Rotherham United 2-0 Scunthorpe United Six Things: deserved win for the Millers

Vaulks impresses –

Rotherham United are in the League One play-off final thanks to a 4-2 semi-final victory over Scunthorpe United, after a 2-0 second leg win came through goals from Richard Wood and Will Vaulks. Here’s six things from the game.

Holmes’ movement

Scunthorpe were on the back foot for much of the first half, but they carried an occasional threat on the break through the movement of Duane Holmes. The ex-Huddersfield man early on released Hakeeb Adelakun, who didn’t quite have the vision to pick out Ivan Toney, with the wide man instead taking on a long-range effort that lacked the power to test Marek Rodak. While the Iron showed flashes of potential at the top end of the pitch, their limited passing from the back made it harder for them to bring their forwards into play.

Watson’s elementary work

As the first half wore on, midfielders Matty Palmer and Richie Towell won more second balls, allowing Rotherham to get into crossing positions . The quality of end product improved in the last 15 minutes of the first half, as Scunthorpe relied on Rory Watson’s excellent stops from Michael Ihiekwe’s header and then Towell’s drive to stay level.

Vaulks’ influence

They weren’t level at the break though: just before then, Vaulks’ pin-point long throw found centre-back Richard Wood, who beat Rory McArdle in the air to power home a header. While Ryan Williams and Joe Newell excelled at holding onto the ball in good areas for the Millers, Vaulks’ drive allowed him to grab hold of the midfield against the unusually quiet Ryan Yates and Funso Ojo in the second half. It was fitting, therefore, that he scored the clinching goal on the hour mark.

Scunthorpe’s system shake-up

Scunthorpe’s Cameron McGeehan had made a crucial impact in the previous leg, but his arrival had a less desirable impact this time. Hakeeb Adelakun, Josh Morris moved the right but Duane Holmes was slow to get the message he needed to be on the left, thus Josh Emmanuel had space to roam down Rotherham’s right. The full-back pulled the ball back for Vaulks, arriving late in the box, to tap home.

Millers make Wembley

Rotherham are now one game away from an instant return to the Championship. They can be found at 7/5 with some free bets bookmakers to beat an impressive Shrewsbury side in 90 minutes. After the performance against Scunthorpe, they will fancy their chances.

Iron staying put

Despite some pressure from Nick Daws’ men which saw Toney and Holmes go close, Rory McArdle’s red card meant they could not avoid a defeat that sees them remain in League One next season. Performances though have improved significantly since Daws and assistant Andy Dawson took charge for the second time; the duo’s record in charge arguably merits a chance to lead the Iron to promotion over a full season.