Sheffield Wednesday 2 Rotherham United 0: Owls finally find winning formula as Millers look shadow of themselves

On October 29, 2023, Sheffield Wednesday finally clicked.

Even at this early stage it has felt like a very long Championship campaign for the Owls but in Danny Rohl's first home game as manager, it all came together and Rotherham United were simply blown away, beaten far more comprehensively than the 2-0 scoreline suggested.

Only the most optimistic Wednesdayites could have seen this coming after Rohl began his tenure with two away defeats which extended their scoreless run to more than 10 hours of football.

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Whereas the Owls had three points from 13 matches, the Millers produced some of their best football of the season in the second half of their 2-0 win over Coventry City.

CELEBRATIONS: Michael Smith enjoys his strikerCELEBRATIONS: Michael Smith enjoys his striker
CELEBRATIONS: Michael Smith enjoys his striker

But in Sunday's first half, the stars aligned. The second half failed to live up to it but where Rotherham were left with plenty of questions after failing to rise to the big South Yorkshire occasion, Rohl appears to have found a few answers – and plenty of new friends, judging by the number of times his name was sung.

At full-time the DJ shrewdly belted out Daddy Cool then Roll With It.

The opening goal was scrappy and scruffy, the second not that brilliant either but for the home supporters they were absolute works of art.

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Given their recent struggles they would have taken any goal by anyone, but given a choice they might well have plumped for Michael Smith, booed by the Rotherham fans who used to adore him, scoring both in front of the away end.

CREATIVE FORCE: Sheffield Wednesday's Josh WindassCREATIVE FORCE: Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Windass
CREATIVE FORCE: Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Windass

Each was made by Anthony Musaba, one of the few Xisco Munoz signings to have shown glimpses of promise at Hillsborough.

He and Josh Windass played behind Smith in a 3-4-2-1 and caused havoc. Being able to drop into midfield allowed Windass to pick passes, a headstart on the defenders meant Musaba could get up a sprint they could not live with.

The Millers brought Sebastian Revan on after just 26 minutes and switched to three at the back but could not stem the flow. The Owls had momentum by then.

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Not much of note happened in the 11 minutes before Bannan released Musaba down the left. Viktor Johansson saved but the 22-year-old had the presence of mind not to try to force the ball through a tiny gap, instead pulling it back for Smith to scuff in.

DERYB DESTROYER: Michael Smith scores Sheffield Wednesday's second goalDERYB DESTROYER: Michael Smith scores Sheffield Wednesday's second goal
DERYB DESTROYER: Michael Smith scores Sheffield Wednesday's second goal

With Rotherham unable to lay a glove on them, let alone a shot, home confidence just built, passing with assurance, getting their wing-backs high so Musaba and Windass could do as they pleased.

The latter flashed over a dangerous cross neither Smith nor Reece James could get a boot on and ought to have scored the second, unable to control a long-range shot, then made a hash of a Musaba cross.

Musaba wasted a chance too, taking Windass' pass to too tight an angle.

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But he made amends when his partner in crime played him through in the 37th minute. Johansson got the better of the one-on-one but he squared for Smith to score again.

It took the sting out of the winger missing a headed chance, doing well to nod it over off the turf from so close in.

Rotherham did not have a barn-storming second-half comeback in them. Revan had only Rotherham's second shot of the game 58 minutes in when a long throw-in bounced about before dropping to him. He ought to have scored but blazed over.

A lot of Millers fans would have been in their cars when he volleyed wide in stoppage time.

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Pushing for a goal only left Rotherham exposed, Windass trying an audacious shot from 35 yards when the Millers failed to head a long ball clear and Smith fizzing a hat-trick chance just beyond the far post. Dominic Iorfa barreled forward for a shot blocked for a corner.

A great ball over the top by Bannan released Musaba again but Lee Peltier got across well to block, one of his last acts before being substituted.

Wednesday never regained their first-half pizzazz but there was never any need to do so.

An up-and-down week for the Millers ended with their local rivals only a win behind (Rotherham) have a game in hand, and the team between them, Queens Park Rangers, threatening a new manager bounce after dispensing with Gareth Ainsworth.

Rotherham host QPR on Saturday.

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The Owls are at Bristol City. For the first time in too long, their fans will not be able to wait.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Iorfa, B Diaby, Bernard; Paterson (Valentin 79), Bannan, Byers (Vaulks 63), James; Windass (Gassama 79), Musaba (Buckley 74); Smith. Unused substitutes: Gregory, Johnson, Ihiekwe, Vasquez, Cadamateri.

Rotherham United: Johansson; Lembikisa, Peltier (Nombe 70), Morrison, Bramall; Cafu (Clucas 63), Tiehi (Kelly 70), Rathbone; Onyedinma, Hugill, Appiah. Unused substitutes: Ayala, Eaves, Odoffin, Phillips, Revan, McGuckin.

Referee: A Davies (Hampshire).

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