ROTHERHAM UNITED 4 CHELTENHAM TOWN 2
CHELTENHAM Town turned in a rotten performance on their first visit to a ground named after the Big Apple.
Mark Yates' side failed to show many of the qualities that have made them so effective on the road this season and Rotherham United took full advantage at the New York Stadium.
Keith Lowe gave the Robins a perfect start with a goal inside 60 seconds, but a ragged first-half performance saw the game rapidly slip away.
A defence which had not been breached for 420 minutes before Saturday's trip conceded three times in 25 minutes.
Rotherham showed enough attacking prowess to suggest they are capable of pushing for promotion, but it was often made too easy for them by some uncharacteristically hesitant and disorganised defensive play.
It all looked so promising when Lowe, back in the side for the injured Sido Jombati, half volleyed a quickly taken corner from the left by Billy Jones past Andy Warrington to register his fourth goal in six starts.
But rather than a team who had been thrashed 5-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge a week earlier wilting in front of an expectant home crowd, Rotherham responded positively and were on level terms within three minutes.
Winger Courtney Cameron, making his debut after arriving from Aston Villa, powered past Lowe and delivered an inviting cross from the left.
Scott Brown tried to swat it away under pressure from Alex Revell, but it was beyond his reach and Daniel Nardiello headed into the net from close range.
It was frenetic with Cheltenham never allowed to settle on the ball and both of Rotherham's wide men, Cameron and Ben Pringle, were lively and seeing plenty of the ball.
The Millers seemed to have the edge in the centre of the pitch and up front the tall figure of Revell caused the normally dominant Alan Bennett and Steve Elliott serious problems.
Pringle put the Millers ahead in the 20th minute after a headed clearance from Bennett fell to him near the edge of the penalty area.
He shimmied and passed Russ Penn before directing a firm drive past Brown.
Some of Cheltenham's defending was in stark contrast to the watertight display in the 0-0 draw at leaders Gillingham 11 days earlier.
The third goal was particularly disappointing, with a long punt from centre-half Craig Morgan misjudged by Steve Elliott, presenting Nardiello with the chance to make it 3-1.
He calmly held off the attentions of Bennett before stroking calmly past Brown in the 29th minute and the impressive arena was rocking.
That did not stop Rotherham boss Steve Evans reacting to every decision given against his team as if the world was about to end.
His team deserved their lead, but Chris Zebroski handed Cheltenham a lifeline in the 31st minute.
A beautifully judged pass from Marlon Pack released Jermaine McGlashan, who had beaten the home defence's offside trap.
McGlashan controlled and sent a ball across the face of goal allowing Zebroski a simple finish to net his fifth goal of the season.
Neither manager would have been happy with their team's defending, but Cheltenham remained in the match at the break, despite struggling for cohesion throughout the opening period.
They tightened up in the second half, but Warrington was rarely called into action.
Substitute Jeff Goulding nodded a long throw from Lowe over the bar and an excellent cross from Sam Deering fell to Shaun Harrad in the box, but home skipper Ian Sharps made a last-ditch block to deny the striker a goal against his former loan club.
Cheltenham were not completely out of the game until three minutes of stoppage time had been played, when they conceded another wholly avoidable goal.
Deering tried to take a free-kick near to the corner flag quickly and with most of his team mates anticipating a long punt upfield, Rotherham stole possession.
Cheltenham were out of position and Frecklington was able to score a simple fourth for Rotherham.
It was the second time in a row Cheltenham had taken an early lead against a team managed by Evans before crumbling 4-2 and Yates will expect far more mettle at Chesterfield tomorrow night.
Rotherham United: A Warrington; M Bradley, I Sharps, C Morgan (M O'Connor 44), J Morris; B Pringle, J Taylor, L Frecklington, C Cameron (N Walker 90); A Revell, D Nardiello (K Odejayi 83). Subs not used: T Thompson, G Evans, M Rose, L Rooney.
Cheltenham Town: S Brown; K Lowe, A Bennett, S Elliott, B Jones; J McGlashan (S Deering 80), M Pack, R Penn (J Goulding 59), D Carter, K Mohamed (S Harrad 59); C Zebroski. Subs: C Roberts, D Duffy, D Andrew, J Hanks.
Referee: D Sheldrake.
Attendance: 6,705 (311 away).
Star Man: Keith Lowe.