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Delight for Paul Warne as Rotherham United’s run continues

Well done: Rotherham's Michael Smith celebrates after scoring the first goal. Picture: Chris Etchells
Well done: Rotherham's Michael Smith celebrates after scoring the first goal. Picture: Chris Etchells
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ROTHERHAM United are up to fifth as their play-off bid gathers momentum.

They extended their unbeaten run to 10 games and manager Paul Warne was especially pleased with the quality of their defending.

New striker Michael Smith, who took a nasty blow to his nose, scored his second goal for the club in the first half and David Ball’s late header cemented victory.

“It’s another clean sheet and we’re scoring goals so it’s a good place to be,” said Warne.

“Wimbledon have immense experience throughout, they cause problems and they’re a big side but the lads defended really well.”

He added: “I’m pleased for ‘Smudge’ (Michael Smith) to get his goal because that will make his dodgy nose feel better when he wakes up in the morning.”

It’s games like this where you you have to dig in and we did. We came out with another clean sheet and that was pleasing.

Rotherham United’s Richard Wood

Early pressure paid off after 14 minutes as Rotherham went ahead through Smith, who latched on to Joe Newell’s clever chip to poke the ball past George Long.

The hosts held off a good spell from Wimbledon, which saw Lyle Taylor’s effort blocked, before the impressive Newell blasted over.

Matty Palmer should have marked his debut with a goal but he skewed wide an easy chance from Newell’s cross.

Wimbledon still threatened and it took a good tackle by Josh Emmanuel to deny Cody McDonald a sight of goal.

Rotherham pushed for a clincher and Jon Taylor tested Long after being set up by Ball and Newell also poked wide.

Wimbledon almost got leveller late on but Harry Forrester could not connect cleanly.

Rotherham then secured the win in the second minute of stoppage time as Ball followed in from Ryan Williams’s parried shot.

Millers captain and central defender Richard Wood, fresh from signing a new deal after being linked with a transfer move to Chesterfield, said: “It was a hard-fought victory. Wimbledon played well in the second half and we were under the cosh at times.

“It’s games like this where you you have to dig in and we did. We came out with another clean sheet and that was pleasing. We’ve got a settled back five now and it’s working well.”

Rotherham United: Rodak, Emmanuel, Ajayi, Wood, Mattock, Forde (Taylor 68), Palmer, Vaulks, Newell (Williams 84), Smith (Lavery 67), Ball. Unused substitutes: Price, Ihiekwe, Yates, Cummings.

AFC Wimbledon: Long, Robinson (Meades 74), Oshilaja, Charles, Francomb, Trotter, Abdou, Soares (Pigott 63), Barcham, Taylor, McDonald (Forrester 63). Unused substitutes: Kaja, Kennedy, McDonnell, Hartigan.

Referee: M Salisbury (Lancashire).