Millers lose home record
Don Valley Stadium
19 January 2010 7.45pm
Bottom place Darlington caused an upset at Don Valley this evening when they inflicated Rotherham's first defeat at Don Valley this season.
It showed during the drab first half that both teams were short of match fitness as neither had played since 12th December. The first chance came for the visitors, on seven minutes, when new boy Tadgh Purcell put a cross over that Ian Sharps headed out for a corner. A minute later Andy Warrington easily saved from Mor Diop before a Gary Dempsey shot, from just inside the box, just missed the left hand post and went harmlessly wide. It was twelve minutes before the Millers went anywhere near scoring, when Kevin Ellison's shot went wide and a minute later the same player had a wasted shot at goal from a free kick. Warrington saved from Jeff Smith while Ian Sharps, at the other end, saw a header go well over the crossbar. Warrington made another two saves from Gary Smith and Dop after Marc Joseph and Sharps made defensive errors, before a Purcell header cleared the bar. Ellison then actually got the ball in the net straight from a corner, but his jubilation was short lived as the referee judged that Adam Le Fondre had fouled the 'keeper. As, to most fans in the stadium it seemed that Le Fondre was at least three feet away from Liversedge, this decision was a bit of a mystery. Five minutes before half-time a Nicky Law cross found Ellison in the box but his header went wide. The Millers defence seemed at sixes and sevens during the half and it was with some relief that the half-time whistle was blown with the fans taking their frustration out on the players as they trudged back to the dressing room.
The teams hadn't really had time to settle, and a lot of fans were still finishing their half-time pints and cuppas, when Darlington took the lead. Two minutes in, Purcell found himself on his own, cut in from the left and slipped the ball under Warrington. Ten minutes later Liversedge palmed the ball away from a Le Fondre shot and on the hour mark, Law crossed for Ellison, who was only a yard out, but the tall midfielder couldn't connect with his head and it went out for a goal kick. Then the Millers defence went to sleep leaving Diop to get a pass to Gary Smith who rolled the ball under Warrington for the second goal of the night. Mickey Cummins, on for Harrison, gave the Millers hope on seventy-eight minutes when he connected with a Law corner and smashed the ball into the back of the net. Rotherham finally woke up and the visitors started to drop back, which should have been an invitation for the Millers to bombard the Darlington goal. And, to an extent they did, although a lot of it seemed a bit half-hearted. Cummins had a shot that was blocked and another that went wide and Law, Sharps and Le Fondre had shots blocked. Six minutes of time added on was announced and the fans were urging the Millers to score and Sharps nearly did but his header at the far post went inches over.
Boos rang out from the fans left in the Stadium as the Millers slumped to their first home defeat of the season. The defence made a lot of silly errors this evening and the midfield looked slow and unconcerned. What happened to the fighting spirit we saw at Valley Parade? Even Miller Bears antics did little to cheer us up.