Rotherham United: Hearts broken on Valentine’s Day ... Millers 2 Huddersfield Town 3

Will Vaulks up against Izzy Brown
Will Vaulks up against Izzy Brown

It was Valentine’s Day, yet romance was non-existent at New York Stadium.

Rotherham United, the Championship’s bottom club, had gone toe to toe with promotion-chasing Huddersfield Town and were seconds away from a memorable 2-2 draw.

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

They even had a chance to claim all three points in the Yorkshire derby and were denied only by a wonder-save 10 minutes from the end.

But their hearts were broken deep into time added on as Tommy Smith fired home the winner for the visitors.

Bouquets all round for the battling Millers. They played two up front, went after Town and led twice. It never looked like a match between 24th place and third.

“Sometimes, you’ve just got to have a go,” interim boss Paul Warne said.

“The lads put up a good fight. I’m proud of the performance.

“I was right behind Smith and thought ‘please don’t shoot’. He hit it as sweet as a nut.

“The lads gave me everything. They deserved something from the game against the division’s most in-form team.”

Rotherham could have been ahead inside five minutes when Jon Taylor lofted a free-kick into the Huddersfield penalty area and Richard Wood and Tom Adeyemi found themselves in plenty of space only for Adeyemi’s final touch to go wide.

There was much better from Wood at a Taylor corner in the 12th minute when he outjumped the Terriers defence. His header was stopped on the line but fellow centre-half Semi Ajayi was on hand to bundle the ball in for his first goal in senior football.

The Millers lead lasted only seven minutes as old boy Izzy Brown’s run ended with the ball at the feet of Joe Lolley and his low 20-yarder found the bottom-right corner of Richard O’Donnell’s net via a deflection.

Rotherham, working hard all over the pitch and getting in Town faces, were winning the majority of aerial duels in the Terriers’ box and Wood was just over with a power header.

Just after the interval, Danny Ward did superbly down the left only for Taylor to miss the cross while at the other end Elias Kachunga was inches over with a header from Brown’s supply.

Kachunga somehow headed Smith’s cross wide from just a couple of yards out before the Millers took the lead in the 71st-minute with Adeyemi’s wonderful long-distance effort.

Sugar is sweet, but not as sweet as the midfield man’s 25-yard strike, from Joe Newell’s feed, which flashed into the Terriers’ goal.

Town were level again within four minutes as Kachunga diverted in Aaron Mooy’s cross from close range.

Then, on 80 minutes, came the Millers’ big chance to go in front for a third time.

Will Vaulks was certain his header was going in, but Town goalkeeper Danny Ward produced a stunning save.

With time almost up, Smith enjoyed his champagne moment in front of a large travelling contingent, leaving Rotherham still 14 points adrift of safety as another game slips by.

Despite the crushing disappointment, Warne refused to be too downhearted.

“It’s alway Valentine’s Day in the Warne household,” he said.

“I’ll go home, have a glass of wine and wake the wife up.”