Agony and ecstasy for Canaries connections as final Championship place is sealed
Norwich’s own Paul Warne will be a Championship manager again after guiding Rotherham United to League One play-off final success – at the expense of Norwich City’s Ben Godfrey and Carlton Morris.
The Millers beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1 in extra-time at Wembley, to secure an immediate return to the second tier – where they will face the Canaries, among others next season.
The Shrews’ City loanee pair played their part in getting them to Wembley and competing in the final.
But Godfrey’s 120-minute efforts were not enough, while Morris’ encouraging afternoon ended in huge frustrated as a knee injury forced him off shortly after an hour.
To add to the subplots, Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst – a former Millers team-mate of Warne – will immediately be touted for the vacancy at Ipswich Town, following the end of Shrewsbury’s season.
The first half at Wembley belonged to Rotherham. Shrews goalkeeper Dean Henderson had already saved David Ball’s 10th-minute penalty after Omar Beckles hauled down Millers captain Richard Wood – before Wood earned Warne’s side a half-time lead.
The Millers captain lost Beckles and headed home Joe Newell’s corner on 32 minutes.
That was moments after Hurst switched Godfrey as the sole holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation – and the move ensured Town looked more secure until half-time.
The second half struggled to get going, until Shrewsbury sparked into life with a superbly worked equaliser on 58 minutes.
A peach of a training ground move saw Shaun Whalley, captain Mat Sadler and Alex Rodman effectively walk the ball through a static Millers defence, and setting up the rest of Sunday’s Wembley final a treat.
From there the game opened up, with both Godfrey and Morris getting to stretch their legs.
Sadly, one classy break effectively ended the striker’s afternoon early as he jarred his left knee following Wood’s covering tackle.
Morris had three attempts at continuing his efforts, but had to call it a day on 66 minutes – and cut a frustrated, angry figure at his misfortune.
Henderson produced an excellent stop at full stretch to deny substitute Ryan Williams’ run and drive – taking the final to extra-time in the process.
Whalley was lucky to avoid his second booking for a nasty kick on Williams, before United retook the lead and clinched promotion.
More sloppy set-piece defending saw Newell’s 103rd minute delivery slotted home by Wood, for the skipper’s second goal of the game – past a horribly exposed Henderson.
• Rotherham (4-4-1-1): Rodak; Emmanuel, Ajayi, Wood (c), Mattock; Taylor (Williams 75), Towell, Vaulks, Newell (Forde 111); Ball (Lavery 71); Smith. Unused subs: Price (GK), Cummings, Palmer, Purrington. Goals: Wood 32, 103; Ball missed pen 10. Bookings: None.
• Shrewsbury (4-4-1-1): Henderson; Bolton (Riley 73), Nsiala, Sadler (c), Beckles; Whalley, B Morris (Payne 56), Godfrey, Rodman; Nolan; C Morris (John-Lewis 66). Unused subs: MacGillivray (GK), Lowe, Jones, Brown. Goals: Rodman 58. Bookings: Whalley, Bolton, Sadler.
• Referee: Rob Jones; Attendance: 26,218
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