Good day: Richard Wood
Thirteen years had elapsed since his last appearance in a play-off final but the wait was most definitely worth it, Wood netting twice to send the Millers into the Championship. Not a bad time, either, to score two goals in the same game for the first time in a career that began with Sheffield Wednesday way back in the 200203 season.
Bad day: Omar Beckles
Bidding to move up a division for the fifth consecutive year, the London-born defender had a torrid time. He was penalised for the early penalty that David Ball had saved. Then, after getting away with a very similar offence as Wood was impeded when trying to reach a corner, Beckles twice lost his man for the goals that meant the upwards trajectory of his career was put on hold for at least a year.
Key moment: 103rd minute
Mat Sadler’s foul on Ryan Williams provided Joe Newell with an ideal position to send over one of his trademark deliveries. Just as he had all afternoon, Newell duly obliged and Wood did the rest by stealing a march on his marker before side-footing beyond Dean Henderson.
Ref watch: Robert Jones
He knew plenty about these two teams, having officiated at the November meeting that saw Shrewsbury triumph 2-1 at the New York Stadium. That afternoon was not without controversy, Jones having sent off Shrews captain Abu Ogogo and Paul Hurst admitted to being “amazed” during the build-up that the same referee had been awarded the final. Hurst, however, could have few complaints with the early penalty award with Jones being spot on. After that, though, the decisions became more and more erratic, and just how Shaun Whalley stayed on the field after clattering into the shin of Ryan Williams when already on a booking is something only Jones can answer.
The better team won but, boy, Rotherham made hard work of their victory. David Ball’s missed penalty being followed by Caolan Lavery and Michael Smith spurning excellent opportunities meant the final went to extra-time when, by rights, the Millers should have wrapped things up. Still, justice was done in the end, thanks to Wood’s second goal of an afternoon that will live long in the memory of those who travelled south to the capital.