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Wayne Rooney watching on.
Wayne Rooney watching on.
Image: PA

Three goals in final 14 minutes down Rooney's Derby in battle of Championship strugglers

Jason Knight played the full match again against Rotherham, but the Rams’ unbeaten run came to an end.
Feb 3rd 2021, 9:34 PM 14,617 3

ROTHERHAM MADE UP ground on fellow Championship strugglers Derby as they claimed a vital 3-0 win.

Wayne Rooney’s Derby had picked up three wins in-a-row since losing the reverse fixture at Pride Park which had put a gap of five points between the two struggling outfits.

That cushion looked like being maintained before three goals in the last 14 minutes swung it emphatically the Millers’ way, leaving them just two points from safety.

This was the third attempt to play this game after the previous two had been called off following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Rotherham camp in December and then due to Tuesday night’s heavy downpour which caused waterlogging.

The 24-hour delay allowed both teams to include deadline day signings in their squads, with Derby having a quartet of newboys on the bench and Rotherham’s substitutes including Lewis Wing.

The pitch had recovered overnight and the ball seemed to be zipping around as Derby created the first opportunity with Jason Knight’s shot being clung on to by Viktor Johansson.

Knight was one of four Irish, or Ireland-eligible, players involved, with his team-mate Louie Watson on the bench, and Trevor Clarke and Jake Southern-Cooper held in reserve as unused Rotherham substitutes.

Half-chances came thick and fast at both ends from there, before the game caught fire in the second period.

Max Bird was denied early on  after wriggling clear of a challenge on the edge of the box and curling an effort which Johansson had to parry. Matt Olosunde then latched onto an opening at the other end but the right-back’s effort from just inside the box was tame.

Rooney brought on debutants Patrick Roberts and Lee Gregory in search of a winner and the latter spurned a great chance within minutes of entering the fray.

The Stoke loanee got ahead of his man from Nathan Byrne’s cross but his header was skewed wide of goal.

rotherham-united-v-derby-county-sky-bet-championship-aesseal-new-york-stadium Jason Knight in action. Source: PA

That proved to be a big moment as just minutes later, Rotherham were celebrating at the other end. They took a 76th-minute lead with Michael Ihiekwe on hand at the back post to prod past Marshall after Wes Harding’s long-range free-kick was flicked perfectly into his path by Michael Smith.

The points were made safe in the 81st minute with Smith finishing clinically at the near post after Matt Crooks had burst down the left flank.

Ryan Giles rounded off a great night for the Millers on 88 minutes as he went on a mazy run through the Derby defence and fired powerfully into the bottom corner.

Meanwhile, rampant Brentford moved into the Championship automatic promotion places with a 3-2 win over Bristol City.

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The Bees struck back after the visitors snatched an early lead to extend their unbeaten run to 19 games.

Victory takes Thomas Frank’s side above Swansea and to within four points of leaders Norwich, having played a game fewer.

City took just three minutes to break the deadlock, Zak Vyner ghosting in at the far post to stab home Jack Hunt’s free kick as the Bees’ defence ball watched.

Sergi Canos equalised just before the half hour, firing home after former Bees keeper Daniel Bentley could only parry Tariqe Fosu’s driven cross into his path.

The hosts took the lead minutes after the break, Ivan Toney volleying home his 20th of the season from Fosu’s pinpoint near post cross.

Saman Ghoddos made sure of the points with a superb strike just after the hour, ramming home the rebound after his initial shot was tipped onto the bar by Bentley.

But substitute Nakhi Wells made Thomas Frank’s side sweat with a cool finish in the 90th minute after a Mathias Jensen slip on the edge of the box.

Alex Gilbert (Brentford) and Max O’Leary (Bristol) brought the Irish interest in that one, but both were unused subs.

Elsewhere, in the FA Women’s Continental Cup tonight, Chelsea and Bristol City booked their final spots.

The Blues romped to a 6-0 win over West Ham — for whom Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was on the bench, and Leanne Kiernan is also on the books — while Bristol were 1-0 winners over Leicester City.

- with reporting from Emma Duffy.

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