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2014 Millers Matches Advent Calendar - Window 24

It’s Millers Time has been paying tribute to a fantastic 2014 for Rotherham with a footballing advent calendar.

In each day of December we have been looking back at a game from this year, with the nearer to Christmas we have got, the better the match.

So here we are at window 24, the final instalment of our journey, and there could be no other option for this one.

This match is not only the greatest game of 2014, but also the greatest game in a lot of Rotherham fans' lives.

And to remember this one and make it extra special, here's the match report taken from popular book Reliving The Dream. Goosebumps at the ready.

Leyton Orient 2 Rotherham 2 (Rotherham win 4-3 on penalties) - 25/5/14

There are some things in life that you can’t put a price tag on. 

Watching your football club win promotion at Wembley after coming back from the brink is perhaps one of them. 

It had to happen that way for this Rotherham team – it was written in the stars. After a season full of entertainment and marvel, underpinned by sheer resilience and downright disdain at the idea of ever giving up, they had one more amazing afternoon left in them on the grandest and most important stage of all. 

There was no other way this campaign could have ended and there was no other manner in which promotion could have been secured. 

Steve Evans’ side had called on an endless supply of resolve to constantly come from behind and rescue points from seemingly hopeless situations so often that it only seemed right they would have to do it one more time to clinch the golden prize.

And let’s be honest, there hadn’t been a more hopeless position than the one they found themselves in at half-time. 

They were 2-0 down after a flat first-half showing and another miserable journey back up the M1 was looming, with memories flooding back to the Millers’ previous play-off final against Dagenham & Redbridge in 2010. 

But Wembley is a place for heroes and Rotherham found one of theirs after the break as two Alex Revell goals in the space of five minutes dramatically brought them back into the match. 

The second was one of the best-ever goals scored at the rebuilt national stadium. 

As if that comeback wasn’t enough, they also found themselves behind in the ensuing penalty shootout. 

But promotion-winning teams are packed with stars and goalkeeper Adam Collin was the willing saviour this time with two wonderful penalty saves, the decisive one off Chris Dagnall leading to some of the most memorable scenes in the club’s history. 

And they were the only type of scenes that would have done them justice as the most remarkable season deservedly ended in promotion. The Millers were going to the Championship!
The thought of celebrations like that being possible seemed millions of miles away at half-time as Evans’ men had the rug pulled from under their feet with two goals in four first-half minutes. 

Prior to that it was a decent start from Rotherham, who began the game on the front foot and could have had a penalty in just the third minute when Revell was barged over. 

This was one time Evans would not bemoan the lack of a decision at full-time, though! 

But Orient hit the Millers with a two-punch combination that threatened to bring their world crashing down. 

In the 35th minute the Londoners took the lead when Moses Odubajo slammed a volley into the roof of the net after Kari Arnason’s clearance fell to him 20 yards out. 

Then four minutes later it was double trouble as they failed to clear the ball properly and Odubajo turned provider for Dean Cox to score the easiest of tap-ins.
Regardless of how many times Rotherham had staged miraculous recoveries and how many late goals they had scored, if they were to come back from this one it would be akin to climbing Everest. 

They had to score the next goal and they had to do it quickly. They were helped by Orient, perhaps tightening up at the prospect of what was on the horizon for them, giving away needless free-kicks in dangerous positions. 

James Tavernier and Ben Pringle fired efforts over but from the third the Millers crucially reduced their deficit. 

Tavernier’s floated delivery drew out Orient keeper Jamie Jones but he got nowhere near it and the loose ball was stabbed home by Revell.

What happened next will live in the memory forever. 

Rotherham had all the momentum and only needed five minutes to get level. 

It was another Alan Lee moment, one where fans will not be able to access it in the memory bank without a side-serving of spine-tingling goosebumps. 

Revell had no right to even consider shooting from that distance, but he saw an opportunity and executed his 40-yard volley to perfection. 

It looped over Jones and into the net and the striker had brought his side level in the most spectacular of circumstances. Ambitious but brilliant.
Evans’ men looked to seize the moment and go in for the kill, but to their credit Orient dusted themselves down and got back into it, though Kieran Agard did have two chances to win it in normal time but was off target on both occasions. 

After five minutes of bum-twitching injury time, where Rotherham had to defend three Orient corners, the following period of extra-time was a nervy affair as no one on either side was prepared to make a mistake and risk being the villain that cost them their promotion dream. 

That meant penalties would decide it and there would definitely be heroes and villains. 

Both teams enjoyed stunning seasons, far beyond what either set of supporters would have envisaged in August, and it was cruel that one side would have to endure what was coming their way in about 10 minutes. 

It looked like the Millers would be suffering the heartbreak as player of the season Lee Frecklington’s kick was saved by Jones to put Orient on the brink. 

But Rotherham NEVER give up and Collin was able to come to the rescue. 

First he saved from Mathieu Baudry and then, after Richie Smallwood had converted, the keeper pulled off a stretching save to deny Dagnall.
That was it. They’d done it. The sense of euphoria was immeasurable. Twenty or so players sprinted towards Collin, unable to contain their joy, while 20,000 fans exploded at what they had just seen. 

Some moments in life pass us by, but no one at Wembley will ever forget how they felt at that moment. 

The Millers were going up and there is no better feeling! 

And this was a double whammy, they had a penalty shootout victory to celebrate and it earned promotion.
The players, who were flat out in the closing stages of extra-time, found their energy and climbed the 107 steps to the Royal Box with enthusiasm and boundless joy to collect their trophy. 

They returned to the pitch to celebrate with the fans, dancing, singing and spraying champagne. This is the end that their superb season deserved.
It was one of the great days, if not the greatest.

Rotherham: Collin, Tavernier, Morgan, Arnason, Skarz (Milsom 77), Agard, Frecklington, Smallwood, Pringle, Thomas (Brindley 54), Revell (Vuckic 105)

Attendance: 43,401

One to remember: Revell's spectacular volley landing in was a moment no one will ever forget.

One to forget: Absolutely nothing. 

To read more on the 2014 Millers Matches Advent Calendar and find out which game was behind each window, then click here!

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