AS special nights go Rotherham United versus Accrington Stanley at a draughty Don Valley Stadium is hardly one to make the romantic heart flutter, not even if they’d had candlelit seats and a red rose on every one of them!
For Andy Scott, the way to hearts and minds of Millers fans is to perform like they did last Friday and win football matches.
So, if affections were to grow, a win last night to back up the Southend result was what was required. Not least because it would guarantee going above Accrington who began the night eighth.
In the event they secured it with a hard working, efficient performance, plenty of which backed up Friday’s efforts.
And there was another goal for Shaun Harrad, making it two in two games and showing how to despatch a penalty in no-nonsense fashion for what proved the winner after 27 minutes.
It was another blank sheet too with Accrington not making a chance all night thanks not only to solid defending but back up from the rest.
There was almost a good start for the Millers when Bradley produced a super cross and Revell rose but headed past the near angle of bar and post.
The visitors, playing their first game for 17 days, were doing so under the gaze of a new boss. Former player Paul Cook officially takes over this morning but it was understandable if Stanley’s boys had just an extra spring in their step as they looked to impress.
That was something the Millers were out to do too in view of their own admission that not enough home performances had been good enough this season
But Accrington, not up near the play-offs again for nothing, were compact but the Millers looked to have an extra confidence and certain assurance about their game.
That didn’t prevent them misplacing some of their passes but they probed and almost led when Cadogan slipped a ball through for Harrad.
Keeper Dunbavin just got there first, couldn’t hold on and then had to go down at Wood’s feet to block as the left winger pounced on the loose ball.
However, on 27 minutes came the breakthrough.
Harrad’s short pass slipped Bradley into the area and he was brought down by Hughes as he lined up a shot.
Harrad, whose hat-trick on this ground for Burton two seasons ago included a penalty at the same end, stepped forward and absolutely hammered it high past the keeper.
With the wind behind them Rotherham might have stretched the lead. Cadogan played a neat ball in to Revell but as he took control in a good position, the ball just ran away a touch too far and he was unable to get away his shot.
Harrad struck a snap volley over the top before Rotherham went close again. Bradley did well, Harrad’s effort was deflected for a corner and when Wood swung it in Mullins was a whisker away from connecting in front of goal.
Stanley, unable to mount an attack of note before half-time, framed better with the strong wind behind them and ex-Millers loanee Coid fired over from 18 yards following a smart corner kick routine. It was a rare, indeed, isolated, goal threat so well did Rotherham keep them at bay.
Rotherham found it almost as difficult as Accrington had done earlier to build attacks but Cadogan volleyed over from Revell’s set up and then the winger did really well in a lightning break to outpace Winnard and his cross saw Harrad’s close range header superbly blocked by Dunbavin.
As they did at Southend, Rotherham looked more like a unit than they have done previously and it was an efficient performance throughout the side and one that had a confidence about it at the start and a growing assurance with defensive solidity in the second half.
R Taylor; Bradley, Naylor, Mullins, Griffiths; Cadogan (Grabban 82), Harrison, J Taylor, Wood; Revell, Harrad. Subs: Warrington, Tonge, Cresswell, Schofield.
ACCRINGTON STANLEY: Dunbavin, Coid (Barnett 65), Nsiala, Murphy, Winnard; Evans, Joyce, Hughes, McIntyre; Smith, Amond (Lindfield 78). Subs: Murdoch, Guthrie, Bender.
Ref: Nigel Miller (Co.Durham).
Goal: Harrad (27 pen).