In the classic Hollywood good versus evil trope; the good guys wear white, the bad guys wear black. Rotherham dressed for their role. Big, brutish, and ultimately heart-breaking; they duly nailed it.
Captain Richard Wood set himself up as the archetypal scheming pantomime villain when, at an early Rotherham corner, he elected to sling a knee at Joe Wright’s midriff off the ball. It was a coward’s challenge, and satisfyingly the coward went on to have the afternoon of a clown. First Wood missed the visitors’ best chance; somehow conspiring to head against the bar from two yards, with the goal hilariously open.
Then, in the second half Wood had more luck finding the goal – his own goal. Stretching to volley in Rodney Kongolo’s whipped right wing cross and put Rovers ahead in a game where they’d enjoyed possession, but rarely looked like scoring.
Once ahead Rovers could and should’ve added to their lead; Tommy Rowe glancing a header just wide; John Marquis passing when he should’ve taken the net off the posts. And as Rovers kept stumbling Rotherham kept knocking at the door; Jonson Clarke-Harris knocking hardest as he struck the post.
Eventually the pressure told, and deep in injury-time the Millers piled forward with one last attack; Ian Lawlor saved brilliantly from David Ball, Craig Alcock blocked from Keifer Moore, but the striker reacted quickest and somehow squeezed his follow-up effort between the mass of defensive bodies. 1-1. On balance probably a fair result; in reality, absolutely gut-wrenching.
by Glen Wilson