Millers Are On Their Way To Wembley!
New York Stadium
15 May 2014
Attendance: 11,576 (1,230 Preston Fans)
Rotherham United came from one down this evening to book their place at Wembley on Sunday, 25th May where they will take on Leyton Orient for a start in the Championship next season.
The Millers and Preston North End came into the game on equal terms after drawing one-one at Deepdale at the weekend and it was the home side that were the quickest out of the blocks when a James Tavernier free-kick, after Bailey Wright had pulled down Wes Thomas, was put to safety by a defender on it`s way into the box. At the other end the visitors were gifted a corner when Paul Gallagher but Ben Pringle under pressure and Gallagher put the ball over for Kevin Davies to knock down to John Welsh but he couldn`t keep his shot down and it flew over the post. The Millers were awarded a free-kick after Wright lunged at Kieran Agard, with the Preston player seeing a yellow card, which was taken by Pringle who found the head of Lee Frecklington but the midfielder hit it straight at Declan Rudd in goal. The deadlock was broken on sixteen minutes when the visitors were awarded another free-kick which Gallagher curled in aiming in towards Jack King, who was holding off the Millers Alex Revell, but the ball missed everyone and flew into the back of the net to send the visiting one thousand two hundred supporters wild. But with the vocal support behind them the Millers responded brilliantly and a minute later but for a magnificent save by Rudd from Kari Arnason they would have equalised. But five minutes later Rudd couldn`t do anything to stop Wes Thomas after a curling Pringle free-kick, after former Miller Scott Wiseman had, once again, pushed Revell to the floor, found the head of Thomas and gave the visiting 'keeper no chance. Thomas nearly got a second a few minutes later but saw his shot go just over while at the other end, Millers skipper Craig Morgan stood tall to block a good shot from Gallagher. And then it happened, the New York Stadium stood as one on thirty-four minutes when a Pringle centre found the head of Frecklington whose header, from just inside the penalty area, hit the inside of the post and spun into the back of the net. The Millers fans went barmy. It was end-to-end stuff and Preston nearly got straight back into it when a good run from Wiseman saw him find the dangerous Neil Kilkenny who put a super ball in for Joe Garner but the twenty-six year old headed just over. In the final minutes of the half the Millers had an appeal for a penalty turned down (surprise, surprise) after Agard went flying under a challenge but the half ended with a scare for the home side after a twenty-five yard shot from Welsh wasn`t collected cleanly by Adam Collin in the Millers net and fell just outside the post and from the resulting corner a glancing header from Garner went across goal and out to safety.
The Millers should have gone further into the lead in the opening minutes of the second half when a long throw from Kari Arnason found the boot of Pringle who saw his long range shot rattle the crossbar and away to safety. This was followed by a yellow card for Kevin Davies whose clumsy challenge left Joe Skarz needing treatment. At the other end another good cross from Wiseman (did he have this many good crosses when he wore a Millers shirt?) found David Buchanan but he dragged his shot wide while Joe Garner saw a shot go just over the bar a few minutes later. James Tavernier was more in the game for the hosts in this half and a cross from him ten minutes in found Wes Thomas but the striker saw his header blocked while a Pringle corner a few minutes later found the head of Alex Revell who put the ball just too high. It was turning into a really good game and its to the Millers credit that they didn`t 'shut up shop` and with twenty-five minutes to go their pressure paid off. More good play down the right from Tavernier saw him pull the ball back to Agard and from six yards out the striker struck the ball over the line to make it three-one. Adam Collin was then booked for supposedly time-wasting while Gallagher saw yellow after hauling down Tavernier in what looked like frustration. With less than twenty minutes left Jack King found himself in acres of space and tried an effort which took a deflection off a Rotherham player and after smashing against the upright flew out to safety and a couple of minutes later Garner picked up a loose ball and his shot from twenty yards out had Collin beaten but to the Millers fans relief it hit the right-hand post and rolled across the goal line before being cleared. Rotherham could have had a fourth in time added on when Rudd had to be on his toes to get down to save while Buchanan came close in the dying minutes at the other end but put his shot wide.
So, altogether 'we are the greatest Rotherham United and we`re off to Wemberlee, Wemberlee, Wemberlee….`
And I think we have to mention Preston North End too, because they really made the two legs of this play-off into a good game.