NEIL REDFEARN emerged victorious from the job swap derby as a fiery encounter was settled by Joe Newell.
It was the 50-year-old’s first win at the seventh attempt as Rotherham United manager as tempers boiled over on an afternoon when both teams were reduced to ten men.
Leon Best was dismissed on his debut for elbowing gaetano Berardi, who was also shown a red card for pushing the Millers striker to the floor. The Leeds full back also had to be restrained by a linesman and could be in for a lengthy ban.
As for Steve Evans, he could only watch in frustration as United failed to back up the impressive wins over Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town that preceded the international break.,
United had chances to score but were left to rue either a poor finish or some impressive last gasp defending from the Millers.
The hosts had almost gone ahead on 26 minutes when Stuart Dallas exchanged passes with Mirco Antenucci before picking out Mowatt whose shot was saved smartly by Lee Camp.
The Millers goalkeeper also reacted well to deny Chris Wood, though the United striker had been offside when found by Dallas.
At the other end, Rotherham struck a post when Richard Smallwood curled a free-kick over a defensive wall that had been placed 12 yards away by referee Keith Stroud.
Whether the effort would have stood is a moot point, however, with Stroud blowing his whistle the moment Smallwood shot goalwards to penalise Antenucci for encroaching.
Leon Best also shot high and wide when well placed, while the Millers debutant also almost capitalised on a Giuseppe Bellsuci slip during what was an even first half.
Rotherham grabbed a precious lead nine minutes after the restart as Smallwoo’s cross found Newell unmarked and he headed beyond Marco Silvestri in the home goal.
Jonson Clarke-Harris should have doubled that advantage just after the hour but his shot was too close to the Leeds goalkeeper, who made a comfortable save.
Antenucci almost made the Millers’ record signing pay for his weak finish with a low drive that flew just an inch or so past Camp’s right hand post as the game moved into the final quarter.
Both sides were then reduced to ten men after Gaetano Berardi pushed Best to the floor after the Rotherham man had appeared to elbow the full-back.
A linesman had to prevent Berardi from taking things further before referee Keith Stroud rightly showed a red card to both men.
tempers continued to boil as United pressed for an equaliser that just wouldn’t come, Wood wasting a great chance by heading straight at Camp in the first of six minutes of stoppage time.
Lee Erwin then had an effort blocked to leave Redfearn wearing a broad smile at full time after getting one over the club that fired him during the summer.
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