Millers Win First League Game
New York Stadium
18 August 2012 3.00pm
Rotherham United added to the party atmosphere this afternoon at the New York Stadium by winning three-nil against Burton Albion in the first ever league game at the new ground.
Before the game, which ended in sunshine, the Royal Scots Guards Pipe and Drum Band paraded round the pitch and hundreds of red and white balloons were let lose to welcome the new stadium to the town as over eleven thousand fans streamed in. As the teams entered the pitch, as one, all four sides stood up to applaud with Rotherham fans singing about Rotherham United as one voice.
The game was only three minutes old when Daniel Nardiello got past Zander Diamond on the edge of the area and was upended by the Brewers centre-half, dusted himself down and took the spot kick sending the visitors 'keeper, Ross Atkins, the wrong way to be the first player to score a league goal at the NYS. Seven minutes later the visitors failed to deal with a Kari Arnason long throw which eventually fell to Kayode Odejayi who steered his header into the corner of the net to make it two-nil. After that the Millers sat back a little and a Lee Bell corner had to be hacked away by Odejayi and a minute later Ian Sharps had to be on his toes to block a shot from Adi Yussuf and minutes later Yussuf shot wide from just inside the penalty area. With the referee ignoring challenges right, left and centre we, in the family stand, thought it very unfair when he showed a yellow card to Michael O`Connor for a sloppy challenge on Robbie Weir on twenty-five minutes. On the half-hour mark Billy Kee had a shot that stung the palms of Millers` 'keeper Scott Shearer and six minutes later the Brewers should have perhaps halved the deficit when a cross from Damien McCrory found the head of Jacques Maghoma and with the Millers defenders all leaving it for each other it was eventually cleared to safety. A few minutes later Anthony O`Connor left a number of defenders in his wake as he headed towards Scott Shearer`s goal and hit a ball across goal which missed everyone and went out to safety.
The Millers started the second half with Mark Bradley replacing Johnny Mullins, who`d been lunged at in the first half, and, in the opening minutes Nardiello and Weir collided with each other and, from the resulting free-kick, O`Connor`s kick was just a bit high for Sharps and minutes later Nardiello had the ball taken off his head when it looked like it would be goal number three. The Millers were in full swing and the only thing the Brewers could do was commit foul after foul and Lee Bell hauled down Ben Pringle and minutes later a late two-footed lunge at David Noble saw him get his second yellow and off he went. After that it was all Rotherham and O`Connor had a fierce shot saved by Atkins who managed to save an Odejayi shot with his legs a few minutes later. Noble and Kari Arnason had free-kicks that went just high or wide before Pringle picked up the ball on the half-way line, got himself into the box and looped a shot over Atkins into the back of the net. Justin Richards came close for a consolation for the Brewers but Shearer put him under pressure and he headed wide. In the final five minutes Alex Revell, on for Nardiello, forced a fingertip save from Atkins and in time added on Lionel Ainsworth, on for O`Connor, let fly from just inside the area which curled just over the bar.
Of course, the most important thing about today was the win, but how proud was I sat there in a stadium full of Millers fans singing and chanting - let`s have more of it!