MATCH REPORT: Rotherham 3 Fleetwood 2

Fleetwood Town boss John Sheridan
Fleetwood Town boss John Sheridan

It is often the curtain raiser on a night out and as New York, New York blasted out at Rotherham's New York Stadium the famous Frank Sinatra track signaled the end of Fleetwood's unbeaten run.

Fleetwood boss John Sheridan had to wait until his eighth game in charge to see his side lose as Rotherham ended their four match winning spree.

That run has been built from the back but Fleetwood conceded more goals than they had in their previous seven games in just one 90 minute time slot at play-off chasing Rotherham.

It didn't look like Sheridan's Midas touch was going to end when Ash Eastham gave Town an early lead but the Achilles Heel that had hampered Town under previous boss Uwe Rosler returned to thwart them as Rotherham slayed them on set-pieces.

An own goal from skipper Nathan Pond and then a fine Joe Newell volley saw Rotherham turn things around but Cian Bolger levelled things up and Town looked to be keeping their run going.

But Richard Wood stole that away as he bundled home a set-piece to end Town's run, though it did not hamper their league position with Sheridan's men remainign 13th.

Sheridan named an unchanged team for the fifth game in a row and the buoyant XI went for the jugular from the off.

Having not yet scored under new boss Sheridan in his previous seven unbeaten games striker Conor McAleny looked hungry to change that stat.

He was at the forefront of Town's electric start with his strike from distance that was tipped around the post by Marek Rodak the catalyst for Town's opener.

Hunter whipped in the subsequent corner with Eastham popping up unmarked to nod the ball towards goal Rodak managed to bat it away but only back to the defender who made no mistake from close range in just the fifth minute.

But that goal woke the play-off chasing hosts up with giant attacker Michael Smith rising above the pack but nodding over.

Fleetwood did not heed that warning about crosses into the box and stumbled on their old Achilles Heel just moments later as they failed to cope with another cross into the mix.

Newell's cross from the left was bundled home at the back stick with the goal credited to Anthony Forde though it appeared the final touch came off skipper Pond in the 12th minute.

Fleetwood had not conceded in their previous five games with Sheridan shoring up the defence since taking over but for the first time under the new boss they looked vulnerable on crosses into the mix, no doubt spooked by the height of Rotherham target man Smith.

The Millers took control from there in with a hostile atmosphere forming in the ground both on and off the pitch after ex-Fleetwood man David Ball's penalty claim was waved away.

The forward went down off the ball in the box alleging his former team mate Bolger had bundled him over but the referee and his assistant failed to spot it much to the disgust of the home faithfull.

It was all Rotherham up until the second half though Town did show a flash of danger on the counter just before the break. McAleny threaded the ball through to Madden and was taken out for his troubles but instead of feeding the unmarked Dempsey on the overlap on his right Madden opted to go for goal with his effort ruled to have been tipped away by Rodak.

It was one of several controversial decisions by Boyeson in the first half with Fleetwood grateful for the half-time whistle as the Millers searched for another goal.

That goal would soon come though as they carried on where they left off in the second half with Fleetwood once again looking vulnerable on set-pieces.

The initial Rotherham corner was cleared but it was Newell who was the first to the follow up sublimely volleying a first-time effort past Cairns in the 51st minute.

But unlike the Fleetwood of the past this Sheridan side has learned to react to set backs as they bounced back moments later.

It was another Hunter set-piece that did the damage, McAleny was tumbled over on the right flank and striker turned wing wizard Hunter whipped the ball up towards Bolger at the back stick with the giant defender rising above the pack and nodding home in the 55th minute.

After that it was a fairly even contest with both sides asking questions.

In the winning run Sheridan's substitutes in Grant and Hiwula have made a difference and they were sent on for the final 25 minutes as Fleetwood searched for a winner.

Hiwula turned provider as he fizzed the ball towards the top of the box but Sowerby's first-time effort cannoned into his own team mate Grant.

But it was a set-piece that was once again to be Fleetwood's undoing, Bolger was controversially ruled to have fouled Taylor on the right flank and Newell's subsequent ball in was diverted home by Richard Wood.

Sheridan responded by sending Burns on for Sowerby as Fleetwood went three up top in hopes to maintain their unbeaten run.

But the momentum was with Rotherham with Emmanuel blasting wide, Smith also flashing the ball past the post with Newell's deflected effort ruffling the side netting and Vaulks wasting the best opportunity of the lot nodding a free header way off target from a Taylor corner as Fleetwood continued to crumble on set-pieces.

Despite the hosts' dominance Fleetwood still were a threat on the counter with Hunter releasing Burns who showed immense skill to keep the ball in play on the left flank before racing towards goal, he ran in to trouble but managed to spin and shoot straight at Rodak.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Pond, Bolger, Hunter, Dempsey, Diagouraga, Sowerby (Burns, 80), Madden (Hiwula, 65), McAleny (Grant, 65). Subs: Neal, Hiwula, Burns, Grant, Glendon, Jones, Biggins.

Rotherham: Rodak, Vaulks, Ajayi (Emmanuel, 64), Wood, Forde (Taylor, 69), Palmer, Ball (Lavery, , Towell, Purrington, Newell, Smith. Subs: Price, Taylor, Ihiekwe, Yates, Williams.

Referee: Carl Boyeson.

Attendance 7562 (away 156)