Rotherham United 2-1 Shrewsbury Town (AET): Wood double secures Championship promotion for Millers

Rotherham United booked their places back into the Championship after a dramatic 2-1 win against League One rivals Shrewsbury Town.

Rotherham were gifted a golden chance to open the scoring nine minutes in when the Millers were awarded a penalty after a foul on their captain in the penalty area.

However, David Ball’s spot kick was well saved by Dean Henderson who guessed correctly as to where the striker was going to shoot.

Paul Warne’s side continued to dominate, though, and their patience paid off 33 minutes in when Richard Wood raised high for a corner, and powered the ball past Henderson with a bullet header to give Rotherham the lead.

Despite playing quality football that would had impressed any neutral, Rotherham were caught out in the 58 minute by a fantastic Shrewsbury goal that came straight from the training pitch.

A neat one-two from a free-kick resulted in Alex Rodman being set through on goal, and an easy finish past the Millers keeper to level the game up.

There were chances for Rotherham to win the game, with substitutes Caolan Lavery and Ryan Williams both coming inches away from sending Rotherham back into the Championship, but Shrewsbury’s star man, Henderson, denied them both.

With the game sent into extra time due to the heroics of Henderson, Rotherham looked slightly nervous that they would not find their second goal and remain in League One for another season.

Then Wood stepped up.

Another set-piece from Newell saw the ball fall perfectly to the skipper, who this time slide the ball in past Henderson, and off the post and in to seal Rotherham’s promotion back into the Championship.

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Early drama

Rotherham from the offset were the more dominant side.

Ball was finding it easy to find open pockets of space in the final third, and from set-pieces, the Yorkshire side were able to exploit and Shrewsbury’s weak points, and in the ninth-minute United’s early efforts were awarded when they won a penalty.

The captain Wood was brought down in the area after Omar Beckles brought the defender down, and the referee did not hesitate in awarding a penalty.

Ball stepped up to the spot, but his body language in the run up gave away his desired location for where he wanted to place the ball, and League One goalkeeper of the year Henderson palmed the spot kick away, to keep it at 0-0.

Captain fantastic

It took time for Shrewsbury to get back into the game after their faulty opening 10 minutes. But despite their change in attitude to get back into the game, it couldn’t prevent Rotherham from taking the lead 32 minutes.

Newell had been a menace from set-pieces all game, and just after the half-hour mark his chances finally paid off as his corner from the right found the head of the Rotherham captain Wood, who leapt high above the Shrewsbury players, and his powerful header into the ground was too much for Henderson and the skipper gave the Yorkshire team a deserved lead going into halftime.

Shrewsbury equalise

Rotherham were pleasing on the eye in the opening half playing smooth, fluid football that gave them a deserved lead, but in the second half Shrewsbury were able to nullify their beauty to stop them from being dangerous.

Shrewsbury, though, had been so ordinary and average throughout the game that a goal looked unlikely.

So when Rodman made it 1-1 in the 56th minute, there was almost a stunned silence in the stadium for a brief second before the Shrew fans erupted into euphoria.

From a set-piece, Shaun Whalley played in Mat Sadler inside the penalty area with a simple pass, and with a flick that was practices multiple times on the training ground, the defender played in Rodman through the mass of bodies inside the box, setting the winger one-on-one with the keeper from six yards out, and the attacker had an easy finish past Marek Rodak to level the game up.

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A fight to the end

Neither side wanted the game to go to extra time as the humidity and temperature of the Wembley pitch created conditions that exhausted the players quicker than usual, and both teams used this to their advantage.

Rotherham began to attack more directly rather than trying to outsmart their opponents from set-pieces, which almost resulted in the Millers retaking the lead on more than a few occasions.

Substitute Lavery came close twice in the final 20 minutes when his first chance saw the winger break through on goal, but only for his curling effort to fly past the far post.

His second attempt resulted in Henderson yet again making a vital save to deny his opponents from taking the lead yet again.

Henderson was called into action again in the final chance of the 90 minutes when the on-loan Manchester United keeper made a great save to deny Williams from sending Rotherham to the Championship, and also sending the game to extra-time.

Wood, the God of Yorkshire

A second Rotherham goal had been coming all game. They outmatched and out played Shrewsbury for the majority of the game, and when the whistle for extra-time blew the side from Yorkshire knew they were the favourites to go on and bag that all important third goal.

It came on the stroke of halftime, and once again, it came from Wood.

Another set-piece from Newell this time found the feet of the towering defender, who snuck in behind the Shrewsbury defence to meet with the ball first time, and with a sliding shot, Wood beat Henderson for a second time to give Rotherham the lead yet again.

Shrewsbury tried to find a response, but the will and determination of the Rotherham players was too much, and the Millers deservedly gained promotion to the Championship after a one-year absence.