RUFC - A Look Back At Last Season - November
The Millers began the month of November in sixth place but the league was forgotten for the first game of the month with the FA Cup game coming up against Stevenage.
Before the game there was some good news and some bad news - Jamie Devitt arrived from Hull City on a month`s emergency loan but defender Dale Tonge was set to be out for three months after an operation on damaged ligaments in his ankle.
Stevenage came to the New York Stadium just outside the League One automatic promotion spots but also on the back of a four-nil loss at home to Swindon Town. The Millers overpowered their opponents and it was only surprising that they didn't get a goal before Mark Bradley's opener on the half-hour mark. Seven minutes into the second half Lee Frecklington made it two-nil with a long-range shot and scored again three minutes later to give the Millers looking strong with a three-nil lead. With the home fans singing 'easy, easy' they were stopped mid-song when a thirty yard shot from James Dunne just beat the outstretched hand of Andy Warrington. The visitors started getting on top and Filipe Morais scored on seventy-two minutes to make it three-two but the Millers managed to hang-on for the final whistle. After the game Steve Evans said his players had put in a 'real shift'.
Next day the Millers found out they would be playing at home again in the next round against another League One side Notts County.
Back to the league and the Millers made their first trip to the Highbury Stadium to take on Fleetwood Town in their first season in the league. A blustery evening greeted the two and a half thousand fans that night with the first half being a bit of a dull affair except for two goals. The Millers got a free-kick on nineteen minutes and the Cod Army's 'keeper Scott Davies made a mess of collecting it from Mark Bradley with the ball falling to Kari Arnason who smashed it into an empty net. The Millers' fans were still celebrating when two minutes later Jon Parkin equalised for the home side. The second half was a bit more lively with Davies pulling off a couple of good saves to keep the score at one-all.
After the game there was a lot of negative talk about Premiership referee Chris Foy who was in charge that night with one particular incident that happened in front of the Millers fans being discussed. Fleetwood 'keeper was seen to clearly handle the ball when it was at least eighteen inches over the line with the home fans laughing when Mr Foy played on. For me the official was often lagging behind play and his assistants seem to wait until he made a decision before putting up a flag. Hey ho that's refs for you eh!
Some bad news after the game was that Jamie Devitt had to cut his months' loan short with a hamstring injury. We also found out that a bid for Celtic's Tony Watt had almost gone through and then the eighteen year old played and scored for the Bhoys against Barcelona in a Champions League game giving Celtic Manager Neil Lennon a change of heart.
Luke Rooney joined the Millers from Swindon Town on loan until the beginning of January.
The Millers made the journey to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium to take on Dagenham and Redbridge which afterwards Steve Evans said was the worst performance he'd seen. The Daggers demolished Rotherham who were one down in the first five minutes from a goal by Dwight Gayle. On thirty-five minutes Oluwafemi Ilesanmi walked past Millers loanee debutant Luke Rooney, taking the ball off him in the process and cued Luke Howell up to put the ball in the net from eighteen yards out. The game didn't get any better for the Millers although there were no more goals until the seventy-fifth minute when Luke Howell was in the right place at the right time to tap the ball in the net. Medy Elito made it four-nil six minutes later and on the stroke of full-time Gayle scored his second and the Daggers fifth.
After the game Steve Evans put in a complaint about Referee Roger East who he said used 'foul and abusive' language towards one of his players.
The injury list was getting longer too - Kari Arnason was expected to be out for three weeks, Mitch Rose was also on the treatment table, Scott Shearer and Dale Tonge had long term injuries, Craig Morgan limped off during the Daggers game with a sprained ankle with Kieran Agard and David Noble also out.
With all these injuries winger Courtney Cameron arrived on loan from Aston Villa.
Some good news to lighten the mood was that stalwart Paul Warne was awarded a testimonial who said he was 'chuffed to bits' about it.
The Millers had to put the ghost of the Dagenham game behind them when they took on third placed Cheltenham Town at the New York Stadium the a week later. It didn't start well when Keith Lowe scored for the Robins in the opening minutes but Daniel Nardiello headed home the equaliser a few minutes later. Ben Pringle put the Millers in the lead on twenty minutes with Nards getting his second and the Millers third nine minutes later. Just after the half-hour mark Chris Zebroski received a ball, clearly in an off-side position, and put it in the back of the net. Every one looked to the linesman and then the ref who gave the goal making it three-two. There wasn't any more goals until the ninetieth minute when Lee Frecklington made sure giving the Millers all three points. After the game Millers Boss Steve Evans said that it was a big performance and a thoroughly deserved win and, although he praised all his players he picked out Daniel Nardiello saying that the striker has 'character and I love him to bits. He`s the type of player who doesn't look industrious or hard working but he`s making moves when others aren't seeing it.'
Craig Morgan had to go off yesterday just before half-time and it was revealed the day after the game that he'd had x-rays and had a small break in foot and would be out for four or five weeks.
Unfortunately the following Tuesday the Millers were brought back down to earth when Wycombe were the visitors at the New York Stadium. Twice the Millers were in front - Nardiello in the opening minute and after an equalising goal from the visitors Mark Bradley put the Millers back in front - and twice they let the lead slip with Matt McClure scoring two goals in the second half.
After the game Steve Evans said it was a long time since he'd felt so down due to football. After saying that the performance wasn't good he was also upset over the amount of injuries his side had - picking up another two during the game. Lee Frecklington couldn't come back on for the second half and Alex Revell went off sick.
With the injury situation going from bad to worse Johnny Mullins was recalled from his loan spell at Oxford and the Millers got in two loanees, defenders Liam Ridehalgh and Jack O'Connell from Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers respectively with Lee Frecklington's loan being extended.
Meanwhile the Millers secured the services of defender Craig Morgan by extending his contract for another eighteen months.
With all the coming, returning and extending the next thing that happened was the departure of Laurence Wilson who left the Millers by mutual consent. And, after being stretchered off against Wycombe Wanderers, Josh Morris went back to his parent club Blackburn.
Next the Millers made the long journey to St James' Park to take on Exeter City. Well it never stopped to rain and quite a few of the two hundred visiting Millers were stood in the downpour but were happy enough to see the Millers get all three points from a goal three minutes from half-time from Ian Sharps. Apart from the rain the only other blot was when Mitch Rose, who had replaced Daniel Nardiello just a few minutes earlier, saw red for a second challenge on Aaron Dawson.
After the game Steve Evans had nothing but praise for his back line.
Skipper Ian Sharps and midfielder Ben Pringle were named in the Npower League Two Team of the Week.
Evans admitted that he and the returning Johnny Mullins had had a long talk with both admitting that there were 'errors' on both sides.
The last game of the month was the re-arranged game away at Accrington Stanley. A goal on two minutes from Dean Winnard gave the hosts the lead but three minutes later Daniel Nardiello equalised and three minutes into the second half Nards struck again to send the Millers within one point off the automatic promotion place. Delighted with the win Steve Evans said although it wasn't a spectacular performance it was a hard working performance.
The Millers were looking forward to taking on Notts County in the next round of the FA Cup and had a bit of a boost by being told they would have loanees Jack O'Connell and Courtney Cameron available for the clash.
Vital Rotherham's Man of the Month was goalkeeper Andy Warrington who was voted Man of the Match for the games against Stevenage in the FA Cup first round and at Dagenham and Redbridge in the league game where, without the shot stopper, it could well have been a lot worse than the five-nil defeat.
The Millers ended November in fourth place in League Two, seven points behind leaders Gillingham.
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