Championship
RotherhamRotherham United2PrestonPreston North End1

Rotherham United 2-1 Preston North End : Millers move out of drop zone

Will Vaulks' powerful free-kick
Will Vaulks' powerful free-kick was his second goal in three games

Rotherham won for just the second time since the middle of September as they held on to beat Preston and moved out of the Championship relegation zone.

Will Vaulks' spectacular free-kick gave the Millers the lead in first-half stoppage time against the run of play.

Having won just once in 19 games, Rotherham sealed the three points as Joe Newell's excellent cross after a good run down the left was met by the head of Michael Smith.

Lukas Nmecha ensured a tense finish as he pulled one back from a tight angle a minute after Smith's goal.

The visitors had enough chances to at least come away with a point - they should have gone into the break ahead as Marek Rodak made a number of saves as Tom Barkhuizen, Paul Gallagher and Nmecha all had decent chances to score.

Ryan Williams and Vaulks both went close with long-range efforts for the Millers after the break while Nmecha had an effort cleared off the line following a great save by Marek Rodak just before Rotherham's second goal.

In the final minutes Rotherham's Semi Ajayi cleared the ball off the line again after Nmecha's pull-back was almost turned past his own goalkeeper by Michael Smith.

Bolton's 6-0 thrashing at Hull allowed the Millers to open up a three-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone, while Preston remain in 17th place.

Rotherham assistant manager Richie Barker: "It was a vital three points and after looking at other results it was even more important.

"The togetherness was excellent, the organisation was okay in a patched-up team. We had a few square pegs in round holes so we are obviously delighted to get the three points but we are well aware we need to improve things.

"The performance wasn't great but they don't know that they're beat. They dig in when things are not going so well. The character is excellent.

"Our game-management towards the end was not entertaining, but year or so ago we might have lost that game."

Preston manager Alex Neil: "I was extremely frustrated but I couldn't tell my players they hadn't played well because it wasn't true. There was real frustration and disappointment because we spurned opportunities.

"Normally Rotherham are hard to create chances against but we created six by half-time. As a coach you know when your team has played well.

"Their goalkeeper getting man of the match tells you the story of the game. The simple fact is we didn't take the opportunities that we created. They went in knowing that they had not played well. They knew they had something to hang on to."

Line-ups

Rotherham

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Rodák
  • 5Ajayi
  • 26RaggettBooked at 29mins
  • 6Wood
  • 3Mattock
  • 11TaylorSubstituted forNewellat 45'minutes
  • 4VaulksBooked at 74mins
  • 8PalmerBooked at 12minsSubstituted forFordeat 45'minutes
  • 23Williams
  • 25WilesBooked at 82mins
  • 24SmithBooked at 83mins

Substitutes

  • 7Forde
  • 12Price
  • 21Yates
  • 22Newell
  • 31Hinds
  • 35Southern-Cooper

Preston

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Rudd
  • 5Clarke
  • 23Huntington
  • 14Storey
  • 16HughesSubstituted forWoodsat 67'minutes
  • 18LedsonBooked at 31mins
  • 11Johnson
  • 29Barkhuizen
  • 19Burke
  • 12Gallagher
  • 45Nmecha

Substitutes

  • 2Fisher
  • 13Crowe
  • 15Woods
  • 27Simpson
  • 30Baxter
  • 32O'Reilly
  • 33Walker
Referee:
Lee Probert
Attendance:
9,077

Match Stats

Home TeamRotherhamAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home8
Away18
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home13
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rotherham United 2, Preston North End 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rotherham United 2, Preston North End 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Michael Smith (Rotherham United).

  4. Post update

    Jordan Storey (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Preston North End. Paul Gallagher tries a through ball, but Tom Clarke is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Michael Smith (Rotherham United).

  7. Post update

    Paul Huntington (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Ryan Williams (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Ledson (Preston North End).

  10. Post update

    Joe Newell (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Tom Clarke (Preston North End).

  12. Post update

    Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Daniel Johnson.

  13. Post update

    Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Calum Woods (Preston North End).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Joe Mattock.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Paul Huntington with a headed pass.

  18. Booking

    Michael Smith (Rotherham United) is shown the yellow card.

  19. Booking

    Ben Wiles (Rotherham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Ben Wiles (Rotherham United).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds26156544281651
2Norwich26147548341449
3Sheff Utd26145745281747
4West Brom26137654342046
5Middlesbrough261110528181043
6Derby2612773832643
7Nottm Forest26912539291039
8Birmingham26912538281039
9QPR2611693334-139
10Aston Villa2691164940938
11Bristol City2610883228438
12Swansea26106103531436
13Hull26106103633336
14Stoke2681173031-135
15Blackburn2681083341-834
16Sheff Wed2688103242-1032
17Preston2678113843-529
18Brentford26610103636028
19Millwall2677123341-828
20Wigan2675142540-1526
21Rotherham26510112541-1625
22Bolton2657141738-2122
23Reading2648142841-1320
24Ipswich2629152146-2515
View full Championship table

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC