Millers Hang On To Win Exciting Cup Tie
New York Stadium
3 November 2012 3.00pm
Attendance: 4,324 (199 'Boro fans)
Rotherham United won this First Round FA Cup tie but they didn`t half make it hard work for themselves.
At three-nil up the Millers should have been cruising but the home side missed a simple chances and let League One side Stevenage back in to three-two, leaving the Millers fans sitting on the edge of their seats.
The Millers were nearly one-up in the first few minutes when a Kari Arnason throw fell to Lee Frecklington whose shot was heading towards the goal before a 'Boro defender managed to get his head on it at the last minute to put it over the bar. Ian Sharps nearly put the home side in front but his header went just wide and debutant Jamie Devitt saw a shot go just over. Andy Warrington then pulled off a couple of easy saves before his opposite number Steve Arnold saved from Mark Bradley. It was all the Millers and Ben Pringle, Arnason, Lee Frecklington and Josh Morris saw Arnold bring off some good saves before an Arnason long throw was only half cleared by a visiting defender and fell to Devitt and the youngster threaded the ball through to Bradley who`s low shot went through a sea of legs to nestle in the back of the net. And it really could have been more before half-time with Lucas Akins blocking a shot from Pringle and Mark Roberts doing the same from Arnason before Alex Revell saw a header bounce over the bar. Andy Warrington had a couple of half shots to save from Anthony Grant and Filipe Morais which didn`t really bother him and Ian Sharps was on hand to block a couple of weak shots but any neutral watching that first half would have had difficulty deciding which team played in League One and which in League Two.
Alex Revell should have doubled the score in the opening minute of the first half but his shot went straight to Arnold`s waiting arms. Andy Warrington had to make a save from Haber on forty-nine minutes and a shot from Morais went wide of the target. Then, on fifty-two minutes, the Millers made it two-nil when Roberts cleared a shot from Pringle but it fell to the busy Frecklington whose shot beat the outstretched hand of Arnold and went into the net. Three minutes later the Peterborough loanee made it three the lively Morris burst into the area but found his way blocked and somehow the ball fell to Frecklington and his shot from eighteen yards out wrong footed Arnold and flew into the net. With the Millers fans chanting 'easy easy` they were stopped in mid-song two minutes later when Darius Charles took a throw-in for the visitors finding James Dunne who`s good right-footed shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Warrington no chance. The visitors started to get on top now and Morais saw a shot go over while Warrington saved on the goal line from a Haber free-kick before a goal from Morais on seventy-two minutes saw the Millers lead cut to one. Frecklington nearly got his hat-trick but saw the ball sail over and a few minutes later had a shot blocked by Dunne. Alex Revell should have done better when he got the ball on the right-hand side but his final kick was neither a shot or a cross and came to nothing while Warrington did well to save from a Patrick Agyemang, who came on for Luke Freeman at half time, shot and the Millers 'keeper did well a minute later when Dani Lopez, on for Akins had a shot which he caught and held on to. The referee added an unbelievable five minutes overtime on and Kieran Agard, on for Pringle, had a run cruelly stopped by Morais and the resulting Michael O`Connor, who was on for Devitt, free-kick brought off an acrobatic save from Arnold. In the dying minutes the unthinkable nearly happened when Haber got above the Millers defence to head the ball towards goal and with Warrington stranded it was hacked off the line by Sharps.
As the referee finally blew the whistle over four thousand one hundred Millers fans breathed a final relief and are now looking forward to tomorrow`s draw.