The game presented both Rotherham and Brighton with an opportunity to pull away from the trouble they currently find themselves in at the wrong end of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Matt Derbyshire’s early finish proved to be the difference between the two teams at the AES Seal New York Stadium and moved Rotherham to just two points behind the visitors.
Rotheram’s Ben Pringle and Brighton’s Kazenga LuaLua tested the keepers at either end in the opening stages, but it was Derbyshire who made the breakthrough after eight minutes when he cleverly turned in Jordan Bowery’s cross with the outside of his boot.
Rotherham, who were hoping to avoid a fifth straight defeat, continued to produce the better football and chances throughout what was a stop-start first half.
Bowery blew a good opportunity for the home side when Kirk Broadfoot guided a Pringle free-kick back across goal and into the striker’s path, but he headed well over under little pressure.
Paul Green also missed a big chance when Derbyshire slipped him the ball from a well-worked move. The midfielder delayed his shot and eventually dragged it wide of David Stockdale’s goal.
Brighton had to improve in the second half and brought on Leon Best for the largely ineffective Chris O’Grady.
They started the second half far better and Beram Kayal, just moments after being booked for blocking a kick from goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, should have put the visitors on level terms.
The Israeli international was put clean through on goal but a heavy touch gave Martinez the advantage and he managed to deny Kayal a path to goal with a diving save.
The lively Best then flashed a dangerous cross into the box which Bowery poked just over his own bar for a Brighton corner.
At the right end, Bowery dragged an effort just wide of the mark before a good interception from Farrend Rawson stopped Best from getting in on goal.
A good run from Rotherham full-back Jack Hunt resulted in a shot on goal as the Millers tried to make the points safe.
Down the other flank Danny Lafferty laid on a big chance for Derbyshire to score his second but his shot on the angle was palmed away by Stockdale.
LuaLua then miscued a volley wide for the visitors but was then replaced by Craig Mackail-Smith, who was just inches away from making an immediate impact when he narrowly failed to get a touch on to Kayal’s dangerous looking centre.