Samuel hits the bar but Millers take the points with late winner
Gerken - one of nine changes to the team that beat Newcastle so impressively on Easter Monday - denied Danny Ward brilliantly from 12 yards early on before Samuel rattled the woodwork in the nearest either side came to ending the deadlock before the break.
Brett Pitman went close to putting Blues ahead in the second-half but Tom Adeyemi provided the pivotal moment, firing home 11 minutes from time.
Town fielded five Academy graduates in the starting line-up, with Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop returning to the side, while Samuel and Danny Rowe made their first starts for the Club.
Josh Emmanuel showed good awareness and strength to see off the danger from Carlton Morris in the first five minutes but Rotherham were presented with a gild edged chance to open the scoring soon after when Jon Taylor went down in the box under a challenge from Emmanuel.
Ward sent his penalty towards the bottom corner but Gerken was equal to the task, getting a left hand on the ball to keep his goal intact.
The Town ‘keeper denied Taylor after Morris had released him inside the left channel, while at the other end Samuel won a free-kick on the edge of the box, Pitman’s delivery cleared by Semi Ajayi.
Ward found the sidenetting after Ajayi’s ball over the top, Tommy Smith then did superbly to block shots from Will Vaulks and Adeyemi as Rotherham continued to threaten.
Dozzell’s switch ball and then Bishop’s incisive pass saw Myles Kenlock win a corner down the left, Ajayi clearing the danger as Pitman challenged, Gerken then off his line to prevent Ward getting in.
Richard Wood failed to force Taylor’s corner across the line from six yards out, Wood then in the right place in his more familiar defensive role to clear from Rowe’s cross.
Town began to make a mark on the game and seven minutes before the break, Rowe had the Blue Army on their feet, cutting inside and then firing low from the edge of the box. Richard O’Donnell made the save but Samuel was quickly onto to the rebound, his shot cannoning back off the bar.
Pitman put too much on a chip to the back post as he found space inside the box, Rowe doing the same seconds later from the other flank before Millers suffered a blow on half-time with Ward pulling up with what looked like a hamstring injury right on the whistle.
Not surprisingly, Ward was replaced by Alex Bray in the game’s first change for the second-half, Samuel sending a right footer wide as Blues looked to make an early breakthrough.
Rotherham were forced into a second change on 52 minutes, Anthony Forde on for the injured Ajayi. Toumani Diagouraga then yellow carded for a foul.
O’Donnell did well to keep out Pitman’s volley after the frontman had got on the end of a ball over the top, the Rotherham ‘keeper then denying Diagouraga as he tried to force home Rowe’s free-kick.
Kieffer Moore replaced Bishop in Town’s first change just past the hour, Pitman’s excellent cross in front of goal evading everyone then Rowe seeing a left footer deflected wide.
Rowe was wide with a curler from the edge of the box, Moore then sending a brilliant ball in that was well defended as Samuel looked to break the deadlock.
Smith cleared over his own bar from Taylor’s cross before Town made a second change with Kevin Bru replacing Diagouraga for the closing stages.
Town had an anxious look when substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris saw his header deflect off Kenlock and go narrowly wide but on 79 minutes, there was no escape. Darnell Fisher sent a hopeful ball into the box, Blues failed to clear and Adeyemi lashed the rebound into the net.
Moore saw a header cleared off the line as Town looked for an immediate response, then O’Donnell denied Samuel from close range.
Taylor could have wrapped it up for Rotherham six minutes from time but fired high over the bar from 10 yards but Adeyemi’s goal was enough to give relegation-bound Millers the points.
Rotherham: O'Donnell, Fisher, Ajayi (Forde 52), Mattock, Adeyemi, Smallwood, Vaulks, Taylor, Morris (Clarke-Harris 70), Ward (Bray 46). Subs not used: Price, Newell, Belaid, Purrington. Booked: Bray, Mattock.
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