Rotherham’s fairytale few years continued as they defied a three-point deduction to secure their Sky Bet Championship survival with a 2-1 win over Reading which condemned Wigan and Millwall to relegation.
The Millers, hit with the penalty by the Football League last week for fielding an ineligible player, won it through goals from Matt Derbyshire and Lee Frecklington in the space of six second-half minutes and it continues a remarkable period of success for the club.
While all the talk this week has been of Bournemouth’s rise to prominence from adversity, the South Yorkshire club have been on a similar journey, having also started the 2008/09 season in League Two with minus 17 points and under boss Steve Evans they have won back-to-back promotions and now booked their place in the second tier for another year.
They were made to do it the hard way with the points deduction, but this victory means they can go to Leeds on the final day of the season with no pressure on, despite a nervy ending after Oliver Norwood’s late strike for Steve Clarke’s side.
All the focus in the build-up to the game was the prize on offer to the Millers but Reading, woefully out of form and now without a win in nine, had clearly not read the script.
After an initial opening burst from the fired-up hosts, where Danny Ward drilled a cross-shot just wide, the visitors looked as if they were the ones with everything to play for.
But a rampant two-goal salvo in six minutes at the start of the second period answered their fans’ prayers.
In the 52nd minute Ward made headway down the left and sent in a dangerous cross which Derbyshire prodded home at the near post with Andersen stranded.
Then it was almost a carbon copy soon after, but this time Frecklington tapped in at the far post after another Ward centre as the Millers clinched survival. Norwood’s late goal meant a nervy last few minutes but the celebrations started in earnest at full-time.