FA Cup: Ashton leaves Rotherham unbeaten run in tatters

Dean Ashton left Rotherham’s 10-match unbeaten home run in tatters as his clinical brace fired Crewe into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Rotherham 2, Crewe 4 (full-time)

Dean Ashton left Rotherham’s 10-match unbeaten home run in tatters as his clinical brace fired Crewe into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

With his side trailing 2-1 at half-time, Ashton scored twice in five minutes to stun the Millers in this cracking cup tie in front of 8,477 fans at Millmoor.

First, he unleashed a 25-yard thunderbolt into the top right-hand corner of Rotherham keeper Mike Pollitt’s net to make it 2-2.

Then the Crewe forward, who is the subject of interest from Premiership clubs, volleyed home to put Dario Gradi’s Railwaymen 3-2 ahead.

The outstanding David Vaughan ensured Crewe go in to the hat for the fifth round for the first time since 1991 when his shot was deflected into his own net by Rotherham defender Chris Swailes.

It was a far cry from the dream start made by Rotherham, conquerors of Southampton in the previous round, when John Mullin cracked home from a short corner after just three minutes.

Crewe immediately bounced back and from Rodney Jack’s cross the highly-rated Ashton sliced his shot horribly wide.

The visitors were now in control and Vaughan’s swirling 20-yard effort needed safe handling by Pollitt.

From another well-worked opening Crewe’s former England midfielder Geoff Thomas prodded weakly towards goal but did not trouble the Millers keeper.

The Railwaymen kept pressing for the equaliser, however, and from Jack’s shot Pollitt saved well.

But the Millers keeper had no chance after 32 minutes when Thomas, a Cup finalist with Crystal Palace in 1990, swivelled superbly in the box and lashed home the equaliser.

Vaughan nearly put visitors ahead moments later but shot straight at Pollitt.

In fact, it was the Millers who went back in front when Paul Warne stabbed home after 37 minutes after Ademola Bankole failed to hold a low Chris Sedgwick shot.

After 15 minutes of scrappy play in the second half, Crewe winger Kenny Lunt teed up Ashton and he cracked a shot against the post with Pollitt beaten.

But a minute later Ashton was gifted position and from virtually the same place this time he found the corner of the net for the equaliser.

Five minutes later the young forward volleyed the visitors ahead after good work down the left from Vaughan and Thomas.

The Millers attempted to find an equaliser but were stunned by Vaughan’s late goal which killed off the tie completely.

Jack could have made it five with five minutes remaining but for a great tackle from home defender Paul Hurst.

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