RUFC - A Look Back at Last Season - January
As we sit here basking in the sunshine (well, we were until this morning - alright, who nicked the sun???!!) - let's remember the cold, dreary, wet days of January ...
After having just one game in December the Millers were raring to go on New Years Day when Port Vale came to Don Valley. Johnny Mullins thought he was the first Miller to score in 2011 but, for some mysterious reason, referee Salisbury disallowed his volley. This seemed to spur the Millers on and on ten minutes Nicky Law did score with Ryan Taylor doubling the lead eight minutes later. On thirty-two minutes Vale went down to ten men when Justin Tomlinson was penalised for a poor challenge on Marcus Marshall. The Millers lost Danny Coid at half-time but two minutes into the half they went three up when Will Atkinson got his first goal for Rotherham. On sixty-eight minutes Ryan Taylor got his second of the game and five minutes from time Mark Randall made it five when he smashed the ball home from twenty-five yards out.
With the Millers going into second place in League Two, Manager, Ronnie Moore said, 'It was nice for us, for the second game on a trot, not to get booed at half-time or booed at the end and it`s because we are doing the right things.'
Two days later the Millers made the journey to Macclesfield and came away with another three points. Nick Fenton had two chances to put the Millers in front before Marcus Marshall went on a fantastic run down the right on twenty-eight minutes, leaving Izak Reid on the floor, and got a good ball to Adam Le Fondre who in turn found the head of Jason Taylor who looped a header over Jose Veiga in Town's goal. Fenton's first goal of the season finally did arrive five minutes from the end of the game which made it a two-nil win for the visitors.
After the game Moore had nothing but praise for Nick Fenton saying he was 'fantastic'.
There was good news for Dale Tonge as he played his first full ninety minutes for the first team in the game for over twelve months.
Tom Elliott went back to his parent club, Leeds United while it was thought that Will Atkinson had signed until the end of the season, only for him to do a U-turn and went to Rochdale instead. Stephen Brogan went out on loan to non-league side Stalybridge Celtic.
The Millers were trying to get Adam Le Fondre to sign an extension to his contract, which he still had eighteen months to run, but although saying he was happy, he didn't want to commit himself. Meanwhile Ronnie Moore had been trying to sign Shaun Harrad from Burton Albion but failed and he said that he'd not given up hope on signing his son, Ian Thomas-Moore from Tranmere.
A cold, wet Tuesday night saw the Millers play a re-arranged game at Edgeley Park against Stockport County. The game began with a minute's silence for Macclesfield player Richard Butcher who had sadly died at the weekend. County went ahead on thirty-three minutes when Ishmel Demontagnac smashed the ball into the back of the net only for Kevin Ellison to equalise a minute later. Four minutes later the home side were offered a great opportunity to regain the lead when the ball hit Le Fondre's arm in the area and referee Coote awarded a penalty which Elding took and Andy Warrington tipped wide. Stockport came out for the second half all guns blazing and five minutes in Stephen Husband put the ball into the net. Eighteen minutes later Husband got his second of the match to give the home side a three-one lead. With five minutes to go the Millers got back into the game from an own goal by Matthew Grieve and a bullet header from Ryan Taylor on ninety minutes made it three-all. In the five minutes of time added on the Millers fans behind the goal were egging the players on but agonisingly, although Tom Pope hit the post. Ryan Taylor hit straight at the 'keeper and Nicky Law fired wide, a point was all they would get.
After the game, Ronnie Moore said the defending was shocking and said, 'at the end of the day we were thankful to scramble a point.'
Young Mark Randall, on loan from Arsenal, was in for an ear bashing from Ronnie Moore after he didn't get to the game against Stockport because he car broke down - on the M6 when he was actually supposed to be in South Yorkshire.
The Reserves fell to only their third defeat of the season against Derby County, two-nil.
Halfway through the month, Ronnie Moore announced that Mark Bradley was available to go out on loan. It was also thought that Ryan Taylor was close to signing an extension to his contract.
Chairman, Tony Stewart, announced that the club had managed to whittle down the twelve contracting companies, who are competing to build their new state-of-the-art stadium, down to four and, hopefully, in the next few days it would be down to two.
Sadly, it was announced that former Miller, Alan Kirkman, had passed away.
Southend were the next team to come to Don Valley and they went away with all three points with two goals in the first fifteen minutes. The teams had only been playing one minute when Ryan Hall volleyed the visitors into the lead and twelve minutes later Blair Sturrock headed the ball in for number two. The Millers didn't make much impression on the game until the hour mark when Nick Fenton bundled the ball over the line from a corner but it wasn't enough.
After the game Ronnie Moore wanted to know how 'thick' his players were saying, 'they were so naïve it was unbelievable.'
Ronnie Moore regrettably had to let Danny Coid go back to Blackpool saying that he wasn't going to be fit for about three weeks and was better off at Blackpool. He also said he would be trying to get a couple of players in during the week. He also announced that striker, Tom Pope, could go as long as he had another striker to replace him.
Some good news was that Nick Fenton was included in the NPower League Two Team of the Week.
Grant Darley, a graduate of the Youth set up, signed a six month extension to his contract.
The Millers made the long trip down to Wycombe and, despite throwing everything at the opposition but the kitchen sink in the second half, lost to Gareth Ainsworth twenty-eighth minute goal. To cap it all off, Jason Taylor was sent off in time added on for violent conduct.
The following Tuesday and it was another long trip to Stevenage which ended in a three-nil defeat. Peter Winn got the first a minute before half-time and five minutes from the end Byron Harrison got a second. Scott Laird scored the third in time added on.
Ronnie Moore branded the performance as 'spineless' and 'gutless' saying that they were 'abysmal'
After a long pursuit, Ronnie Moore finally got his man - son Ian Thomas-Moore joined for an undisclosed fee on an eighteen month contract. Three days later Tom Pope joined Port Vale on a months loan.
The final game of the month was at Don Valley when Stockport were the visitors. The game began slowly but on twelve minutes an own goal from Aaron Brown gave the Millers the lead. On twenty-one minutes Ryan Taylor got number two followed by Adam Le Fondre's first goal since 11th December to make it three. Ryan Taylor added his second and the Millers fourth on fifty-seven minutes to give the Millers their first three points since 3rd January.
After the game it came out that the Millers had rejected a bid from Huddersfield Town for Adam Le Fondre with Chairman, Tony Stewart saying, 'we'll not sell any players that'll hurt our chances of getting promotion.'
Ryan Taylor was the Vital Player of the Month, being voted Man of the Match for the game against Port Vale and both games against Stockport County.
The Millers ended the month in third place of League Two with forty-four points. Wycombe were above them on forty-six points while Chesterfield were running away with the lead with fifty-three points.