Rotherham beat Scunthorpe to reach League One play-off final

Rotherham beat Scunthorpe to reach League One play-off final
Will Vaulks scored his eighth goal of the season to secure Rotherham’s place at Wembley

Rotherham moved to within 90 minutes of an instant return to the Championship as they beat Scunthorpe to reach the League One play-off final at Wembley.

After the first leg finished 2-2, goals from Richard Wood and Will Vaulks at the New York Stadium booked a meeting with Shrewsbury on Sunday, 27 May.

The Millers, relegated last season, went ahead through Wood’s smart header.

Vaulks added a second from close range, before Scunthorpe had captain Rory McArdle sent off for two bookings.

The Iron, who also lost in the play-off semi-finals 12 months ago, had threatened to keep the tie alive before McArdle was red carded, with Ivan Toney, Cameron McGeehan and Duane Holmes all spurning good opportunities to cut the deficit.

But Rotherham survived the period of heavy pressure unscathed and were able to see the tie out relatively comfortably up against 10 men for the final 13 minutes.

The final whistle sparked a pitch invasion from the home supporters, who celebrated wildly having just 13 months ago witnessed their side relegated by a home loss to Fulham.

From relegation despair to the brink of promotion

Vaulks celebrated his goal with a spectacular summersault in front of the Rotherham fans

Rotherham were rooted to the foot of the Championship table for more than seven months of 2016-17, spending just 26 days of the entire campaign outside of the bottom three.

Their final tally of 23 points was the lowest a second-tier team had finished on since three points for a win was introduced.

But under manager Paul Warne, appointed shortly after their relegation was confirmed at the beginning of April 2017, the Millers have enjoyed an impressive turnaround.

A run of seven successive wins during January and February had kept their automatic promotion hopes alive but, having faded towards the end of the season, victory over Scunthorpe leaves them one game away from an immediate return to the Championship.

Defeat for Iron but has Daws passed audition?

Nick Daws had been unbeaten in his nine games in caretaker charge of Scunthorpe before Wednesday’s defeat

The 2-0 reverse brought an end to Scunthorpe’s season and Nick Daws’ tenure as caretaker manager.

However, Iron chairman Peter Swann told BBC Radio Humberside after the game that he hoped the former Bury and Millers midfielder would take the job on a permanent basis and an announcement would be made on Friday.

Daws won four and drew five of his 10 games in charge following Graham Alexander’s sacking in March.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne told BBC Radio Sheffield:

“It’s a bit surreal – to be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet.

“I asked the fans for the atmosphere to be electric and I think it adversely affected my lot as I didn’t think we started very well, I think we were playing the occasion and not the game, but after the first 20 minutes I think we did well.

“I’m really pleased – but Marek pulled us out of the clunk a few times, he made a few great saves, he was excellent tonight.”

Scunthorpe United caretaker manager Nick Daws told BBC Radio Lincolnshire:

“I’m absolutely gutted but really proud. I thought the boys did everything I asked of them.

“The only disappointing bit was that we didn’t finish it off and get that first goal because we had them on the ropes and if we’d have scored I think we’d have probably scored again.

“I’m really proud and told the players they should be proud of themselves and showed immense character.”

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