Championship
Rotherham2Preston1

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

  • 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

  • 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

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

Full Time

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

Foul by Michael Smith (Rotherham United).

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

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

Foul by Michael Smith (Rotherham United).

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

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

Foul by Ryan Ledson (Preston North End).

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

Foul by Tom Clarke (Preston North End).

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Daniel Johnson.

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

Foul by Calum Woods (Preston North End).

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.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Joe Mattock.

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.

Booking

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

Booking

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

Foul by Ben Wiles (Rotherham United).

Ryan Ledson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Ryan Ledson (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Will Vaulks.

Joe Mattock (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End).

Goal!

Goal! Rotherham United 2, Preston North End 1. Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Clarke with a cross.

Goal!

Goal! Rotherham United 2, Preston North End 0. Michael Smith (Rotherham United) header from very close range to the top left corner. Assisted by Joe Newell with a cross.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Semi Ajayi.

Attempt saved. Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Gallagher.

Booking

Will Vaulks (Rotherham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Will Vaulks (Rotherham United).

Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United).

Graham Burke (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt blocked. Graham Burke (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Sean Raggett (Rotherham United).

Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Preston North End. Declan Rudd tries a through ball, but Lukas Nmecha is caught offside.

Offside, Rotherham United. Joe Newell tries a through ball, but Sean Raggett is caught offside.

Michael Smith (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

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

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