Gillingham 0 Rotherham United 3
Crooks (43, 88)
Rotherham United got another way win this afternoon at a wet and windy Priestfield Stadium which saw a saved penalty shot, a poor back-pass, a wonder goal and a clean sheet.
The first fifteen minutes of the first half was pretty dull with neither team really creating anything plus a number of players ending up on their backsides due to the slippery pitch but it was the Millers fans who were applauding when referee Lee Swabey pointed to the spot after Connor Ogilvie brought down Richard Wood. Michael Smith took responsibility and despite a power shot the Gills ‘keeper Jack Bonham pulled off an equally good save. But just a minute later Ogilvie was involved again when his poor back pass saw Bonham have to race out of his goal only for Smith to get there first, go round him and put the ball into the empty net pleasing the travelling three hundred and fifty fans. Former Rotherham Manager Steve Evans, now in the Gillingham dugout, was shown a yellow card for something he said (not much of a surprise there then) followed by a yellow for Jamie Lindsay for a poor challenge on Stuart O’Keefe. Gillingham were awarded a free-kick after what looked like a fifty-fifty challenge between Wood and Alex Jakubiak to the hosts which Thomas O’Connor took but didn’t find a blue shirted player in the box. With two minutes of the half left what could be the Rotherham goal of the season saw Matt Crooks set off on a solo run and take aim from some thirty-five yards out which saw him chip Bonham and the ball fly into the back of the net sending the Millers fans barmy and giving the team a two-nil lead going into the break.
The start of the second half saw the visitors replace Trevor Clarke with Carlton Morris. A corner for the hosts saw the ball cleared as far as Stuart O’Keefe whose shot was caught by Daniel Iversen in the Millers’ goal. Chiedozie Ogbene was on hand to stop Regan Charles-Cook in his tracks before the same player made Iversen work for his money minutes later. On the hour mark another corner for the hosts saw Thomas O’Connor find Max Ehmar with his shot deflected behind and the resulting corner coming to nothing. At the other end some good work from Michael Smith saw his cross find Matt Crooks with the ball being put out for a corner which Joe Mattock over-hit. A double substitution for the Gills saw Mikael Ndjoli and Olly Lee on for Alex Jakubiak and Regan Charles-Cook with the Millers fetching on Matt Olosunde for Chiedozie Ogbene. A chance for Rotherham came on seventy-two minutes when Crooks set Mattock off down the left who crossed to Smith who in turn sent the ball out to Ben Wiles with the midfielder sending his shot just wide from distance. The final home substitution saw Jack Tucker replaced by Mark Marshall. Mark Byrne found himself in space sending a shot towards the bottom corner of the net but hadn’t counted on Iversen who brought off a great save with his leg to keep the score at two-nil. The Millers final sub of the day saw Freddie Ladapo on for Joe Mattock who limped off round the pitch and down the tunnel. A minute later the visitors were three goals to the good when a through ball from Morris found Crooks who got his second of the game from close range in front of the excited Millers following.
I can’t pretend this was a brilliant display this afternoon – from either side – but if you can play away from home, get three goals and keep a clean sheet then what more can we ask for?
Anyone who hasn’t caught the action yet has got to watch that goal from Matt Crooks – what a cracker it was!
Attendance – 4,893 (352 Millers)
Referee – Lee Swabey