This was more like it - a result that actually reflects what we deserve out of a game.
We simply blew Rotherham away tonight. Tony Mowbray might be thinking that managing Sunderland is a walk in the park after that performance, as we ran out 3-0 winners against an opposition who didn’t really know what hit them.
Unsurprisingly, considering the time the new man has had in charge, we went with unchanged side from Saturday. To be fair, the lads who took to the field to take on Norwich probably deserved another crack at it after they were unlucky not to come away with more after the shift they put in at the weekend.
In the early exchanges, it wasn’t quite the high-tempo press we saw against Norwich, but in some ways it didn’t need to be. We were by far the better side early doors, with Jack Clarke and Dennis Cirkin giving Rotherham’s on-loan signing from Arsenal, Brooke Norton-Cuffy, an absolute roasting on our left hand side.
Gooch also started brightly down our right and was almost provider for an opener when he left former mag Shane Ferguson on the floor before pulling it back to Ross Stewart who saw his shot cleared off the line.
In the first twenty minutes Rotherham were just happy to survive as they parked the bus, leaving us acres of space to work into until we had to find something to break them down in the final third.
But slowly Rotherham found their feet and threatened a couple of times, requiring a well timed Danny Batth tackle or a smart save from Anthony Patterson, who is looking more at home as our number one with every ninety minutes he tucks under his belt.
Even as the away side managed to break out of the confines of their own area every now and again, we still looked the better team - but as half-time came there was a slight niggling feeling that was familiar from Saturday that we weren’t getting what we deserved out of the game.
We started the second half as we had left off the first, once again there was only one side looking to dominate the game and, only five minutes after the restart, Danny Batth had a great chance that he probably should have buried. We were just waiting for the net to bulge as our central defender rose highest in the box to win more or less a free header, but he clipped the outside of the post from about ten yards out.
There were potentially one or two thoughts drifting that it might just not be our night, but we didn’t have much time to dwell on Danny Batth’s chance, because only a minute or so later Ross Stewart bagged his fourth of the season.
It was that lad Jack Clarke who beat his man for the... wey, I’d lost count how many times by this stage, and once he pulled back to Ross Stewart. There was only going to be one outcome as he struck the ball home from around ten yards out, his shot virtually going through the Rotherham keeper.
It was nothing more than we deserved. We had been on the front foot, constantly looking for the forward pass and had pinned the Millers into their own half for most of the game, but there was a slight element of relief with the goal.
One of the stories of the season so far has been how we haven’t necessarily got the points we have deserved out of games, but just over ten minutes after the opener it was the Clarke & Stewart show at it again, they pair combining once more to double our lead.
A goal kick from Anthony Patterson found Jack Clarke on the left touchline off a Rotherham head and he was off once again, being positive and scaring the life out of the defenders as he got into the box, which ended with the outside of his boot to pick out Stewart at the back post to make it two.
Paul Warne’s side looked done at this point. They knew they were beaten, and they knew they had come up against a better side. We however, didn’t sit back. A long ball up to Ross Stewart five minutes later was predictably controlled impressively and laid off to Jack Clarke on the left hand side.
Even though Stewart gave Clarke the ball, he’d probably be the first to admit it couldn’t really be classed as an assist, as Jack Clarke took off from the left into the centre of the pitch, leaving Rotherham defenders in his wake as he went, until he was clean in on goal and then, on the stretch, impressively reversed it back into the bottom corner.
3-0. Fun times.
We closed the final twenty minutes or so out with some savvy game management and multiple substitutions to save some legs for Boro’ on Monday night.
A great result - collecting three points against not only a side that we should be targeting to collect maximum points against on home soil, but to do it with a performance as good as the one we saw tonight was equally impressive.
It was only four months since we struggled at the Stadium of Light against a solid Rotherham United side, when a late own goal salvaged a points for the Lads that we maybe didn’t deserve.
The Millers looked the better of the two sides that night and there was only Ellis Simms in the starting line-up tonight that wasn’t on our books at the time, but we looked a class above.
Three goals, a clean sheet, a convincing win for the new manager and four new signings introduced to the fans at half-time - all-in-all, a good night’s work if you ask me.