Opinion: Thoughts On Rotherham United Season So Far

How have the Millers done so far….

Rotherham United returned to the Championship in the summer having won the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final over Shrewsbury Town at Wembley last May.

The Millers start to life back in the second tier of English football has been fairly decent, the only defeats that Rotherham fans were surprised by were Hull at home in August and possibly the one down at St Andrews against Garry Monk’s Birmingham City.

August

The opening day of the season saw the Millers get a reality check as they were thumped 5-1 by Brentford at Griffin Park and that showed that there would be no easy games in the Championship, something that we’ve known for a while now.

The first home clash of the season saw Millers boss Paul Warne come up against former team-mate Paul Hurst. Ipswich were the visitors to the AESSEAL New York Stadium and the Millers left it late to grab the winner thanks to Michael Smith’s 90th minute strike.

Back to back defeats followed for Rotherham as they went down 2-0 to Leeds at Elland Road, in what was a second half master-class from Marcelo Bielsa’s side, before a 3-2 home defeat to Hull City before they returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Millwall thanks to Sean Raggett’s goal.

September

The Start of September saw the Millers travel to face fellow promotion winners Wigan Athletic  but a goal from James Vaughan in the second half saw Warne’s men fall to defeat, that was followed by the first international break of the season.

After the international break Rotherham United welcomed Frank Lampard and Derby County to the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Ryan Manning’s penalty in the second half secured the win for the Millers against the 10-man Rams, who had Tom Lawrence sent off for a bad challenge. Not just that, Rams boss Frank Lampard also saw red.

The positive result against Derby were quickly followed by back to back defeats against Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest respectively, the Millers lost 2-0 at Villa Park and 1-0 at the City Ground with former Millers striker Lewis Grabban winning the game for Forest.

Following the defeats against both Villa and Nottingham Forest, it was back to the AESSEAL New York Stadium for the visit of Stoke City, recently relegated from the Premier League, the Millers held their own in the first half and within five second half minutes a penalty by Ryan Manning and a superb finish from Richie Towell they were in control and 2-0 up, however, nine minutes later Stoke grabbed a goal back when Tom Ince, who always scores against Rotherham , pulled one back.

It looked as though Rotherham were going to grab the win but with five minutes remaining Stoke got a disputed throw-in and from that former Barcelona man Bojan grabbed an equaliser which was undeserved.

October

Warne’s men followed up the 2-2 draw with Stoke with a goalless one against Bristol City at the NYS at the start of the month.

The next game in October saw the Millers travel to St Andrews to take on Garry Monk’s Birmingham City and a hat-trick from striker Lukas Jutkiewicz saw United lose 3-1 with Jon Taylor grabbing the consolation goal.

The second International break followed the game at St Andrews and Rotherham worked hard on the training ground. The first game after the break saw Bolton Wanderers travel to the NYS.

The game against the Wanderers ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to Christian Doidge’s late goal which cancelled out a 25-yard free-kick from midfield maestro Will Vaulks. Following the draw the Millers went on the road looking for their first point or points on the road in the second tier for the first time since 2016.

The first away game after the international break came against Middlesbrough, who at the time were sitting top of the Sky Bet Championship table. Rotherham put in one of their best performances coming away with their first point on the road with an impressive goalless draw which left boss Paul Warne pleased.

Warne’s men then travelled to face Preston North End to end the month of October and despite playing really well they found themselves go a goal behind before the break through Tom Barkhuizen’s header. However, some superb footwork from Michael Smith saw the big forward finish well into the top corner equalising for Rotherham. The game ended 1-1.

November 

The start of November saw the Reds face Swansea City at home and thanks to two penalties by Ryan Manning they turned the game on its head and beat Swansea 2-1Oliver McBurnie had given the visitors an undeserved lead.

The second game in November saw the Millers on their travels to inform Blackburn Rovers. United looked on course to getting their first three points since 2016 on the road when Michael Smith gave them the lead with 15 minutes remaining, only for Bradley Dack to secure a point with a disputed goal – It looked offside and a hint of handball also.

Overall 

Overall the season has gone reasonably well so far for the Millers. Paul Warne will be very happy with some of the performances especially with the last three games on the road.

Sooner rather than later Rotherham will be getting that all important three points away from home.

It’s now the international break and the final one of 2018 and Warne will be working very hard on the training pitches ready for the upcoming games including the Yorkshire Derby against Sheffield United. This is the first game after the break at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Picture Credit: Rotherham United

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