BORO kept their cool when the temperature soared to secure a thoroughly professional 3-0 win away in a deliciously hostile atmosphere at Rotherham’s New York Stadium.
They weathered an early heavy barrage as Rotherham threw some quick diagonals into the box and then twice broke out to score two crackers – Bamford and Wildschut – with their first two real chances in a text-book display of counter-attacking to take total control.
They they sealed it late on with a third as Tomlin wriggled across the box and cracked home. That took Boro – briefly – up to second before results pegged them back a place. It was a thoroughly professional performance.
Main man: Bamford earns a namecheck with the opener
Boro had already done the damage when the game swung decisively their way as Rotherham lost their heads and lost a man on the half-hour. A hefty high challenge by Daniel Ayala in the centre-circle left Millers’ targetman Revell spark out and needing lengthy treatment. He limped off still groggy then to add insult to injury Ayala escaped without a booking leaving the home fans simmering.
When play restarted Adam Clayton rattled into a challenge and got away with it then a few 50/50 decisions went Boro’s way and the fans were baying for blood and squealing with righteous indignation and that seemed to get to Rotherham. A couple of their players lost their heads and in an ill-disciplined spell the were snarling and snapping into rash tackles and there was no surprise when someone saw red.
Jordan Bowery had only been on for four minutes – he had arrived as a sub for Revell – when he got into a tetchy touchline tussle with George Friend and having lost the ball he kicked out and sent the Boro man tumbling and seemed to stamp on him for good measure. The linesman was right on the spot and the ref came over for a brief chat then sent the headstrong hitman off. The lit the blue touchpaper.
With 2,600 Boro fans in fine voice it was already an intense atmosphere before kick-off and after the opener there was a brief scuffle as some Teessider sat in the home stands – misguided rather than malicious – were ejected for celebrating and a few locals tried to give them a sly dig on the way out. Already smarting, the home fans became more irate as the game wore on then exploded in rage after the sending off .
Meanwhile red-faced boss Steve Evens – a man who looks like a pantomime dame who has just scrubbed his make-up off – was going Krakatoan on the touchline, berating the fourth official and the Boro dug-out and winding himself up ready to accost the ref at the break. Or have a heart attack, whichever came the soonest.
Boro reacted to flashpoint with a ruthless precision. They refused to get drawn into the hot-tempered Rotherham revenge narrative and calmly kept possession and swished the ball around, passing patiently and probing and twice bithday boy Yanic Wildschut – 23 today – got down the flank to put the ball on a plate for Kike to fire over.
After the break they gave the home side the runaround – Boro fans were chanting “ole… ole…. ole” through some fluid spells – and gradually tired Rotherham out before a couple of late surges ripped through the defence and Lee Tomlin sealed it.
Rotherham may spin the story as a game that revolved around the sending off but in truth Boro had already done the damage. Two superb breaks saw first Patrick Bamford/Curtis Main then flying Dutchman Wildschut crack home sizzling strikes.
Yanic Stations! Wildschut whacks in the second.
And there were other chances. Boro may have been four up at the break and there should have no complaints. Aitor Karanka’s side were head and shoulders above their opponents throughout and the boss was delighted with the performance.
There were a couple of scares. A header flashed wide early on and long time Nemesis Matt Derbyshire took advantage of a rare slip at the back to clip the post late on. But that is to be expected. For all their early energy Rotherham rarely threatened and once Boro grabbed the game by the throat – Clayton and Leadbitter were superb in that – there was no way back for the mullered Millers.
A few quick points….
In case anyone had missed it, Richie Smallwood came on at the break. He got a good reception from the Boro fans but that was pretty much his only involvement. Those who protested at Adam Clayton replacing him in the midfield mix must feel a bit sheepish now. The Dormo Destroyer is a trier and honest – and local – and will graft all day but he was never going to be a regular in a promotion chasing side. Clayton could be,
Whooooooooosssssshhhhhhhhhhh. Yanic Wildschut is an absolute speed-machine. A surging sprint from inside his own half in the first half had Rotherham defenders falling away in his blurred slipstream. We knew he was fast but wow. What we didn’t know was that he could deliver a cross too. He can. Three fantastic ball found Kike (twice) and then Bamford at the far post that were a fraction away from teeing up goals.
Boro were in a pressure-cooker atmosphere and faced up to a simmering opposition who were looking to start a scrap… yet they came out with NO yellow cards. Cool heads.
A clean sheet! That was needed to shore up the back line after a bit of a shaky time at Wolves and a late wobble against Watford. Keep it clean.