Rotherham United live to fight another year in the Championship after a nerve-wracking 2-1 win over Reading at the AESSEAL New York Stadium last night.
Rotherham, leading 2-0 with goals by Matt Derbyshire and Lee Frecklington on 52 and 58 minutes, had to suffer an agonising nine minutes after Reading pulled one back on 87 minutes and the referee played six minutes of added time.
Manager Steve Evans resisted the temptation to make changes on the night when Rotherham United could guarantee their Championship safety.
The Millers boss had said he may freshen up his side against Reading, but in the end stuck with the same players who had earned a 1-1 draw with Norwich on a thrilling afternoon at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday.
Three points against a Royals side with only one win in their last 10 league matches would see Rotherham achieve second-tier safety with one match still to play despite their three-point Football league deduction, and relegate Millwall and Wigan Athletic.
Millers fans responded to Evans’ call to come out and support their team and New York was close to a sell-out.
FA Cup semi-finalists Reading, despite their poor run, were already safe.
Rotherham made most of the early running and Danny Ward had a left-footed shot from the left side of the box blocked after good work by Ben Pringle.
Ward was close again when his hot from outside the box was blocked having been put through by Lee Frecklington.
Reading’s Pavel Pogrebnyk went close after Simon Cooper set up the chance but Rotherham just edged first half possession.
Matt Derbyshire shot over after Frecklington headed on.
And the two swapped roles as Frecklington had a shot saved following a Derbyshire prompt.
Kirk Broadfoot headed wide after a Ben Pringle cross and the half finished with a Derbyshire effort off target.
Derbyshire, who had been so prominent in the first half, finally made the vital breakthrough for the Millers after 52 minutes, scoring after a cross by Danny Ward.
And six minutes later it was 2-0 with the Millers stepping closer to safety.
Ward was again the provider as Frecklington swept home from the right side of the box.
But a nervous finale was set-up as Reading pulled one back three minutes from time.
Oliver Norwood scored from outside the box to the bottom left corner after being fed by Stephen Kelly.
Rotherham United (4-3-3): Martinez; Hunt, Morgan, Broadfoot, Lafferty; Frecklington, Smallwood, Arnason, Pringle; Derbyshire, Ward. Subs: Collin, Wood, Bowery, Green, Hammill, Wilson, Clarke-Harris.
Reading: Andersen, Gunter, Kelly, Hector, Obita, Cooper, Karacan, Chalobah, Norwood, Cox, Pogrebnyk. Subs: Federici, Pearce, McCleary, Mackie, Blackman, Stacey, Appiah.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).