Full-time: Ellis Harrison scores first league goal as Bristol Rovers triumph at Rotherham United
Bristol Rovers are off the bottom of the Football League after producing a scintillating display at Rotherham this afternoon to claim back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Goals from Lee Brown, Ellis Harrison and Joe Anyinsah secured a 3-1 victory over the promotion-chasing Millers, which sees John Ward's men leapfrog AFC Wimbledon at the foot-of-the-table.
The performance was on a par with the way Rovers dismantled Fleetwood in a 3-0 success a fortnight ago and served to inject optimism amongst supporters that the battle for survival will not be beyond them with Ward in charge.
Brown got Rovers off the mark two minutes from the end of a cat and mouse opening period when stepping up to send Rotherham goalkeeper Andy Warrington the wrong way from the penalty spot after debutant striker Ryan Brunt was wrestled to the ground by Claude Davis.
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Things went from bad to worse for Davis – making his debut after arriving from Crawley Town earlier this week – in first-half stoppage time when a second yellow card was brandished in his direction for a trip on Eliot Richards to prevent him from going through on goal.
Evans was livid about that incident that left his side facing a numerical disadvantage for the remainder of the afternoon – but could have had few complaints over conceding slender advantage at the break following a disciplined opening 45 minutes by Ward's men in which Rovers defended stoically to frustrate the Millers.
Rovers maintained their charge on their return for the second half and were able to double the lead in the 52nd minute when Harrison pounced to score his first league goal a matter of 180 seconds after coming off the bench to replace Eliot Richards.
A third goal followed just after the hour mark – the ease with which Anyinsah was able to play a one-two out wide with Michael Smith before advancing into the penalty area to rifle a shot under Warrington prompting Rotherham fans to exit in their droves.
The fact the Millers had still to have shot on target by this point was also a cause for much invective aimed from supporters in the direction of manager Evans.
Midfielder Lee Frecklington rectified that at least with a low drive in the 66th minute – Steve Mildenhall, however, was equal to the effort when pushing the ball around the post.
Former Bristol City midfielder David Noble offered Rotherham a glimmer of hope by scoring a goal with his first touch after coming on as a substitute in the 73rd minute – but this new and improved Rovers never looked in any danger of surrendering their two-goal advantage before the referee brought proceedings to an end.
Rovers (4-3-3): Mildenhall; Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown; Clucas, O'Toole, Norburn; Anyinsah (Clarkson, 72), Brunt (Woodards, 80) Richards (Harrison, 52). Subs: Gough, Broghammer, Harrison, Hitchcock, McDonald.
Rotherham United (4-4-2): Warrington; Tonge, Mullins, Davis, Ridelagh; Arnason, Frecklington (Noble, 72), O'Connor, Pringle; Nardiello (Cameron, 46), Revell (Odejayi, 59). Subs: Thompson, Morgan, Agard, Kearns.