After weeks of frustration, it all came good for Rotherham United on a glorious night at New York Stadium.
They took Bolton Wanderers apart with their best home display of the season in the first half.
And Matt Derbyshire scored. I repeat, Matt Derbyshire scored.
It was brilliant to see the striker, one of manager Steve Evans’ big summer signings, finally net his first Championship goal for the club, to go with the penalty he put away way back in August in the Capital One Cup success over Fleetwood Town.
He fired home a beautiful 56th-minute shot to put the Millers 4-0 ahead and the chants of “Super Matt” rang round the stadium. The ovation when his name was read out by the announcer was almost as loud as the cheer which greeted the goal.
Evans’ side had come close to victories on several occasions during a 15-match spell which had brought a solitary win at Wigan, but last night they triumphed in a game of marvellous theatre.
There was a late wobble as the Millers conceded two goals in three minutes, to Liam Trotter (76) and Matt Mills (79), but the victory was fully deserved.
Evans had boldly left out three of his new signing for this crucial Championship clash, and it took his side just two minutes to do what Liverpool couldn’t manage for an entire game against the Trotters in the FA Cup on Saturday: score.
Midfielder Conor Newton, making his first league start, delivered from the right and Ben Pringle was at the far post to send a lovely, cushioned volley past Andy Lonergan.
It set the tone for a first 45 minutes in which Steve Evans’ men, 20th in the table before kick-off, could do little wrong against a team which had been showing play-off form in their last 10 matches.
Craig Morgan and recalled striker Matt Derbyshire went close before the Millers deservedly went further ahead in the 22nd minute.
Derbyshire shot across goal and Lonergan turned it the ball into the path of Conor Sammon who gleefully accepted the tap-in.
One in two games for the new striker. Millers fans will happily take that ratio at the end of the season!
Bolton were being destroyed down the flanks and immediately switched from three to four at the back after Sammon’s strike.
Lennon was apoplectic with rage as a great Bolton penalty shout was turned down towards half-time. He was left kicking a water bottle in temper to the derision of the home crowd, and it was Rotherham who showed a thirst for more success just seconds later.
Zeki Fryers fed Derbyshire in the 43rd minute and his inviting cross was glanced home by Paul Green
Attacker Danny Ward, winger Adam Hammill and midfielder Jack Barmby had been named as substitutes, with Newton coming in and Pringle and Derbyshire recalled.
Bolton were without Adam Le Fondre, the Millers goalscoring legend who has joined Neil Lennon’s side on loan but isn’t eligible to play until the weekend, and were also missing forwards Craig Davies, Emile Heskey and midfielder Lee Chung-yong.
It was a tense last 15 minutes, but this was the first three-point haul at home since the October 17 win over Leeds United and provided a huge boost in the Millers’ bid to move away from the drop zone.
And remember this stat ... when Derbyshire scores this season, Rotherham don’t lose!
Rotherham United: Collin, Richardson, Morgan, Arnason, Fryers, Newton, Green, Smallwood, Pringle (Hammill 89), Sammon (Wood 90+3), Derbyshire (Bowery 83). Subs unused: Thompson, Brindley, Ward, Barmby.
Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Dervite, Mills, Ream, Feeney, Vela, Danns, Pratley, Kellett (Trotter 51), Gudjohnsen (Spearing 74), Wilkinson (Wheater 66). Subs unused: Bogden, Moxey, Spearing, Odelusi, Walker.
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Attendance: 8,780 (874).