Watford taught Rotherham a harsh lesson about life in the Sky Bet Championship after they staged a late show at New York Stadium to win 2-0.
The Millers, playing just their third game back in the second tier following promotion last season, put in a rousing display for much of the match yet were unable to convert a string of chances. And Watford, who were well below what is expected of them this season, handed down the sternest of punishments as two goals in the final 17 minutes won it.
Lloyd Dyer’s first league goal for the club put them ahead in the 73rd minute and with the hosts pushing for a leveller Gianni Munari made sure of the points with five minutes to go.
Rotherham should have been out of sight by then as Paul Taylor wasted two chances and Lee Frecklington had an effort deflected, but they paid the ultimate price for their wastefulness.
That left Steve Evans’ men with two defeats and just one goal from their opening three games and in no doubt where their early season problems lie.
Playing a high-energy pressing game the Millers were the better team in the opening half-hour and limited Watford’s highly-rated front pairing of Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra to scraps.
The hosts struggled to create chances until the 30-minute mark when Ben Pringle tested Heurelho Gomes. Taylor went close following a sublime piece of skill to control the ball before he cut inside and fired wide.
There was a definite sense that Rotherham’s failure to score was going to prove costly and Watford punish their hosts in the 73rd minute when Dyer reacted first to Adam Collin’s parried save from Odion Jude Ighalo’s shot and smashed home.
The game was put to bed five minutes from the end when Munari had the easiest of tap-ins following good work down the left by Dyer.
Rotherham have signed Richie Smallwood on an emergency loan from Middlesbrough.
Rotherham: Collin, Broadfoot, Morgan, Arnason,Skarz, Green (Tidser 64), Smallwood, Frecklington (Swift 77), Pringle (Derbyshire 76), Revell, Taylor. Unused substitutes: Loach,Wood,Bowery,Newton.
Watford: Gomes, Tamas, Angella, Hoban, Paredes, Munari, Fabbrini (Dyer 65), Andrews, Anya (Tozser 79), Deeney, Vydra (Ighalo 60). Unused substitutes: Forestieri, Doyley, Abdi, Bond.
Referee: D Webb (Co Durham).