Oxford United 1 Rotherham United 3
Browne (71) Vassell (16, 33)
Rotherham United did enough in the first half to win the three points this afternoon at a blustery Kassam Stadium in a game which sees them move up into top spot in League One.
The Millers started the stronger and a third minute Dan Barlaser free-kick caused problems among the home defence and when Simon Eastwood in the Oxford goal dropped the ball it was only the referee’s whistle that saved the hosts giving them a very generous foul. There was an early yellow card for Alex Rodriguez for a foul on Kyle Vassell who had dodged past the defender with the free-kick on the edge of the area coming to nothing. At the other end Millers’ ‘keeper Daniel Iversen did well to hold onto a ball in from Mark Sykes in the swirling wind before it could find it’s way to the lurking Jamie Mackie. A minute later the Millers flew down the pitch and when Chiedozie Ogbene sent a low cross into the middle there was Vassell waiting to tap it in to give Rotherham the lead. Another super save from Iversen got to a Josh Ruffles header followed by more good work from Ogbene who let fly with only the outstretched arm of Eastwood stopping it finding the top corner. Matt Crooks won the ball in midfield and sent it to Michael Smith who flew down the wing crossing the ball across the face of goal towards debutante Hakeeb Adelakun who saw his effort go just over the crossbar. But not a minute later the visitors were two up after some neat work from Barlaser found Vassell who expertly lobbed Eastwood to make it two-nil and send the travelling nine hundred fans wild. With five minutes to go Ben Wiles who was playing out of position took a low shot which was blocked by a retreating defender. In time added on in the first half Vassell turned provider when he crossed the ball into a crowded goalmouth area and skipper Richard Wood rose highest and headed in via the inside of the upright to give the Millers a three-nil lead going into the half-time break.
Oxford started the second half with a double substitution with Nathan Holland and Marcus Browne came on for Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Brannagan. Michael Smith had the first chance of the half but his shot from just outside the box was high and wide before an Oxford corner found Robert Dickie who saw his shot go just wide. The hosts had a good chance with five minutes gone when Shandon Baptiste left the Rotherham defence looking on and was about to shoot when across came Michael Ihiekwe to intercept him. Ben Wiles saw yellow for a challenge on Holland with the free-kick coming to nothing and this was followed by Oxford’s last change when Jamie Mackie was replaced by Matty Taylor. Kyle Vassell had another chance which he sent in low but Eastwood was equal to it and at the other end the U’s had the ball in the back of the net but the flag had already gone up with Matty Taylor offside. But on seventy-one minutes the hosts did pull one back after some good work from Mark Sykes saw Taylor drill the ball into the back of the net to make it three-one. The Millers brought on Jamie Lindsay for Hakeeb Adelakun, who had had a debut of seventy minutes. It could have been more for the hosts a few minutes later when a poor back pass from Wiles saw Taylor pounce on the ball only for his shot to roll inches wide of the post. Iversen pulled off a great flying save from Holland before Browne did well to control the ball but also saw his shot go past the upright. Lindsay saw yellow for a foul and Sam Long of Oxford was also booked for his protests. Freddie Ladapo who had come on a few minutes earlier for Kyle Vassell had a good chance before the end of the game when he got away from his marker and shot at goal only to see the feet of Eastwood deny him. The Millers last substitution saw Trevor Clarke replace Dan Barlaser in time added on which also saw a Sykes shot blocked by Richard Wood and the resulting corner coming to nothing as referee David Webb blew for full-time.
A fantastic first half from Rotherham United this afternoon followed by a solid second half ending in taking all three points off a much fancied Oxford United.
A fourth win in a row saw the Millers fans, players and management come together at the end of the game to celebrate with the Rotherham fans singing of his name making Richie Barker, whose been through the mill a bit lately, break down in tears.
Attendance – 8,077 (894 Millers)
Referee – David Webb