MIDFIELD man Lee Frecklington’s double helped Rotherham into the second round, despite a superb comeback from Stevenage.
Moving into their new New York Stadium also signalled a change of FA Cup fortunes for the Millers, who had not won at home in the competition since defeating Southampton 10 years ago.
Just two draws and seven defeats had been their home tally since then but this time they held on for victory.
Frecklington’s brace followed Mark Bradley’s opener and the Millers were coasting at 3-0 before the League One side rallied through James Dunne’s 30-yard strike and another goal from Filipe Morais.
“What a cup-tie,” enthused Rotherham manager Steve Evans.
“I thought our performance was outstanding, and if anyone thinks that’s a one-goal difference between the teams, they’re on a different planet.
“This was as comprehensive a cup win as you can see. When it goes 3-2, of course they’re going to throw men forward and throw balls into the box, but I think we defended them very very well.
“We dominated the first half, got the goal and should have been three or four up.
“I think if we had shown a bit more care in the final third we could have won it 5-2. We’d settle for 10-9 or 1-0. We said it was going to be a roller-coaster, we said there would be thrills and spills, and we saw that.”
Jamie Devitt made his debut after signing on a month-long emergency loan deal from Hull City and Evans said: “He was excellent, especially considering he only met the lads for two training sessions on Thursday.”
Devitt went close with a 20-yarder before Haber looked sure to score from eight yards out only for Andy Warrington to throw himself in front of the shot to block.
The goal Rotherham deserved came on 29 minutes. Kari Arnason clipped a pass to Devitt, who whipped in an early cross and Bradley hooked the ball inside the far post.
It was a surprise that no more goals came in the first half but three arrived in four minutes after the break. On 53, Ben Pringle saw his cross cleared by Roberts to Frecklington, who blasted home from 25 yards. Two minutes later, Morris supported the attack, laid the ball inside and Frecklington’s 20-yarder was deflected home.
Stevenage got a lifeline thanks to an absolutely stunning 30-yarder into the top corner from Dunne.
With 18 minutes left, Stevenage made it 3-2 when Haber’s shot was deflected across to Morais, who struck the ball home.
There were further chances and Ian Sharps cleared off the line in stoppage time to prevent a replay.
Rotherham United: Warrington, Bradley, Sharps, Morgan, Morris, Devitt (O’Connor 78), Arnason, Frecklington, Pringle (Agard 83), Revell (Taylor 90), Odejayi. Unused substitutes: Thompson, Wilson, Evans, Hunt.
Stevenage: Arnold, Gray (Lopez 86), N’Gala, Roberts, Charles, Grant, Dunne, Akins (Rogers 89), Morais, Freeman (Agyemang 46), Haber. Unused substitutes: Day, Hills, Iro, Risser.
Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).
Man of the match: Andy Warrington.