Merry Millers Make It A Merry Christmas
New York Stadium
23 December 2017 3.00pm
Attendance: 8,333 (243 Dons)
Two goals in eight minutes of the first half saw Rotherham United come from one-down to take all three points this afternoon at the New York Stadium against MK Dons.
The Millers started well and could have been ahead in the opening minutes after an Anthony Forde cross found the head of David Ball but the visitors 'keeper Lee Nicholls was equal to it. At the other end a foul on Chuks Aneke by Ryan Williams saw an Ed Upson free-kick headed away by Jerry Yates. But a minute later another free-kick after a foul by skipper Lee Frecklington again on Aneke saw the midfielder pick himself up and curl the set-piece round the wall into the far corner of the net giving the two hundred and fifty travelling fans something to cheer. Two minutes later the Millers came close after former Millers loanee Scott Wootton brought down Ball with the resulting free-kick being put just wide by Will Vaulks. The Dons' defence had to be on their toes after a great run down the wing from Josh Emmanuel got the ball into Ball in the box which was eventually turned away to safety by a defender. Williams perhaps should have done better just before the quarter of an hour mark when he found himself one-on-one with Nicholls but the visiting 'keeper cleared. A super run through the middle of the park from Upson probably deserved a goal but his shot from some twenty-five yards out was easy for Rotherham 'keeper Marek Rodak to save. Frecklington was unlucky on nineteen minutes when he got the ball from a free-kick and with it looking like the ball was going in Nicholls did well to get down and save. But two minutes later the Millers were level after a corner zoomed around the box hitting bodies on it's way it came to Yates who hit the ball towards goal and when Nicholls came to punch and missed there was Semi Ajayi to make it one-all. Aneke had the chance to put the visitors back in front but saw the ball go inches wide before Peter Pawlett's shot was hacked away by Vaulks before Ajayi came close to a second from a Forde free-kick but put it wide. Just before the half-hour mark the hosts took the lead after a Forde corner was only half cleared and fell to Vaulks on the edge of the box who sent a screamer right into the top corner of the net and followed it up with his trademark back-flip celebration. A bad challenge on Yates saw the first yellow of the afternoon go to Ethan Ebanks-Landell with Frecklington seeing yellow for a foul/kicking the ball away (?) which he took umbrage with and chased Referee Darren Drysdale around for some time risking a second. In the final action of the half the Millers could have gone further in front when Forde and Yates combined to get the ball into the area for Ball who decided to take a shot when Williams was all alone waiting for the cross.
Rotherham could have made it three early in the second half when only a fantastic stop from Lee Nicholls kept out a shot from Jerry Yates before Anthony Forde's cross to David Ball was stopped by the big toe of a Dons' defender. At the other end a long throw saw Marek Rodak rise above everyone to punch away sending Ryan Williams on his way only for the Millers winger to be stopped in his tracks by Conor McGrandles which was followed by Ed Upson making way for Alex Gilbey who was soon in the thick of it having a shot which went just wide of the upright. The visitors next substitution saw Gboly Ariyibi replace Osman Sow. Rodak did well to recover after a shot from Gilbley was sent straight back to him but he saved at the second attempt before he did well to get the ball away from former Millers favourite Kieran Agard. Semi Ajayi was the next to see yellow for a foul on Chucks Aneke. With twenty minutes to go Joe Mattock did well to get to the corner of the area and shoot only to see his shot go over the crossbar hitting the top of the net. Ryan Williams made way for Joe Newell. Rodak was in the right place at the right time to make a header from Aneke look an easy save before Nicholls did almost the same at the other end from a Forde header. Probably more for not keeping his mouth shut than a foul saw Aneke get himself a yellow card. While Will Vaulks was receiving treatment Jerry Yates was replaced by Jonson Clarke-Harris and not long afterwards the board went up for seven minutes of time added on. Ajayi had another couple of chances with headers in the box while Scott Wootten was taken off and Brandon Thomas-Asante came on for the visitors. A poor challenge on Frecklington saw McGrandles booked before the Millers final sub of the day being Michael Ihiekwe coming on for David Ball. As the clock ticked down Millers fans hearts were in their mouths when a free-kick was awarded to MK Dons but luckily it came to nothing and the Millers got all three points.
Well, at times today, if felt like it was the Millers v MK Dons plus three officials although there were a few dubious decisions given against the visitors this afternoon at the New York Stadium. Rotherham did create more chances today and did defend a bit better, although there were some poor passes around the midfield area - but hey, it's Christmas and we have three points, you can't ask for much more than that!