Rotherham United were punished for not taking their chances late-on again, this time against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park…
For three-quarters of the game, the Millers had put in the perfect away performance. Blackburn are renowned for having one of the most dangerous front three’s in the division. But Rotherham held firm and managed them well.
Paul Warne’s men were even the better side for the majority of the game. They made the most of this as they deservedly took the lead through Michael Smith with half an hour to go. The visitors were well-set to pick up consecutive victories in the Championship for the first time this season.
A result of that magnitude would have been brilliant for the team. Sadly, it was not to be. With around 15 minutes to go, Blackburn started to pile the pressure on Rotherham’s backline.
It only looked like a matter of time before they equalised. They did just that through Harvey Elliot – a 17-year-old who should go onto have quite the career going off his performance on Wednesday night.
There was an air of inevitability about the ending of this game. Despite all of their hard work, it just felt as if the game may go awry for Warne’s men.
The majority of Rotherham fans would have taken a point at the start of the game. This was the least that they deserved by the end of the 90 minutes.
When the fourth official revealed that there would be seven added minutes, an audible intake of breath was heard across Rotherham from fans watching on at home.
Adam Armstrong struck from close range in the 98th minute to break Rotherham hearts in the dying embers of the game.
— Football Heaven (@footballheaven) December 16, 2020
This is not the first time this has happened this campaign. But you must feel that this late turnaround stings the most out of them all.
For around 70 minutes, this was a fantastic performance from Warne’s men. But they once again came unstuck as a result of missed chances when they were on top.
After they went ahead, Matt Crooks had a huge opening but his shot from inside the area went wide. Then in stoppage time, just before Armstrong’s goal, Freddie Ladapo could have easily won the game for Rotherham with a header from close range.
Football is a game of fine margins, and once again, the Millers came off worse than their opponents. This is also a sport of critical moments. If Crooks and Ladapo’s chances had gone in, fans could have been celebrating an impressive 3-0 win on the road which would have rightly garnered a lot of praise.
In actual fact, Rotherham were punished for missing chances, as they always will be at this level. The chaotic end to the game resulted in supporters going from feeling overjoyed to be dismayed.
The Championship is ever so cruel, especially to sides like Rotherham. When you let key chances slip by, you just know that it will come back to bite you on the arse. Frustratingly, this has happened on a few occasions for Rotherham already this season.
Ifs, buts and maybes are great in football. Yet, it is fair to say that the Millers would be in a far stronger position in the table had they not fallen foul to so many late setbacks.
There are still a lot of positives to take from a performance like this. Had it not been for a mad final stretch, the Millers would have been celebrating a mammoth away victory that would have come about in typical Rotherham United fashion.
FULL-TIME | Blackburn Rovers 2 v 1 Millers
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) December 16, 2020
A win on Wednesday would have set Rotherham up perfectly for what is a really important game at the New York Stadium on Saturday against Derby County.
This result does not really change what is needed at the weekend. Derby have enjoyed an upturn in form since Wayne Rooney took interim charge. Despite this, it is still a game that Warne’s side need to be winning, especially with it being at home.
Rotherham may be reeling from tonight’s defeat. But we have witnessed throughout Warne’s reign that when their backs are against the wall, the players more often than not come into their own.
It cannot be understated how big a win on Saturday could be, even more so going off the disappointment of Wednesday night.
The players are clearly desperate to deliver for Warne and his staff. They will certainly be keen to right the wrongs from the defeat to Blackburn.
Given the quick turnaround in the Championship, Rotherham have no time to feel sorry for themselves. The best way to recover from a defeat like this is to go out there on Saturday and leave it all out on the pitch in pursuit of all three points.
A similar calibre of performance as against Bristol City and AFC Bournemouth is needed at the weekend. This group of players have a lot of heart. So we are sure that they will give it their all to pick up a morale-boosting victory against Derby…