RUFC - Ronnie's First Year Back with the Millers
Ronnie Moore has been in charge of the Millers for a year - a year that has seen the Millers get to Wembley and has seen a few new faces in the side and a few old ones depart.
When Ronnie took over, the Millers were third in League Two with twenty points and a plus nine goal difference - today they are third in League Two with seventeen points and a plus seven goal difference, although having played one game less - an improvement or not?
Steve Thornber was still in charge for the first game that Ronnie came back to, against Barnet and he bowed out with a three-nil win with goals from Ellison, Law and Le Fondre in front of 3,823 fans. Ronnie`s first actual game was at Northampton where the Cobblers won three-one, although the next game, against Crewe at the Alexandra Stadium on a Tuesday night ended with the Millers getting all three points with Ellison, Le Fondre and Broughton getting goals for a three-two win. Moore then brought in Jimmy Mullen as his second in command followed by Andy Dibble as goalkeeping coach.
Three draws and a loss saw the Millers go into the first round of the FA Cup against non-league Wealdstone who proved stubborn to say the least and easily matched the league side until Le Fondre scored just after the half-hour mark. Ellison doubled the lead just before half-time but Ryan Ashe halved it on sixty-three minutes before Broughton made it three-one. Ashe scored again in the dying minutes of the game to make it a tense finish.
That was the start of a good run for Ronnie and his Millers who won their next three league games to take the Millers into third place which helped Moore win Manager of the Month for November.
The FA Cup gave the players a break from the league with Luton visiting Don Valley and getting a replay back at Kenilworth Road in December where the Hatter dumped the Millers out of the cup three-nil. The Millers bounced back against Bradford on the following Saturday when Kevin Ellison replied twice to a Lee Bullock goal in the nineteenth minute to send the Millers in two-one up at half-time. In the first minute of the second half Michael Flynn levelled the scores but on seventy-eight minutes, Gary Roberts suddenly turned into David Beckham and took a free kick from some fifty yards out which flew into the back of the net! Drewe Broughton made it safe when he scored number four two minutes from time.
The weather put paid to anymore games until midway through January when the Millers entertained Darlington on a cold Tuesday night which ended in a two-one loss. Wins against Grimsby and Chesterfield saw out the short month of January.
February started a long run of games with mixed results for the Millers. Losing to Bournemouth at Don Valley had Ronnie saying that it was 'totally unacceptable` while losing to bottom of the league Darlington for the second time in a month, had Moore saying he was 'embarrassed`. Of the five other games of the month, the Millers won three and drew two. While extending the loans of both Gavin Gunning and Marcus Marshall from Blackburn Rovers and getting in striker, Craig McAllister on a months loan, Ronnie did say that his squad, of twenty-four, was too big.
March began with two losses followed by a one-nil win at Dagenham and another loss at Accrington. Two good wins at Bury and Macclesfield followed but the next four games, which took us into April, were all losses but, with results going our way, the Millers were still in fifth place in the League. Two wins and a draw followed which saw us move into fourth place and there were those amongst us who thought a top three was seriously on the cards although a nil-nil draw at Don Valley against Crewe put paid to that which was followed by a dreadful performance at Hereford, which ended in a three-nil defeat and a fifth place finish which meant we played Aldershot in the Play-Offs.
The Millers won both play-off games which ended in a trip to Wembley and we all know what happened there.
In pre-season players went and players came - namely, Marcus Marshall signed after a good loan spell last season, Tom Newey, Ryan Cresswell, Luke Ashworth, Johnny Mullins, Tom Elliott, on a long loan from Leeds, Mark Bradley, Exodus Geohaghon, on loan from Peterborough and Dean Holden, on loan from Shrewsbury. Out went Drewe Broughton, Pablo Mills, Andy Nicholas, Micky Cummins, David Haggerty, Mark Lynch, Marc Joseph and Andy Liddell, although Lids has come back as Reserve coach and then Ian Sharps decided not to sign a new contract that was offered.
This season has started OK with the Millers, who are one of the favourites to go up, in third place with five league wins, and a Johnstone`s Paint Trophy win, under their belts.
What are your thoughts?
Has Ronnie done a good job?
Will we go up?
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