RUFC - A Look Back at Last Season - February
February was a six game month, starting on the first day with an evening trip to Port Vale where a first goal in England for Vale's James O'Shea seven minutes into the second half was enough to give the home side all three points. After the game, Ronnie Moore said he thought it was an even contest but thought his five attacking players weren't really at their best and accused them of 'huffing and puffing' a bit.
The next game was against Crewe Alexandra at Don Valley. After the defeat on Tuesday night, Jason Taylor was drafted back into the side, after serving a three match ban, with Danny Harrison dropping to the bench. The Millers had the better of a rain soaked first half but it took forty-three minutes before Nick Fenton drilled in the ball for the Millers first, and the defenders third of the season. The weather conditions got worse for the second half and both teams started slowly. Just after the hour mark Ajay Leitch-Smith equalised for the Alex, although it had an off-side look to it, and it was the visitors who looked like they wanted the win more. On eighty-four minutes, a Crewe defender misjudged a ball and Adam Le Fondre managed to get a leg to it and lob it over the 'keeper for the Millers to take the lead again. In the final minute of the game, Ryan Taylor unleashed an unstoppable shot to make it three-one. After the game, Ronnie Moore said, 'I thought we played some good stuff at times especially after the rain and wind got up in the second half. We defended well today and I'll give my lads a lot of credit.'
Stand-in Skipper, Nick Fenton, who scored the first goal on Saturday, said the game was 'a fight'. 'The conditions were tough and Crewe played some good football,' the defender said, 'but I think we matched them.'
Millers fan and top referee, Howard Webb, was officially rated the 'best referee in the World' by the people of the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. Later, Howard was made an Honorary Freedom of Rotherham, which is the highest honour the borough can give,
Ronnie Moore said that he was 'frustrated' with Adam Le Fondre and Ryan Taylor due to their refusal to sign new contracts.
The next game was the long trek to the Priestfield Stadium to take on Gillingham on a cold Tuesday night. Cody McDonald got an early goal for the home side on five minutes but just two minutes later the Millers were back level after some Ian Thomas-Moore was brought down and a free-kick awarded. Nicky Law curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner of the net to the delight of the sixty-four Millers fans who had made the trip. Unfortunately, their happiness didn't last too long when, just before the half-hour mark, they were up in arms when Curtis Weston caught Andy Warrington, after the 'keeper clearly had the ball, and caused the Millers number one to leave the field with a nasty head injury and replaced by Jamie Annerson. The first thing Annerson had to do was pick the ball out of the net after McDonald got past Johnny Mullins and put the ball into the net. Although the Millers came out the better for the second half, the storm was weathered by the home side and the game was finally put to bed in the final minute of the game when Dennis Oli put the ball past Annerson, off the post, to make it three-one. Ronnie Moore labelled his defenders as 'pathetic' after the game. He also thought Curtis Weston was lucky to be still on the pitch after clattering into Andy Warrington saying, 'Woggy has lots of cuts in his face and head and has five stitches in one, three in another and two in the other - and you're telling me that wasn't malicious? He's gone for him it's as simple as that.'
Over the incident, Chief Operating Officer, Paul Douglas said, 'We are asking for clarification from the FA and the referee's department on how this escaped a red card. Having had the opportunity to review it on video, it was clearly a reckless tackle. There was no way the player was going to win the ball and there was little regard for Andy's safety when he went in for the challenge.'
Kevin Ellison moved to Bradford City with Omar Daley coming the other way - both on loan until the end of the season. Ronnie Moore said it was a 'great deal.' Moore was also hoping to get Danny Coid back on loan from Blackpool as well as Swindon's Callum Kennedy.
It was in February that the Millers appointed former Radio Sheffield commentator, Brian Chapple as the new Community Director.
As Ronnie Moore hoped, he managed to sign Callum Kennedy from Swindon, saying that he'd been 'after him' for a while. 'He's a big lad with a great left peg,' Moore said.
The next game was another away game, at The Kassam Stadium, against Oxford. The Millers were dealt a blow after just fifteen minutes when Ryan Taylor was forced off with an injury and just two minutes later Simon Heslop but the home side in front. On thirty-six minutes, Omar Daley, on for Taylor, caused all sorts of problems putting in a perfect ball for Nicky Law who chipped the ball into the net over the 'keeper. Unfortunately for the Millers, fifteen minutes into the second half new boy Callum Kennedy hauled down MacLean in the penalty area and was shown a red card. MacLean picked himself up and, despite Andy Warrington getting a hand to it, scored from the resulting penalty. The Millers themselves had two penalty appeals but both were turned down.
After the game Ronnie Moore said that the team performance was 'fantastic'. He also said that they missed Ryan Taylor, saying, 'You do miss Ryan's presence and height. We've got one or two we can pop on and Omar (Daley) has come on and done well.'
Callum Kennedy was given a one match ban for his sending off.
The Millers entertained Accrington at Don Valley on a Tuesday night with Ronnie Moore saying he was disappointed that Ryan Taylor, Ryan Cresswell and Callum Kennedy wouldn't be available. Ian Thomas-Moore was also on the injury list after tweaking a hamstring in training and before the game Liam Henderson joined on loan from Watford and went straight into the starting eleven.
The Millers finally broke the deadlock on fifty-eight minutes after Henderson did some good work only to find himself upended. But the ball fell to Omar Daley who scored his first goal for the Millers. Deep into injury time, the Millers made the game safe when Adam Le Fondre drilled the ball into the back of the net for his fiftieth Millers goal. Ronnie Moore was pleased with his Millers side, saying although it wasn't a brilliant performance, it was a 'massive win against Accrington.
The Reserves were supposed to be playing at Don Valley the following afternoon but, to give the pitch a rest there, Barnsley offered to put the game on, against them, at their Academy next door to Oakwell. But, after the young side lost seven-nil, they probably wished the game hadn't gone ahead!
Just two days after the reserve game was played away from Don Valley, head groundsman, Jim Davison, said he was 'happy with the pitch.' Hmmm. Strangely, the next game at Don Valley, against Shrewsbury Town, was postponed after the referee deemed the surface unplayable.
Defender, Jamie Green, went out on loan to Boston United, who, at the time, were third in the Blue Square Bet North league. Boston's joint-manager, Paul Hurst, said they had got a 'coup.' Jamie was shortly followed to the Pilgrims by midfielder, Grant Darley.
Chairman, Tony Stewart, said that the 24th of the month was 'an historic day for Rotherham United' after the designs for the new stadium were released for the first time.
Ronnie Moore finally got his man, when Danny Coid signed, for a second time, on loan from Blackpool for a month.
The final game of the month was at the Pirelli Stadium against Burton Albion where the Millers had to come from behind twice but eventually won. Greg Pearson scored for Albion on the second minute but Johnny Mullins equalised four minutes later. Aaron Webster put the home side back into the lead on thirty-four minutes for the Brewers to go in at half-time ahead. Four minutes into the second half the home side missed a good opportunity to double their lead when Johnny Mullins brought Pearson down in the penalty area. Webster took the penalty but smashed it into the crossbar and it went away to safety. On seventy-five minutes, Liam Henderson found an unmarked Marcus Marshall who headed the ball into the net to equalise. Fourteen minutes later, Adam Le Fondre put the Millers in the lead for the first time in the game and two minutes later Jason Taylor wrapped the game up and made it four-two. Ronnie Moore said he was pleased with the second half performance after thinking his side were lucky to go in at half-time just two-one down.
After his performance against Burton, Marcus Marshall was included in the Npower League Two Team of the Week.
Jason Taylor was voted as Vital Rotherham's Player of the month. He got voted Man of the Match for the games against Crewe and Gillingham. The other players voted as Man of the Matches were Nick Fenton (v Port Vale), Nicky Law (v Oxford), Omar Daley (v Accrington Stanley) and Johnny Mullins (v Burton).
The Millers ended the month in third place with fifty-three points. Bury were in second place with three more points and Chesterfield had sixty-two points at the top of League Two.
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