MATCH FOCUS

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

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.

Ver­dict

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.

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