Rotherham United came from behind twice to win the Papa Johns Trophy Final 2022, beating Sutton United 4-2 after extra-time.
The U’s opened the scoring in the first half before the Millers found a leveller. The EFL debutants re-took the lead in the second period only for a 96th-minute strike to break Sutton hearts, as Rotherham went on to seal the silverware in the additional 30 minutes.
In a game that began with comedians Paul Chuckle and Tim Vine delivering the match ball on mopeds wearing the jerseys of their respective teams, the Millers and the U’s, it was a Final full of twists and turns, but it was the South Yorkshire side who emerged victorious.
The first opening of the game fell to Will Randall, who found the side-netting after some good work from David Ajiboye to slide in the midfielder. However, Randall, who netted against Wigan Athletic in the Semi-Final, couldn’t direct his effort on target with 13 minutes played.
It was Sutton who opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. Donovan Wilson grabbed his third goal in seven appearances in the Papa Johns Trophy, slotting home after the ball fell to the Yellows’ leading marksman in the competition on the edge of the box, to make it 1-0 to the South Londoners.
Moments before the half-time whistle sounded, Ben Wiles equalised for the Millers with a stunning strike. The Rawmarsh-born number eight, who made his debut in the same competition in 2017, saw his effort loop over Sutton stopper Dean Bouzanis to ripple the net.
A chance presented itself to Michael Smith before the break, but he could only sweep his effort from Chiedozie Ogbene’s cross straight at Bouznis between the sticks and it was all square at the break.
The second period started with intensity as Wiles looked to double his and Rotherham’s tally, linking up with team-mate Joshua Kayode, only for the former to find Bouzanis behind his close-range shot.
As was the tempo of the showpiece, Sutton mustered a charge, catching the Millers on the break to restore their lead and make it 2-1. U’s captain Craig Eastmond had his initial effort blocked by Michael Ihiekwe before toe-poking the follow-up beyond a helpless Viktor Johansson.
Freddie Ladapo registered an effort on talking. The striker’s glancing header from Wes Harding’s floated delivery looked destined for the top corner but Bouzanis showed safe hands to make it his own.
With 10 minutes remaining on the watch, Wiles picked out Ladapo one-on-one with Bouzanis but the Sutton keeper saved with his legs to deny the forward, before frontman Smith had his injury-time effort blocked.
Deep into added time, substitute Jordi Osei-Tutu took the tie to extra-time, with the Millers loanee, who was introduced in the 80th minute, finding the back of the net in the 96th minute to make it 2-2 and add an additional 30 minutes on to the Final.
U’s midfielder Harry Beautyman spurned a chance for Sutton in the first period of extra time, firing narrowly over the crossbar, but it was Rotherham who went ahead for the first time in the Final through Ogbene. The Republic of Ireland international took aim from distance and fired past Bouzanis to make it 3-2 and turn the score-line on its head.
In dramatic fashion, Ihiekwe saw his effort cleared off the line from a Shane Ferguson corner kick, before Bouzanis pulled off a save to deny Ladapo from point-blank range, but Ihiekwe completed the victory for Paul Warne’s side, nodding in the Millers’ fourth of the afternoon as it finished 4-2 to the South Yorkshire side.
Rotherham United XI: Johansson, Mattock (Osei-Tutu), Barlaser (Lindsay), Wood, Wiles, Ogbene, Miller (Ferguson), Rathbone (Harding), Kayode (Ladapo), Ihiekwe, Smith.
Sutton United XI: Bouzanis, Goodliffe (Rowe), John, Ajiboye, Bugiel (Davis), Beautyman, Randall, Eastmond (Bennett), Kizzi, Milsom (Wyat), Wilson (Olaofe).
Rotherham 4-2 Sutton United
Wilson 30’, Eastmond 48’
Wiles 42’, Osei-Tutu 90+’, Ogbene 96', Ihiekwe 112’