Rotherham 2-3 Huddersfield: Tommy Smith nets late winner as Terriers close on top two
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/02/17 10:46pm
Huddersfield blew the Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion race wide open with a thrilling 3-2 win at Rotherham.
The Terriers looked like they were going to be held to a disappointing draw by the rock-bottom Millers until they showcased their credentials with Tommy Smith's injury-time winner.
With Newcastle and Brighton both drawing, David Wagner's men cut the gap to second place to four points and will fancy their chances of gatecrashing the top two after a ninth win in 11 games.
It was cruel on the Millers as they twice took the lead but saw goals from Semi Ajayi and Tom Adeyemi cancelled out by Joe Lolley and Elias Kachunga before Smith's late intervention.
The Millers proved they were not going to roll over when they took an 11th-minute lead. Jon Taylor's corner was headed goalwards by Richard Wood and when it was blocked on the line, Ajayi rammed home from close range for his first goal for the club.
That advantage lasted only eight minutes as Lolley broke his duck for the season. Former Millers loanee Izzy Brown was the architect as his surging run saw the ball full to Lolley on the edge of the area and he converted sweetly with a first-time finish.
Rotherham have been competitive at home recently and they were causing their visitors continuous trouble from set-pieces, with Wood sending a header from another corner over when he should have hit the target.
Huddersfield ended the first half with a spell of domination as Kachunga started to get some joy down the left. His 50-yard run almost ended in a Brown effort before he tested Millers goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell with a low shot from distance.
It followed the same script after the restart as Lolley curled in another low effort and then Kachunga headed over, before their best chance came just after the hour and Kachunga was again the guilty party.
Smith had too much space on the right and his precise cross was perfect for Kachunga, who should have buried his header but somehow, four yards out, managed to put it wide.
Just as they were beginning to turn the screw, Huddersfield again found themselves behind as Rotherham scored the goal of the game in the 71st minute.
Joe Newell fed Adeyemi and the Millers midfielder unleashed an unstoppable drive from 30 yards out which flew into the bottom corner.
However, again the home joy was short lived as Kachunga finally scored for the Terriers four minutes later. Rajiv Van La Parra put on the afterburners to earn a corner which Kachunga headed home from inside the six-yard box.
It looked like the Millers were going to hold on for a battling point until they suffered stoppage-time heartache. The Terriers' emotions were on the other end of the scale as Smith drilled into the bottom corner from just inside the area in the second minute of additional time.
Rotherham boss Paul Warne:
"They put in one of their performances of his reign but still could not get a point. I am proud of the way the lads were defending, so to concede so late on is difficult to swallow. It was hard for me to look at them. I am proud of the performance, I am disappointed with the result.
"I didn't think they were going to score, I thought luck was on my side. It was a great goal for them, but I thought our lads competed with them toe-to-toe, I am proud of the way the lads played. The lads give me everything, I can't go in an annihilate them."
Huddersfield boss David Wagner:
"There may be no better way to show the character, the togetherness and the quality which the squad has. The second half was fantastic, we played very well, we created chances.
"You see we scored the winner in stoppage time. It sounds like we were lucky but in my opinion we were not lucky, we were strong and totally deserved to win the football match. If we needed a push for the last 15 games of the season this can give it us."