Life after Paul Warne at Rotherham began with a 2-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat by Wigan at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Warne’s long association with the Millers, as a player, coach and then across six years in the dugout as manager, ended last week with his move to Derby, alongside the bulk of his backroom staff.
Joint caretaker boss and captain Richard Wood named himself in the starting XI, with Lee Peltier calling the shots from the dugout. Billy Mercer has also joined the Millers on a temporary coaching basis while chairman Tony Stewart hunts for a replacement for Warne.
Goals in either half ensured the points went to Leam Richardson’s men, who remain unbeaten on their league travels this season.
The new duo got off to the worst possible start when Wigan went ahead in the 12th minute after Charlie Wyke slipped in down the right-hand side and squared for Will Keane to blast into the roof of the net.
Wes Harding almost caught out Ben Amos with a long-range effort as Rotherham searched for a quick response.
It took great awareness and athleticism from James McClean to keep the visitors ahead as he managed to backpedal and head away Chiedozie Ogbene’s goal-bound effort.
Rotherham threatened again from the resulting set-piece and Dan Barlaser’s cross found its way to Ben Wiles, whose effort at the back post was deflected just wide.
Wood then found space in the box but headed Cohen Bramall’s corner wide.
Harding bravely got in the way of Tom Naylor’s powerful drive to deny the visitors a second before the break.
Wigan created the first opening of the second half but Max Power’s shot was blocked on its route to goal after Wyke had again caused problems down the flank.
A scrappy second half ensued with Rotherham unable to create any real chances and Wigan seemingly content to sit on their goal advantage.
Tom Eaves was brought on to give the Millers’ attack a more physical edge but it was actually Wigan posing more of a threat, particularly on the counter.
McClean almost put the game to bed with eight minutes to go after he latched onto a loose ball past Grant Hall before having his shot tipped over the bar.
The points were secured from the resulting corner, in the 84th minute, with Naylor on hand to nod in from close range after Jack Whatmough had headed the ball back into the danger zone.
The second goal snubbed out any belief left in the Millers’ players and allowed Wigan to coast through five minutes of added on time.
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