Rotherham back in the survival race after win over Brentford
Rotherham breathed fresh life into their fight against Sky Bet Championship relegation as Neil Warnock tasted success for the first time with a 2-1 win over Brentford at New York Stadium.
Warnock, who answered the Millers' SOS call a fortnight ago, had seen his new side take just a point from his first three games at the helm, but goals from Matt Derbyshire and Danny Ward produced a vital victory which gives them hope off pulling off a great escape at the foot of the table.
Their first victory in eight games sees them reduce the gap to safety to three points after MK Dons were beaten late on at Blackburn.
Brentford did draw level on the stroke of half-time in a goal, shrouded in controversy as Alan Judge scored after a harshly-awarded penalty was saved, but defeat was a fourth in five games as their season peters out.
There was a sense of do or die about this game for the Millers given their daunting run of fixtures which sees them take on promotion-chasing sides in their next four games.
But they were reliant on goalkeeper Lee Camp to keep them on level terms as he made a brilliant save to deny Judge midway through the first half.
After Kirk Broadfoot had handled just outside the area, the dangerous Judge whipped a devilish free-kick over the wall and towards the top corner, before Camp acrobatically tipped the ball over the crossbar.
The Millers, playing in a typical Warnock style of direct, pressing play, resumed their barrage and it saw them create a golden opportunity as the ball fell to Greg Halford on the penalty spot, but he sliced his shot wide.
That did not prove too costly, though, as Warnock was able to celebrate the first goal of his tenure in the 29th minute when Lee Frecklington stole into the Bees area and fed Derbyshire who rolled into the bottom corner.
It looked like the Millers were going to get into half-time in front, until referee Mark Brown took centre stage by awarding Brentford a penalty in the 42nd minute when Frecklington had clearly won the ball in his challenge with Sergi Canos.
Judge's spot-kick was superbly saved by Camp, but the rebound fell straight to Judge who made no mistake second time.
Rotherham used their sense of injustice to fire themselves up after the break and they laid siege in the early stages of the second half.
Halford flicked a header just over before seeing a goalbound shot blocked while Joe Mattock bent a free-kick just wide and Jerome Thomas tested David Button's handling with a low shot.
It looked like Brentford had weathered the storm, but Rotherham came again and this time it produced a goal with 19 minutes remaining.
Ward was denied brilliantly by Button, as the Bees keeper tipped his volley on to the crossbar, but from the resulting corner Ward fired home a loose ball to restore the Millers' lead.
The Bees almost produced an instant replay as they marauded into the Rotherham box and were lining up to shoot, but some fine defending saw John Swift and Phillip Hofmann efforts blocked, the latter a brave challenge from Frazer Richardson on the goalline.
United then saw it out with ease to register a vital win.