Millers snatch draw…
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne reflected on his teams performance after they scored a 90th-minute equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw with Reading at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It took defender Joe Mattock to scramble home to earn a point for Warne’s men and it could have been all three, with chances coming in stoppage time for the hosts.
“I’m pretty happy with the result,” said Warne speaking to the media after the game. “I probably wouldn’t have been before the game. Collectively and individually, I didn’t think we played the way we should play. So I was disappointed with the first-half.
“I said to the lads in the dressing room, I could have made a few changes at half-time but I could only do two. I thought our second-half performance was, obviously, a lot better. We could have been out of sight before half-time – they could have gone two or three up. But I thought we did enough in the second-half to deserve a point.
“I’m not really a ‘stat’ man but someone told me we had 26 attempts at goal, 10 on target. I think all of them came in the second-half.”
The Royals took the lead in the ninth minute through striker Sam Baldock after he broke the Millers offside trap and finished smartly, however, the Millers’ leveller was very late, as Joe Mattock scrambled the ball home from inside the six-yard box in the final minute of normal time.
“On all our set-pieces, we looked dangerous,” added Warne. “When it got to about 80 minutes I thought it wasn’t going to be our day. I didn’t see us scoring, not through lack of effort, but we kept narrowly missing the post.
“When Will Vaulks hit that volley so sweet but straight at the ‘keeper, I’m thinking ‘It’s just not going to be our day’.
“People will probably see it as two points dropped but I think it’s a point won because of the situation we were in. Obviously, with teams around us you don’t want to give them any points. I think it’s a point well earned by a really hardworking team.
“I don’t know whether the lads were overconfident – I don’t think they were. We were just not playing the way we play. I think it summed it up when we had a free-kick in the third minute and we could have put it in the box but we went short.
“They caused us a lot problems, they’ve got some excellent players and some real athleticism. Out of possession, we really struggled to get the ball back and we had some performances that we were disappointed with.
“The lads don’t go out to play bad on purpose but today a few of them didn’t have their best days.
Reading caretaker manager Scott Marshall spoke to the media after the game and revealed “I enjoyed it today,” upon his return to Rotherham where he had played as a loanee.
“The nerves of first team football jangling, I enjoyed that. It was good to see a dressing room focussed and ready to work for each other. I enjoyed being around all that today.”
“We worked tremendously hard right throughout the 95 minutes. But the pressure was building and the balls were coming into the box, which they filled with numbers.
“It was really tough to deal with all afternoon. But we showed some real quality at times and some great chances earlier in the game.
“We could have been out of sight at the end of the first half. And you knew, with one goal in it it made it a bit cagey.
“And we knew there was going to be a right scrap at the end – and all it takes for the ball to bounce in the right area for them and they can score.
“The style that they have and the pressure they put you under in the box, at 1-0 it was always going to be a tough five minutes towards the end. And so it proved. But we’ve come away with a good point I think.”
The Royals came up against a Rotherham side that had only lost once at the AESSEAL New York Stadium this season, but Reading, missing four first team centre-halves, came close to winning the game.
“We were really dangerous on the break – there were some really good counter attacks and we would probably have like to establish a bit more possession and control of the ball in the second half.
“That would have been my preferred method of defence, keeping the ball and moving them around a little bit better, controlling the game a little bit that way.
“But the conditions made it difficult to maintain that throughout the game, not to mention the opposition who didn’t make it easy for us either.
“They are good at what they do in terms of putting the ball in the box and putting you under pressure. And it was a big physical challenge. So I’m happy with the spirit we showed under pressure.
“The chances we’d missed and how well we played in the first half was probably in the back of your mind a little bit – not taking those chances and getting that two-goal cushion meant we had to be really brave in possession of the ball in the second half and try to control it that way.
“You can’t relax for a minute. We expected a barrage at the end with only a goal in it, and we knew they would be getting that ball into the box and looking for that chaos factor – and it just so happened that we conceded one corner too many in the end.
“So we’ll take the point from today and work towards the next one at home to Middlesbrough.”