Ched Evans grabbed a dramatic 97th minute winner to knock Rotherham United out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as Sheffield United ran out 2-1 winners at Don Valley Stadium.
The two teams met in the South Yorkshire derby in the second round of the tournament following Sheffield United’s 2-1 victory after coming from behind at Burton Albion and Rotherham’s first round bye.
Goals from Evans and Chris Porter separated by a goal from Rotherham’s Alex Revell was enough to win it for the Blades who made the short journey across the city.
Despite long periods of Rotherham pressure Sheffield United looked comfortable throughout the first half after taking the lead after 9 minutes with a goal from Chris Porter.
Porter beat his man and slotted the ball into the back of the net through the legs of keeper Andy Warrington.
Although the persistent Rotherham pressure produced very little rewards in the first half they managed to get back into the game in the second half with a goal after 69 minutes.
Captain Alex Revell appeared at the back post after a goal mouth scramble to put the game back on level terms.
In the period following the Rotherham equaliser the game looked like it could go either way with both teams attacking each other and stringing passes together but both were unable to create goal scoring chances.
As the match looked like it was heading to extra-time and the possibility of penalties Evans popped up to score his second of the match with a low shot from outside the area that went in off the post beyond a despairing Warrington.
Rotherham began the game the brighter of the two teams forcing three corners in as many opening minutes and putting the higher division team under pressure.
The early pressure was undone after a high ball played from deep in the Blades’ defence caught out Michael Raynes.
Chris Porter beat Raynes, controlled the ball and muscled his way past the defender into the penalty area.
Once clear, Porter confidently finished through the legs of Andy Warrington into the bottom corner of the net.
Warrington had been brought into the team after regular Millers’ goalkeeper Conrad Logan was dropped following his mistake which gifted Port Vale in their 2-0 win at the weekend.
The Millers’ best chance of the first half came from midfield Jason Taylor’s powerful shot from outside the area. Talyor neatly turned his man in the centre circle and forced his way to the edge of the Blades’ penalty area where he unleashed a shot that George Long had to beat away.
After the break Ched Evans came close to doubling the Blades’ lead when he ran onto a ball behind Dale Tonge and hit a right-footed shot against the underside of the bar, only to see the ball rebound back into play and be cleared by the defence.
Ben Pringle should have scored for the Millers after having his seven yard shot charged down after picking up a loose ball in the box after the Blades failed to clear their lines.
Worryingly for Rotherham Mark Bradley had to be stretched off after 64 minutes following an innocuous looking challenge on the edge of Sheffield’s penalty area.
The Millers’ pressure paid off after 69 minutes when Captain Alex Revell finished from seven yards out following a counter attack from the home team.
Revell put the ball into the back of the net after Lewis Grabban unlocked the defence from the left hand side.
He broke into the box and forced Long in the Sheffield goal to come out and attempt to smother the ball.
Long couldn’t gather the ball and it fell back to the feet of Grabban who played the ball along the six-yard box through a crowded penalty area to Revell who put the ball into the largely unguarded net
Warrington was forced to make a finger tip save at full stretch Nathaniel Mendez-Laing as he curling shot looked destined for the top corner of the net.
Evans sent the Sheffield United fans into raptures deep into stoppage time when some neat play from the United forwards caught Rotherham short at the back.
Evans capitalised on the space he was allowed in the Rotherham half and fired a low shot along the ground from outside the area that hit Warrington’s left hand post and found its way into the back of the net.
United now look to be one of the favourites for the trophy and will go into the draw for the next round, which will be made on Saturday
Rotherham United: A. Warrington, D. Tonge, M. Raynes, M. Bradley (J. Mullins 64) , T. Newey, B. Pringle, D. Harrison, D. Schofield, J. Taylor, A. RevelL (C) (C. Holroyd 90+3), L. Grabban.
Unused: C. Logan, L. Foster, P. Warne
Sheffield United: G. Long, M. Lowton, L, Jean-Francois, N. Montgomery, C. Evans, R. Flynn (D. McAllister 89), N. Collins, R. Cresswell, H. Maguire, C. Porter (N. Mendez-Laing 55 (D. Philliskirk 90+2)), K. McDonald.
Unused: S. Simsonsen, E. Parrino
Referee: G. Sutton
Assistants: D Plowright, G. Stott, R. Newman (4th official)
Goals: Sheffield United: C. Porter 9, 90+7
Rotherham: A Revell 69
Yellows: Sheffield United: Kevin McDonald (95)
Attendance: 6737 (4070 away)