RUFC - A Look Back at Last Season - March
March began for the Millers on a Tuesday night and the long trip to Torquay, to play the re-arranged game. Rotherham went behind on seventeen minutes and Warrington did well to keep more shots out. The Millers came out the better in the second half and thought their hard work would pay off in the hour mark when Marcus Marshall was impeded in the area and referee Trevor Kettle pointed to the penalty spot. Adam Le Fondre took a good penalty but Gulls' 'keeper, Potter, guessed the right way and saved. After shots at goal from Le Fondre, Ryan Taylor, Liam Henderson and Nicky Law the Millers got an equaliser on seventy-three minutes from Ryan Taylor although the visiting fans in the one and a half thousand crowd didn't know how their team had only come away with one point.
Ronnie Moore thought much the same and after the game said, 'I thought, for seventy minutes, we were much the better side.'
Some bad news for the Millers was that, on twenty-five minutes, after having had a knock to his face, Johnny Mullins went off the pitch looking dazed and confused, although Ronnie Moore said that the defender was 'fine'.
Striker, Tom Pope, signed on loan for another month with Port Vale.
Millers 'keeper, Andy Warrington, said, this month, that he was determined to earn himself a new contract and be number one at the new ground.
Loanee, Liam Henderson, from Watford, said he'd love to stop longer than his original loan, which should end on the 18th of the month.
After the designs of the new stadium went on show, Chairman, Tony Stewart, said he was delighted with the fans response to them.
The Millers next game was back at Don Valley when Barnet, who were next to bottom of the league going into this game, were the visitors. The Millers started brightly although didn't really trouble the visitors while the second half was a catastrophe of bad passes and a missing midfield, although some poor refereeing didn't help either side and especially the Millers when Tom Newey asked Barnet's Izale McLeod for the ball so he could take a free kick and McLeod fell down like a sack of potatoes. Newey was shown red for 'violent conduct.' The game ended nil-nil and booing from the crowd - though whether that was for the team, the manager or the incompetent officials no-one really knew.
After the game Ronnie Moore said the sending off was 'a joke' and said that his side hadn't 'punished Barnet enough when they were on top.' while stand-in skipper, Nick Fenton, said that the pitch was awful and 'you can't really play football on it.'
The Millers had former Sheffield United striker, Jordan Robertson training with the squad. The Millers arranged a friendly game with York City so that Ronnie Moore could cast his eye over the striker, who had recently been in prison for causing death by dangerous driving, but the striker declined the invitation and went to play for St Johnstone in Scotland.
The next game was against Bradford City at Valley Parade, where, to be honest, the Millers were 'cheated' out of a point by a linesman. The Millers fell behind on sixteen minutes to a Lewis Hunt goal but, after some Millers pressure, the visitors got an equaliser from a Marcus Marshall headed goal. After an entertaining second half it looked like it was going to be a point each, which would have been a fair result, until a minute into time added on when Jon Worthington hit a shot in from twenty-five yards out which smashed into the crossbar and bounced down and away. The referee, who was quite close to the incident, carried on with the game while the linesman put up his flag, which, everyone in the ground thought was for an off-side. Referee Hegley stopped play to talk to his assistant and Millers fans, players and management were dismayed to see a goal given to the Bantams. While the home players went off celebrating, though looking shocked themselves to get a goal when the ball had clearly NOT crossed the line, the Millers players began remonstrating with the linesman, although it was to no avail.
After the game, Ronnie Moore was, rightly, furious with the referee saying 'it was cruel. You could tell by the reaction of our players and the Bradford players that they didn't think the ball was over the line.'
Before the game at Valley Parade, Millers fans were a bit surprised to hear that top goalscorer, Adam Le Fondre, had been left out of the side. After the loss, Ronnie Moore said it was a tactical move because Alfie had been looking a 'little jaded.'
On the twelfth day of the month, Ronnie Moore said he thought the Millers needed twenty points from their remaining ten games to get the third automatic promotion place.
One of those twenty points was gained on the Saturday afternoon game against when high flying Bury were the visitors to Don Valley, with the game ending goalless.
Ronnie Moore said 'it was an open game' after the final whistle.
The good news was that skipper Ryan Cresswell played the full ninety minutes, after being out with a broken collar bone and then an ankle injury. Cress said he enjoyed being back on the pitch after sitting out for so long but says he was aiming to get fitter.
The Millers extended the loan spells of defender Callum Kennedy and striker Liam Henderson until the end of the season.
The Reserves suffered their third defeat of the season when Bradford City beat them 3-2 at Don Valley leaving them at the top of the league by just one point.
On the morning the Millers were to make their first trip to the B2Net Stadium, Chesterfield, Ronnie Moore told The Advertiser that Adam Le Fondre is going nowhere but his strike partner, Ryan Taylor is free to move on at the end of the season if he wants to do so.
Although I'd like to forget about the game at the B2Net, which was live on Sky for thousands of people to see, we really can't gloss over the five-nil mauling that the Spireites handed out to the Millers. The home side dominated the game from the first whistle and, frankly, the Millers were lucky to get nil always being a move behind and not being able to hold onto the ball for more than a minute.
After the game, Ronnie Moore came out with his statement of 'you can't defend like that' - which, obviously we can and did. His statement of 'If I'd had a gun I'd have shot them,' that went out live on Sky was probably the statement that meant the beginning of the end of Ronnie's second time in charge of Rotherham when three days later he was sacked along with his assistant Jimmy Mullen.
Andy Liddell, Paul Warne and Andy Dibble with Nicky Eaden being brought into the coaching staff, were put in charge of first team affairs with the first game being another away Friday night game at seventeenth placed Lincoln City.
With a lot of fans not really knowing what to expect over eight hundred made the trip to Sincil Bank - and many of them left 'gobbed smacked' after seeing a completely and utterly different Rotherham United from the previous Friday. Dale Tonge, Tom Newey, Nick Fenton, Mark Bradley and Danny Harrison all came back into the side which won six-nil! Ian Thomas-Moore, starting in his rightful place up front got a hat-trick, with his father looking on in the stands, while Danny Harrison, Ryan Taylor and Jason Taylor also scored.
The chant of 'Lids and Warney's Red n White Army' was born.
After his first match in charge, Andy Liddell said, 'It was fantastic! I know it`s only one game. I know it`s only three points. But, come on, it was fantastic.'
Hat-trick hero, Ian Thomas-Moore admitted, after the win over Lincoln, that it had been a difficult week for him but said that it turned out well and that it was probably easier for Andy Liddell to make the decision to play him up front than it had been for his dad.
Not surprisingly, Ian Thomas-Moore made it into the Npower League Two Team of the Week.
Assistant Caretaker Manager, Paul Warne, said that, before the next game against Shrewsbury, at Don Valley, the fans have a massive role to play. 'It was good to hear the positivity from the fans at the game at Lincoln and now they have a part to play at Don Valley. In every league in every country the home records are always better than the away record and that's simply because the fans get behind them. Ever since I've had a career with Rotherham the away following has been absolutely excellent and it's unfortunate for all those people who've paid their money away from home recently that the team haven't been performing too well. It's a big game now against Shrewsbury and I want the fans to get behind us.'
Unfortunately, the honeymoon period was soon over for Lids and Warney as the Millers went down three-one to the Shrews. James Collins scored the first on twenty minutes but it looked like the Millers could get an equaliser five minutes before half-time when Mark Wright flicked the ball in his own area with his hand. Referee David Phillips was probably the only person in the stadium not to see the incident, though he saw one at the other end two minutes later when Luke Ashworth stumbled into Collins and Mr Phillips pointed to the spot. Nicky Wroe sent Andy Warrington the wrong way to double the Shrews lead going into half-time. Three minutes into the second half James Collins got a third for the visitors with Adam Le Fondre getting a consolation goal on the seventieth minute.
After the game, Andy Liddell said it was mistakes that cost the team and carried on, 'I defy anyone out there to tell me those lads didn't work hard because they were chasing to the end.'
At the end of March the club announced a new four year deal with genesissports to become the next kit sponsors with the deal including supplying the club with PUMA licensed technical, replica and training kits for the next four years.
The Vital Man of the Month for March was Johnny Mullins who was Rotherham Vital Man of the Match for the games against Bradford, Bury and Shrewsbury. The other players who were voted Man of the Match last month were -
Marcus Marshall against Torquay
Andy Warrington against Barnet and Chesterfield
Dale Tonge against Lincoln
Rotherham United ended the month in ninth position in League Two.
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