Rotherham United 4 Bolton 0: Merry Millers deliver four-star display

A SUBLIME SECOND-HALF performance from four-star Rotherham United made it an enriching Boxing Day for the hosts, who dined out upon shambolic Bolton Wanderers.

Rortherham United.
Rortherham United.

The Millers produced a turbo-charged second 45 minutes - plundering four unanswered goals to record their most emphatic victory since returning to the second tier in sumptuous fashion.

Goals were plundered by Grant Ward, Bolton old-boy Danny Ward, Joe Newell and substitute Jonson-Clarke Harris, with the visitors raising the white flag in what is highly likely to be Neil Lennon's final game in charge.

Sections of the travelling support called for his head in the second half, while also turning on the players with chants of 'You're not fit to wear the shirt.'

It extended Bolton's winless streak to 17 matches and they remain without an away win since Easter Monday, with Neil Redfearn afforded a highly-satisfying afternoon against his old club - as the hosts backed up their impressive pre-Christmas victory over Hull City with another memorable occasion..

Grant Ward got the ball rolling with his half-volley from 25 yards fluffed by keeper Ben Amos and diverted into the net in the 56th minute - which set the tone for a disastrous second half performance by Wanderers, with the Millers thoroughly accomplished in contrast.

Danny Ward added the second 16 minutes from time, coolly firing home from a tight angle after rounding Amos after being sent clear by the impressive Newell.

Ex-Peterborough player Newell then got in on the goalscoring act as Bolton capitulated in the final quarter.

Tony Andreu sent him clear with Bolton's back four AWOL and he threaded the ball underneath Amos on eighty-minutes.

Wanderers' humiliation was completely six minutes later when Clarke-Harris was again left clear and he fired home.

The second-half was in marked contrast to a low-key first period when both sides largely toiled in difficult conditions.

On the evidence of the first half-hour, it was pretty easy to appreciate why both sides are positioned in the bottom echelons of the Championship table, with quality football at a premium.

A gusty wind did not help proceedings admittedly, with it being Wanderers who carved out comfortably the game's best chance of the opening thirty minutes when veteran Emile Heskey sent Zach Clough through on goal, with Millers keeper Lee Camp saving the day with an accomplished block.

Slowly but surely after a quiet opening thirty minutes, the Millers started to impose themselves, with Ben Amos beating away a curling free-kick from Newell - and from Newell's resulting corner, Kirk Broadfoot powerfully headed over when well placed.

Danny Ward was then afforded a heaven-sent chance in front of goal after neat work by the recalled Andreu, but Amos again showed his mettle to make a fine one-on-one block.

The Millers conjured another half-chance before the break with Joe Mattock heading over following Andreu's inswinging cross, while at the other end, Clough dragged a low shot wide.

David Wheater SOON had to be alert to clear the danger following a fine Grant Ward cross just before the break.

Bolton were forced into an early change soon after the interval, with veteran Heskey, still feelings of a first-half challenge which left him prostrate on the deck, replaced by ex-Sheffield Wednesday frontman Gary Madine.

With the wind at their backs, Rotherham pressed the visitors on the restart in a much more imposing display and they were rewarded 11 minutes in.

An innovative corner routine set up Grant Ward following Andreu's flag-kick and his fiercely struck swerving half-volley from distance proved too hot for Amos, who could only parry the effort into the net.

Bolton's first effort of the half, in front of a noisy near 1,800-band of away followers arrived on 56 minutes when an inviting cross from Dean Moxey was headed over at the far post by Liam Feeney.

The significant action was at the other end, with Amos atoning following his error for the Millers opener by making a brilliant reaction save to beat away Kirk Broadfoot's header following Newell's cross.

The Millers started to lie siege, with Amos denying Joe Mattock as Bolton's back four and midfield disintegrated.

It was only a matter of time for a second goal arrived, which it duly did 16 minutes from time when Danny Ward was sent clear and he netted impressively from a tight angle.

Six minutes later, Newell was afforded oceans of space before slotting the ball home, with the Millers threatening to run riot.

Gloss was provided four minutes from time when Clarke-Harris converted to complete Bolton's ignominy.

Rotherham: Camp; Richardson, Rawson, Broadfoot, Mattock; G Ward, Smallwood, Frecklington, Newell (Green 92); Andreu; D Ward (Clarke-Harris 80). Substitutes unused: Collin, Collins, Thorpe, Ledesma, Clarke-, Derbyshire.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos; Holding, Dervite, Wheater, Moxey; Feeney, Danns, Spearing (Wellington 61), Pratley; Clough; Heskey (Madine 48). Substitutes unused: Rachubka, Prince, Derik, Dobbie, Twardzik.

Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne and Wear).

Attendance: 11,315 (1,783 Bolton supporters).