Rotherham United 4 Bolton 2: Millers vote for change with four-goal display

Matt Derbyshire scores his first goal for Rotherham United, their fourth on the night against Bolton (Picture: Paul Wickson).
Matt Derbyshire scores his first goal for Rotherham United, their fourth on the night against Bolton (Picture: Paul Wickson).
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NEVER mind talk of there being 100 days until the General Election, the three-digit number Rotherham United were preoccupied with last night was 102.

This is the number of days that had elapsed since the Millers had last celebrated a home victory, a 2-1 derby triumph over Leeds United on October 17.

The damning statistic was obliterated in what constituted the equivalent of the Millers’ own Super Tuesday.

Yes, the club may have probably dined out on more feted wins at the NYS in its relatively short history against the likes of Leeds and both Sheffield clubs.

But last night’s Roses success was worth its weight in gold, given the Millers’ recent travails.

Winless in seven previous Championship home matches and boasting just one win bonus in 15 matches in all competitions, the numbers were stacking up against them.

Beforehand, manager Steve Evans spoke about the game being “bigger than Wembley”, an allusion to the Millers’ League One play-off final last May.

This may have been stretching things a bit, but you could understand the sentiment.

It was a night when the Millers made a total mockery of their status as the joint-lowest scorers in the division ahead of the game as they moved five points clear of third-from-bottom Millwall.

Much may have been made of Rotherham’s apparent revolving-door transfer policy, with 36 players already utilised in the league this term.

But on an evening when recent signings Danny Ward, Adam Hammill and Jack Barmby began on the bench, it was players on deck with a bit to prove who excelled in Ben Pringle and Matt Derbyshire.

Both have toughed it out this season, but they left the stage when they were substituted with a goal apiece amid standing ovations.

Derbyshire crowned a champagne display with a marvellous first league goal for the club on 56 minutes, with Pringle providing the catalyst to a splendid night with a cracking early opener.

The Millers – who had not scored in the opening 45 minutes of a league game at the NYS since October 21 – made up for lost time with three goals, including a first for the club for Conor Sammon.

Close-range late strikes from Liam Trotter and Matt Mills may have lead to a few brief palpitations, but the hosts were never likely to be denied.

It remains to be seen if Pringle proves a renaissance man, but he did his cause no harm, starting with a sweet second-minute volley after a fine cross from fellow Geordie Conor Newton on his full debut.

Sammon doubled the hosts’ lead with a milestone second on 23 minutes, tapping in after Derbyshire’s cross-shot by Andy Lonergan, his first goal since late September.

For Bolton, without a win in Rotherham since August 1966, it was a serious case of After the Lord Mayor’s Show after their draw at Liverpool.

The night assumed nightmarish proportions on 43 minutes when a strong appeal for a penalty for a foul on Josh Vela was ignored, with the Millers going straight up the other end and grabbing a killer third.

An inch-perfect cross from Derbyshire was glanced in expertly by Paul Green.

Derbyshire raced clear to fire home a sumptuous fourth from 25 yards, with the only minor blot coming by way of two scruffy late goals for the Trotters.

Rotherham United: Collin; Richardson, Morgan, Arnason, Fryers; Newton, Green, Smallwood, Pringle (Hammill 90); Sammon (Wood 94), Derbyshire (Bowery 83). Unused substitutes: Thompson, Brindley, Ward, Barmby.

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan; Dervite, Mills, Ream; Feeney, Vela, Danns, Pratley, Kellett (Trotter 51); Gudjohnsen (Spearing 74), Wilkinson (Wheater 66). Unused substitutes: Bogdan, Moxey, Odelusi, Walker.

Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).