Steve Evans’ Rotherham career: 10 great matches

Steve Evans is making his second return to the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Friday as he brings his Peterborough side with him.

The sight of Evans on the touchline will surely stir the memories for the Millers fans after his eventful, but ultimately successful time in charge.

 

Here’s a look at 10 of the greatest matches of Evans’ reign at Rotherham.

Bradford 0 Rotherham 2

The hype surrounding this game pre-match was palpable given it was Evans’ first return to Bradford since his alleged trouser-dropping with Crawley the season before, not to mention its importance for Rotherham’s promotion hopes in League Two. The Millers weathered an early storm against a Bantams side who were also hoping for promotion and came good in the second half. They took the lead with just 10 minutes to go when Lee Frecklington scoring from the spot, with Kieran Agard making the game safe deep into injury time with a breakaway goal from a home corner. Evans’ delight was obvious, though he could do little to celebrate as he was frog-marched down the tunnel by four security guards.

Rotherham 2 Aldershot 0

Rotherham celebrated their first season in their wonderful new surroundings in the best way possible – a promotion party. After a late surge in form had catapulted them into the top three in League Two the Millers knew that victory over Aldershot, who were managed by former boss Andy Scott and heading into non-league, would send them up. And they duly obliged as second-half goals from Johnny Mullins and Lee Frecklington delivered the club’s first promotion since 2001.

Rotherham 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Any win over Sheffield Wednesday deserves savouring, but Rotherham’s first at their new home was particularly special, especially given the manner of their performance. The Millers were a League One outfit and they put their Championship neighbours to the sword, winning with two stunning strikes. Ben Pringle gave them the perfect start with one of the best goals scored in the three years of football at New York as his rasping half-volley from the edge of area nearly broke the net and after Kieran Lee equalised for the Owls, Lee Frecklington put the Millers back in front with an equally impressive strike, arrowing a 25-yard drive into the top corner. They saw the second half out in comfort and registered a win with a famous scoreline. Pringle’s Twitter antics later that night made it even more memorable.

Rotherham 3 Sheffield United 1

Evans was becoming a specialist in winning Yorkshire derbies and helped deliver a first home win over Sheffield United in a generation. It looked as if he had got it wrong against the Blades, though, as the visitors were shown far too much respect in the first half and led through Jose Baxter’s effort. Things could only get better after the break and Evans changed it around with devastating effect. Kieran Agard’s 25-yard screamer brought the Millers level before two goals in three minutes ensured the points were staying on this side of the M1. Daniel Nardiello converted from the spot after he had been fouled and then with three sounds of New York Stadium still bouncing Rob Milsom rolled home a third to cap a memorable day.

Rotherham 2 Leyton Orient 1

For pure explosion of noise, the moment Alex Revell’s late winner went in against Leyton Orient probably has rarely been topped at Rotherham’s new home. It looked as if the Millers’ table-topping clash with Orient was going to end in stalemate as after Wes Thomas had put Evans’ men in front just after the restart, the visitors levelled with 14 minutes to go when Moses Odubajo rifled home. But the Millers were in a run of scoring at the death and when Revell received the ball on the edge of the area deep, deep, deep into injury time, he turned and struck into the bottom corner as euphoria broke out at New York.

 

Wolves 6 Rotherham 4

There’s not many times you can concede six goals and still walk away from a game with massive credit, but Rotherham could for the part they played in a thrilling match. A delayed kick-off, two hat-tricks, five goals in the final 10 minutes and pitch invasions – there was so much to talk about and it was a game that epitomised Steve Evans’ side. It all started so well for the Millers as they took a 14th-minuted lead when Kieran Agard headed home, but Kenny Jackett’s men had been rampant all season and hit their visitors with a three-goal blast in 17 minutes, through Nouha Dicko (2) and Dave Edwards. Agard scored again after the break to made it 3-2 only for Dicko to complete his treble. But then the Millers clawed it back through a Joe Skarz effort and Agard’s third to make it 4-4 before two late goals from Sam Ricketts and Kevin McDonald ensured Wolves won the game.

Rotherham 3 Preston 1

There has arguably never been a better night than the one which saw Rotherham book their place in the League One play-off final at Wembley. The atmosphere, the realisation of what was on the horizon, the team showing a watching nation they were the real deal, the scenes at full-time all made this incredibly special. It didn’t start off great as Preston took an aggregate lead when Paul Gallagher’s free-kick crept in but then the Millers, who had been rampant since the new year, took control and headers from Wes Thomas and Lee Frecklington gave them the lead on the night and in the two-legged tie overall. Kieran Agard’s strike after the break booked their place on Wembley Way and the full-time whistle was greeted with another pitch invasion and raucous scenes in the directors’ box.

 

Leyton Orient 2 Rotherham 2

This game surely will not be topped for a long time for any Rotherham fan. After a wonderful season had led the Millers to the play-off final at Wembley, it looked like ending in tears as two goals in the space of five first-half minutes from Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox put Russell Slade’s Leyton Orient firmly in the driving seat. But Evans was able to stir one last effort from his troops and after Alex Revell had stabbed home from close range, he provided one of the most iconic moments in the club’s history with his ambitious-but-brilliant volley which brought the scores level. In the end it had to be decided by penalties, with Adam Collin saving two spot-kicks in a row to give the Millers another victory from the jaws of defeat. And this was the sweetest of the lot.

Rotherham 2 Leeds 1

There’s nothing better than a Yorkshire derby win and when Leeds visited a couple of months into Rotherham’s Championship campaign they became the latest side from the White Rose county to be sent packing at New York Stadium, following in the footsteps of both Sheffield sides and Bradford. The Millers managed this scalp thanks to a superb second-half showing after Leeds had bossed the opening period and led through Mirko Antenucci’s cute finish. But Evans clearly got into his side after the break and they came out firing, levelling 10 minutes into the second half when Alex Revell poked home from close range. The winner came soon after and it was special as Jonson Clarke-Harris introduced himself to the Millers faithful in fine style, hitting a blockbusting 25-yard drive low into the bottom corner. Few would have expected Evans to go on and manage Leeds.

Rotherham 2 Reading 1

After everything the Millers had been through, points deduction and all, the sense of relief after they secured their Championship status is what made this game so special. They came into the match knowing their fate – a win would keep them up. It was not their best performance of the season by any stretch, but two goals in five second-half minutes eased the nerves and looked to have made it a straightforward affair for the Millers. But Reading threatened to put a spanner in the works and made it a bum-twitching finale when Oliver Norwood slammed home a late effort from distance. But Evans’ men hung on and the full-time whistle was greet with what is becoming an annual pitch invasion before more fun and frolics in the directors’ box.

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