Rotherham made up ground on fellow Championship strugglers Derby as they claimed a vital 3-0 win.
Derby had picked up three wins in a row since losing the reverse fixture at Pride Park which had put a gap of five points between the two struggling outfits.
That cushion looked like being maintained before three goals in the last 14 minutes swung it emphatically the Millers’ way, leaving them just two points from safety.
This was the third attempt to play this game after the previous two had been called off following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Rotherham camp in December and then due to Tuesday night’s heavy downpour which caused waterlogging.
The 24-hour delay allowed both teams to include deadline day signings in their squads, with Derby having a quartet of new boys on the bench and Rotherham’s substitutes including Lewis Wing.
The pitch had recovered overnight and the ball seemed to be zipping around as Derby created the first opportunity with Jason Knight’s shot being clung on to by Viktor Johansson.
Martyn Waghorn came much closer as he acrobatically flicked Colin Kazim-Richards’s header over the bar.
Michael Smith was the first to bring David Marshall into action as he took aim from 25 yards out and forced the Derby skipper into a diving save.
Jamie Lindsay should have done better when he raced through on goal but he opted to take the volley early and it flew just wide.
Max Bird was denied early in the second half after wriggling clear of a challenge on the edge of the box and curling an effort which Johansson had to parry.
Matt Olosunde then latched onto an opening at the other end but the right-back’s effort from just inside the box was tame.
Derby boss Wayne Rooney brought on debutants Patrick Roberts and Lee Gregory in search of a winner and the latter spurned a great chance within minutes of entering the fray.
The Stoke loanee got ahead of his man from Nathan Byrne’s cross but his header was skewed wide of goal.
That proved to be a big moment as just minutes later Rotherham were celebrating at the other end. They took a 76th minute lead with Michael Ihiekwe on hand at the back post to prod past Marshall after Wes Harding’s long-range free-kick was flicked perfectly into his path by Smith.
The points were made safe in the 81st minute with Smith finishing clinically at the near post after Matt Crooks had burst down the left flank.
Ryan Giles rounded off a great night for the Millers on 88 minutes as he went on a mazy run through the Derby defence and fired powerfully into the bottom corner.
What the managers said…
Rotherham’s Paul Warne: “We didn’t start as well as I would have liked. I thought we showed them a bit too much respect. In the end I thought we could have scored more. It was an edgy game but to come away with a clean sheet and three goals, we’re really pleased.
“The players have been magnificent, even in defeats, fortunately tonight the ball bounced for us kindly in the six-yard box and we took our chances. We have had three wins out of five. With this amount of games left, we have our destiny in our own hands.”
Derby’s Wayne Rooney: “I think the first goal was always going to be important. I feel if we score that then we go and win the game. Lee [Gregory] had a great opportunity and should score.
“The one thing that Rotherham didn’t show was class or respect from above. I think the chairman was a bit disrespectful. We are quick enough to have a go at fans for using [bad] language or being offensive on the side but you don’t expect it from the chairman. I wouldn’t expect it from our owners or our board.
“It’s a bit disappointing but I suppose he works in different ways to us.”