Wood is the match winner as Millers bank three big points

By David Beddows | 07/04/2018

Wood is the match winner as Millers bank three big points

SKIPPER Richard Wood struck a second-half winner as Rotherham United got their League One play-off push back on track at the expense of in-from Fleetwood.

Trailing early on, the Millers hit back to lead with an own goal and a sweet Joe Newell strike before being pegged before the hour mark. They still dominated large parts of the contest and justice was done when Wood swooped from close range to seal a 3-2 victory.

They were three big points following recent wobbles and with only five games to go, Paul Warne’s men remain well placed to secure a top-six finish.

Fleetwood opened with all the confidence of a team chasing a fifth straight win and took the lead inside five minutes. A corner came in and although Ashley Eastham’s initial header was kept out by Rodak, he followed up to score.

It was the last thing the Millers needed after their recent results but their nerves were eased four minutes later with an untidy but welcome goal. Newell zipped in an inviting, low cross, the sort that’s a nightmare for defenders, and Nathan Pond only succeeded in diverting it in at the far post. It was the first goal Fleetwood had conceded in five games.

Matt Palmer challenges for the ball. Pics: Steve Mettam

It was all-Rotherham for the rest of the half, the visitors content to funnel back and absorb the pressure. Picking a way through the massed ranks of blue shirts was no easy task and clear sights of goal were rare.

The Millers finally got their noses in front six minutes into the second half when Forde’s corner broke for Newell to despatch a sweet volley past Alex Cairns.

It looked like being the platform for the home side to kick on but they were rocked back within three minutes when conceding from another set piece. Kyle Dempsey swung in a free-kick and big Cian Bolger’s header gave Rodak no chance.

The strike gave the visitors confidence and the Millers had to do a bit of defending before conjuring their third goal on 77 minutes, Newell again the provider. His free-kick caused problems in the visitors’ penalty area and Wood was on hand to turn the ball home.

Michael Smith (twice) and Will Vaulks, with a glancing header, could have sealed it and the addition of five minutes’ stoppage time didn’t help the nerves but Rotherham closed out an important win with precious few scares.

Millers: Rodak, Vaulks, Ajayi (Emmanuel 63), Wood, Purrington, Forde (Taylor 69), Towell, Palmer, Newell, Ball (Lavery 78), Smith

Fleetwood: Cairns, Eastham, Pond, Bolger, Coyle, Dempsey, Diagouraga, Sowerby, Hunter, Madden, McAleny

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

Attendance: 7,562 (156 visitors)

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