A first-half brace from Rotherham United's Michael Smith sentenced Rovers to defeat against the Millers.
Richie Wellens made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Portsmouth. The injured Tom Anderson was replaced with Branden Horton while Tiago Cukur dropped to the bench for Matt Smith.
Within the opening five minutes of the game, Mickel Miller was shown a yellow card for a foul on Ben Close. A minute later and Miller would head the ball over Pontus Dahlberg’s cross bar from Kieran Sadlier’s cross.
Rovers worked a set piece well with John Bostock playing a long ball from the middle of the pitch towards Close on the edge of the box who teed up Ethan Galbraith and the Manchester United loanee volleyed over the goal.
Later the 20-year-old midfielder floated an effort into the box, but unfortunately missed the blue shirts in there.
On the 23rd minute Jamie Lindsay thought he had headed Rotherham into the lead but it was ruled offside. Only three minutes later and the home side took the lead through Michael Smith from close range.
The next chance for Rovers came from a Close corner which was finished with a double shot from Charlie Seaman which was blocked on each occasion.
In injury time during the first-half Michael Smith got his and Rotherham’s second of the afternoon which was a bitter blow for Wellens’ side who went into the break 2-0 down.
The second-half started brighter for Rovers with Seaman just missing a connection on Tommy Rowe’s ball across goal. Cukur was quickly introduced to the game and shortly after Miller was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Kyle Knoyle which gave Rovers a glimer of hope of getting back into the game.
Galbraith was next in the referee’s book for a mistimed tackle on Ben Wiles before Rovers made their second change on the hour mark which saw John Bostock replaced by Aidan Barlow.
Matt Smith forced a comfortable save out of Viktor Johansson with a shot from distance following a Rovers corner. While in the ascendancy, Close had a shot saved from an acute angle after a low ball was played into the box by Knoyle.
Chances for both sides dried up in the final ten minutes and Rotherham were able to hold onto their lead to take three points from the local derby.
Rovers will now head into the international break and will return to face Rotherham at the Keepmoat Stadium for our first game of the Papa John’s Trophy competition on September 7.