A DRAMATIC 89TH-minute strike from home debutant Richie Towell helped Rotherham United secure back-to-back league wins for the last time in 17 months in an eventful victory over Bury.
It had looked like the Millers would be punished for two lapses in concentration after the Shakers had cancelled out a well-taken double from top-scorer Kieffer Moore.
Bury levelled twice, thanks to goals from ex-Leeds United and Huddersfield Town forward Jermaine Beckford and defender Nathan Cameron, as the hosts looked like paying the price for missed opportunities and switching off on two occasions.
But deadline-day arrival Towell had the final word, coollly firing home after being sent clear late on.
The Millers, who handed a home debut to Slovakian-born loan keeper Marek Rodak with Richard O’Donnell demoted to the bench, dominated large parts of the first half and deservedly led, only to be hit by a sucker-punch 11 minutes before the interval.
It arrived from Beckford, who proved clinical when handed his one chance in front of goal on 34 minutes, heading home Ryan Lowe’s right-wing cross to restore parity.
Moments earlier, the Millers, firmly in the ascendancy, spurned a glorious chance to make it 2-0 after Jon Taylor rounded Shakers custodian Joe Murphy following Lee Frecklington’s throughball - but the winger fired into the side netting from a tight angle, with plenty of the goal to aim at.
The hosts had made the breakthrough on twenty minutes with a peach of a strike from Moore, who showed great control to tee himself up following Will Vaulks’ defence-splitting pass before coolly slotting the ball low past the advancing Murphy.
The visiting keeper had earlier done well to beat away a tremendous half-volley from Ryan Williams and also denied Michael Ihiekwe and Vaulks as the Millers bossed proceedings.
The Millers continued to have the better of the early part of the second period and got their reward on 54 minutes with a striker’s goal from Moore restoring their advantage.
Vaulks’ perceptive pass found Taylor on the left and his centre was buried by the head of Moore lurking at the back post.
Moore soon left the fray for running repairs to a head wound, but the Millers’ comfort was such that they were untroubled until his return to the fray, with a new shirt.
A screaming free-kick from Taylor, which flew just wide, almost gave the hosts a two-goal cushion, only for the Millers to then switch off and punished for the second time.
Harry Bunn’s free-kick wasn’t cleared and Cameron was on hand to head past Rodak, who denied sub Mihai Dobre minutes later as the Shakers suddenly scented an unlikely win.
Paul Warne had bemoaned costly moments of defensive indecision throughout the early part of the season and despite changing personnel at the back, he was provided with more food for thought on Saturday afternoon.
After a fine win at Portsmouth on Sunday, Warne cut a rather more frustrated figure six days on only for Towell to apply the balm in the nick of time.
Rotherham United: Rodak; Cummings (Towell 40), Ihiekwe, Wood, Purrington; Potter; R Williams (Forde 75), Frecklington (Ball 85), Vaulks, Taylor; Moore. Substitutes unused: O’Donnell, Mattock, Yates, Newell.
Bury: Murphy; J Williams (Dobre 55), Cameron, Whitmore, Leigh; Edwards, Ince, Laurent, Bunn; Beckford, Lowe (Smith 60). Substitutes unused: Fasan, Maguire, Reilly, Aldred, Cooney.
Referee: C Sarginson (Staffordshire).
Attendance: 7,848 (574 Bury supporters).