In firing his side their biggest win since 2014, Kieffer Moore did in 45 minutes what no other Rotherham player has managed in 129 games.
Moore was the spearhead of a stunning Millers performance, grabbing a first-half hat-trick as they hammered Southend 5-0 at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Ipswich loanee, who is quickly turning into a potential star, coolly finished off three superb team moves in a red-hot opening 45 minutes to become the first Rotherham player to score a hat-trick at New York and the first ever in the league.
Only Morecambe’s Jack Dunn, who bagged three in last year’s EFL Cup win, has denied Moore a clear run at the history books.
It was the first treble anywhere since Kieran Agard’s at Wolves back in 2014 – the year the Millers won promotion from this division.
Steve Evans’ team that year were lauded for their all-action swashbuckling displays that were great to watch, but Paul Warne’s men on Saturday were just as enjoyable on the eye.
It was a brilliant all-round display, but the opening 45 minutes were as good a performance as Rotherham fans have witnessed in years.
#EFL RESULT OF THE DAY!
— EFL (@EFL) August 12, 2017
Their high-pressing energy, instrumental in the first goal, their clear direct pattern of attacking and their slick interchange of passing – it was a joy to witness and it could have yielded more than four goals in that first half.
Still, 4-0 up was not a bad position to be in at the break, even though Warne, who ditched his tracksuit for a Pep Guardiola inspired V-neck jumper and trousers outfit, wanted more.
Luckily, he had Moore. While, the striker, who is forging a dangerous looking partnership with Jamie Proctor, stole the headlines with his hat-trick, Joe Newell scored the goal of the game in the first half, finishing off a lovely team move with by sending a 20-yard effort sailing into the corner.
Having witnessed such an onslaught in the first half, the second period had an anti-climatic feel to it, as a battered and bruised Southend, totally obliterated in the first half, tried to restore some pride.
Rotherham still put themselves in a position to try and match their best-ever win at New York – a 6-0 hammering of Notts County in 2014 – and Ryan Williams put the finishing touches on another fine team attack, but they fell short in their quest.
That was the only thing they fell short on, though, and fans left seeing their team win a league game for just the third time this year. On this evidence there will be plenty more occasions before 2017 is out.
A lot of those fans will remember that there used to be a striker called Moore in these parts that helped fire the Millers back to the second tier. They will hope that they just might have found another one.
From the notebook
– It is finally safe to look at the league table. After 38 rounds of fixtures being at the bottom of the table in their respective divisions, the win means Rotherham are no longer propping up the rest.
– While we’re at it, the margin of the win also means that the Millers have a positive goal difference for the first time since the end of the 2013-14 League One season.
– Having had three seasons of dominating teams for periods of play and not punishing them, how nice was it to completely kill off Southend in effectively eight first-half minutes?
– Do they do a League One fantasy league? If so, Moore and Proctor would be getting some serious points. In addition to his three goals, Moore also set up Williams’ strike, while Proctor assisted three goals and played a part in the other.
— Goodbrand Stats (@StatsChristian) August 12, 2017
– Poor old Anton Ferdinand could do without a 7am training session as promised by Southend boss Phil Brown. The former Premier League defender was probably kept awake by nightmares of Moore and Proctor giving him a real going over.
– Darren Potter is already a key player for the Millers. His coolness in the middle of the park, and comfort on the ball, eases pressure and allows Lee Frecklington to go and do what Frecklington does.
– Jonson Clarke-Harris’ future looks grim. He again did not even make it to the bench against Southend and with Warne’s front two firing like they are, and David Ball behind them, his chances of minutes look limited.