of the fresh legs of Joe Newell and Jordan Bowery.

It was Bowery who missed a big chance to equalise late on. He seized on a rare defensive mistake and ran in on goal but could only blast into the side netting.

Camp excelled to keep out a George Friend drive and substitute Diego Fabbrini should have put the game beyond reach but Boro had done enough to take the points and leave Redfearn still seeking his first win after five games in charge.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Amorebieta, Friend, Downing, Leadbitter (Fabbrini 80), Clayton, De Pena (Zuculini 65),  Nsue, Adomah, Nugent,

Millers: Camp, Richardson, Toffolo, Rawson, Collins, Grant Ward, Thorpe, Andreu (Maguire 87), Green,  Danny Ward (Bowery 73), Clarke-Harris (Newell 62)

Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 21,144 (271 visitors)