Beech lands a stunning winner

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The Independent Football

Chris Beech scored his second-ever goal and his first for the Millers as Rotherham finally broke their Millmoor duck to move out of the First Division relegation zone. Beech stole the show with a stunning 85th-minute strike just four minutes after coming on to end Rotherham's run of three draws and two defeats at home this season.

It looked as if Rotherham had thrown away another lead when Peter Crouch headed home a 58th-minute equaliser, seemingly repaying a further slice of his £1.2m fee following his summer move from QPR.

In truth, the home side should have sewn up the game in the opening 30 minutes, but only had Andy Monkhouse's first goal of the season to show for their domination. The winger fired Ronnie Moore's side into a fourth-minute lead as the Millers looked to build on their first victory of the campaign at Grimsby a week ago.

Stewart Talbot and Nick Daws created the initial opening for Alan Lee with a 15-yard shot that the goalkeeper Dave Beasant could only palm into the path of Monkhouse. The 20-year-old steadied himself before curling a left-footed shot beyond the diving Beasant. The 42-year-old was between the posts after seven weeks out with a broken hand with on-loan Sasa Ilic having returned to Charlton.

It was a thumping Robert Prosinecki 30-yard free-kick, superbly turned aside by Mike Pollitt just after half an hour, which proved the turning point. With Portsmouth now in the ascendancy, they finally made their possession count. Crouch stole in front of Chris Swailes to meet a Lee Bradbury cross and power a header beyond the rooted Pollitt for his eighth of the season.

However, John Mullin, on as a 67th minute substitute, put in an 85th-minute corner for Beech. He controlled the ball and hit a stunning 25-yard shot in off the post to spark jubilant scenes among Millers fans.

Rotherham: Pollitt; Hurst, Scott, McIntosh, Swailes, Talbot, Sedgwick, Robins, Lee (Barker, 77), Daws (Mullin, 67), Monkhouse (Beech, 81). Substitutes Not Used: Gray, Watson.

Portsmouth: Beasant; Primus, Hiley, Edinburgh, Prosinecki, Barrett, Quashie (Vine, 89), Pitt, Harper, Crouch, Bradbury. Subs Not Used: Tardif, Vincent, Crowe, O'Neil.

Referee: F Stretton (Nottingham).

* The Newcastle manager Bobby Robson has insisted that Robert Lee remains a key part of his immediate plans despite the midfielder's decision to hand in a transfer request.

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