ROTHERHAM UNITED ran out 6-1 winners at the AESSEAL New York Stadium despite Bolton Wanderers taking the lead early on in the contest.
Thibaud Verlinden put the visitors in front with a debut goal only for strikes by Freddie Ladapo (2), Carlton Morris (2), Ben Wiles and Jack Hastie to send the Millers home with the points.
Manager Keith Hill handed out six debuts, which equalled a post-war club record, as a new-look Bolton Wanderers took to the field in South Yorkshire.
Deadline day signings Josh Emmanuel, Jake Wright, Ali Crawford, Thibaud Verlinden and Liam Bridcutt, who donned the captain’s armband, joined left-back Adam Chicksen who finalised his move to the University of Bolton Stadium on Friday.
Backed by a travelling army of 2,600 supporters, Hill and the Wanderers players received a rapturous applause as they ran on to the pitch for the pre-match warm-up.
Wanderers, beaming in their all yellow kit, started off brightly and Daniel Iversen was almost caught off guard when he nearly lost possession with Ali Crawford lurking in the box.
The high-octane start didn’t end there and Wanderers were looking to get the ball into the danger areas at every opportunity.
And with four minutes barely on the clock, Wanderers got their first league goal of the campaign in spectacular fashion. From a short corner, Verlinden played a one-two with Crawford, before taking a touch to create an angle for himself and then unleashed a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
The celebrations in the away end could be heard all over South Yorkshire as the Wanderers fans lifted the roof off. The players were as equally jubilant in their delight as they ran over to the bench to hug manager Hill, who had early doffed his flat cap to the away end.
The goal sparked the hosts into life and but for some good defending from captain Bridcutt, the Millers could have had an equaliser when Freddie Ladapo was placed to tap in.
Wanderers were showing some resilience as the hosts were determined to get back into the contest, each time they found a yellow shirt in the way to stymie the threat.
The equaliser came after 18 minutes when Ben Wiles was allowed to cut in from the right hand side after a great run and place a shot beyond a diving Remi Matthews.
Politic made some brilliant stepovers as he advanced towards goal and he lost the attentions of his markers, but his shot from distance went narrowly wide.
Ladapo put the home side in front just before the half-hour mark after latching onto a one-two before rifling the ball into the roof of the net.
A free-kick, awarded when Verlinden was fouled, was cleared for a corner. Another corner for Wanderers soon followed which was taken short. Verlinden floated a lovely ball into the box but Hobbs’ diving header didn’t have the requisite power to trouble Iversen.
The visitors were denied an equaliser by the feet of Iversen after Rotherham lost possession. The ball went straight to the dangerous Verlinden whose shot looked destined to nestle into the net. Bizarrely, the referee didn’t see the save and awarded the home side a goal-kick.
James Weir was replaced by Jason Lowe just before the interval.
Shortly afterwards Rotherham extended their lead through Carlton Morris who headed past Matthews after connecting with a right sided cross.
Ladapo got his second and Rotherham’s fourth when he nodded a right-sided cross past Matthews nine minutes after the restart.
Rotherham’s fifth came shortly afterwards when Morris’s effort took a wicked deflection to wrong foot Matthews.
The scoreline didn’t stifle the noise coming out of the away end whose backing was phenomenal throughout the game.
Ladapo was looking for his hat-trick and his shot from the edge of the box was comfortably gathered by Matthews.
Morris tried his luck from distance to add to his tally but the effort went high over the bar.
A sixth came through Jake Hastie who took advantage of Wanderers failure to clear their lines to power into an empty net.
The woodwork denied Ladapo a hat-trick as the game drew to an end when his shot on the turn glanced off the corner of the crossbar to go for a goal kick.
Wanderers now have a double header at the University of Bolton Stadium on the horizon to bounce back with Oxford United and Sunderland travelling to Bolton in the next seven days.
Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Emmanuel, Hobbs, Wright, Murphy (Darcy 62), Crawford, Weir (Lowe 39), Verlinden, Chicksen, Politic, Bridcutt (C)
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Zouma, Boon, Brown, Senior