Rotherham 2-0 Scunthorpe (agg 4-2): Millers to face Shrewsbury at Wembley after Richard Wood and Will Vaulks seal place in League One play-off final
- Rotherham's bid for an immediate return to the Championship remains on track
- The Millers beat Scunthorpe on Wednesday to seal play-off final berth
- Richard Wood headed home Will Vaulks' long throw-in just before half-time
- Vaulks doubled the advantage after the break by turning in from close range
- Scunthorpe captain Rory McArdle was dismissed for two bookable offences
By Mike Keegan For The Daily Mail
Published: 16:45 EDT, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 18:41 EDT, 16 May 2018
He has the same hairstyle, a similar taste in tight-fitting sweatshirts and shares an appetite for fluid, attacking football. But while Paul Warne may not have the resources or the track record of Pep Guardiola, Rotherham United’s fans do not care.
‘We’ve got Warniola,’ they joyfully chanted, after goals in each half from Richard Wood and Will Vaulks secured the South Yorkshire side’s passage to Wembley and a date with surprise package Shrewsbury Town for the right to play Championship football.
Following a nervy, tight opening of few chances in front of more than 11,000 at the New York Stadium, Scunthorpe’s Duane Holmes slotted home on 17 minutes but saw his effort ruled out for offside. The hosts’ keeper Marek Rodak then saved a fierce low drive from Hakeeb Adelakun after a flowing, 60-yard move.
Captain Richard Wood was mobbed by Rotherham fans after their victory over Scunthorpe
Supporters embarked upon a pitch invasion after a 2-0 win that sealed their play-off final spot
Rotherham: Rodak, Emmanuel, Ihiekwe (Ajayi 52), Wood, Mattock, Williams (Taylor 68), Vaulks, Palmer, Towell, Newell (Forde 90), Smith
Subs not used: Price, Ball, Purrington, Lavery
Goals: Wood 45+2, Vaulks 63
Scunthorpe: Watson, Townsend, Wallace, Ojo, Morris, Adelakun (McGeehan 62), Vermijl, Holmes, McArdle, Yates (Hopper 83), Toney (Novak 81)
Subs not used: Kelsey, Bishop, Burgess, Sutton
Booked: McArdle, Toney
Sent off: McArdle
Referee: Scott Duncan (Tyne and Wear)
At the other end, Scunthorpe’s young goalkeeper Rory Watson, who replaced the injured Matt Gilks during the first leg, pulled off two super saves to keep his side level as the Millers began to exert their authority in front of a partisan crowd.
First, he denied Michael Ihiekwe with a superb reaction stop from close range before acrobatically palming away Richie Towell’s curling effort from the edge of the area.
The 22-year-old, however, was powerless to prevent Rotherham taking the lead on the stroke of half-time when captain Wood rose on the edge of the six-yard box to nod the impressive Vaulks’ long throw from the left into the bottom corner.
Following the break, the home side continued to boss proceedings and on 63 minutes, following a sustained spell of pressure, they had breathing space when the visitors could not clear a Josh Emmanuel cross and Vaulks pounced to crash home a second. Out came the Warniola chants.
Wood rose highest to head home Will Vaulks' long throw and give Rotherham a first-half lead
Defender Wood celebrated with his teammates after scoring right on the stroke of half-time
Vaulks reacted quickest to double the hosts' lead after a cross was not properly cleared
Former Falkirk midfielder Vaulks celebrated his goal with an impressive somersault
Scunthorpe, however, were not going down without a fight. They finally came to life and Ivan Toney, the on-loan Newcastle man, saw his goalbound shot blocked by some desperate Rotherham defending before sub Cameron McGeehan somehow bundled a Josh Morris cross wide from close range.
Millers keeper Rodak then raced off his line to brilliantly deny Holmes with his feet with the Iron suddenly dominant. Almost immediately their fightback suffered a setback. Captain Rory McArdle was late to a 50/50 with Joe Newell and the second yellow was inevitable.
Still, Scunthorpe pressed and Rodak was at full stretch to deny the luckless Holmes. Time, however, was not on their side and before long came the obligatory pitch invasion as Frank Sinatra belted out New York, New York.
The visitors sacked Graham Alexander in March, with the club still in the play-off positions despite an eight-match unbeaten run.
Scunthorpe captain Rory McArdle received a second yellow card for a foul on Joe Newell
McArdle cut a distraught figure as he trudged back to the dressing room after his sending off
Rotherham boss Paul Warne looked on as his side rose to the occasion at the New York Stadium
Caretaker boss Nick Daws, a former Rotherham player, went unbeaten in the eight games that followed, including the 2-2 first leg draw but his only defeat has ended the Iron’s season.
It is the second campaign in a row which has ended in play-off heartbreak. Rotherham, who finished fourth, were relegated last season after a horrendous year in the Championship.
Should they repeat this performance under the arch on May 27, they will get a chance to atone.
Warniola would have it no other way.