Millers Match Zone

A Quick Look Back At Last Season – December

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Rotherham United will be playing Championship football next season – but let’s have a quick look at how that happened.

DECEMBER

The last month of 2021 began with a Friday night FA Cup game at home to Stockport County. Rotherham made it through with a narrow victory when a low cross into the box from Ollie Rathbone was poked home by Michael Smith just minutes before half-time.

Admitting his side weren’t at their best and praising Stockport, Millers Boss Paul Warne said it was ‘a real good Cup game and I really enjoyed it.’

The draw saw the Millers GET Queens Park Rangers away in the next round. There was also the draw for the Papa John’s Trophy and another away game this time against Crewe Alexandra.

Goalkeeper Josh Chapman was sent out on loan to get some games under his belt to Northern Premier League East Division side Frickley Athletic until January.

The first home league game of the month saw Steve Evans back at the New York Stadium with his Gillingham side who stopped the Millers fans in their tracks when Olly Lee scored on five minutes. After a long punt up-field and a mix up in the Gills defence Freddie Ladapo bundled the ball over the line on thirty-eight minutes for the equaliser with Mickel Miller making it two-one on the stroke of half-time. Just before the hour mark Michael Ihiekwe won a penalty for the hosts with Dan Barlaser blasting home from the spot and after Ryan Jackson was shown a second yellow for pulling Chieo Ogbene down in the area Barlaser had the chance to make it four but saw his shot strike the crossbar and go to safety. But he made amends ten minutes later scoring his second after a good ball in from Joshua Kayode and Ogbene made it five-one in the final minute of the game with a stunning strike from the edge of the area.

‘We missed so many chances,’ the Millers Boss said after the win, ‘and some of our build-up in play was slow.’

Hot on the heels of that win came another when Burton Albion were the next visitors to the New York Stadium when Freddie Ladapo opened the scoring for the Millers on the twenty-third minute. Kane Hemmings saw the sides go into half-time level but just three minutes into the second half Ladapo scored his, and the Millers, second with Dan Barlaser making it three-one from a close-range free-kick.

It came to our attention that loanee Rarmani Edmonds-Green was a ‘wanted man’ with the rumours being that Barnsley, Cardiff City, Derby County and Preston North End were interested in the young defender. But, as we know, they didn’t get him!

The last game before Christmas saw Rotherham travel to Cambridge with the only goal of the game coming on sixty-six minutes after a good break down the wing from Chieo Ogbene saw him pass the ball to Michael Smith and he in turn found Dan Barlaser on the edge of the box who smashed home to give the visitors all three points.

Rotherham’s New York Stadium had it’s capacity reduced to nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine meaning that there was no need for supporters to show a Covid Passport at the forthcoming games.

A great atmosphere from both sets of supporters saw a Boxing Day away game at the Wham Stadium, Sweet Caroline being sang from all four corners of the ground before the teams emerged. Although the Accrington goalkeeper was much the busier of the two Viktor Johansson did well on the hour mark to keep a Tommy Leigh shot out. But he couldn’t stop Stanley scoring on the seventy-fifth minute after a Leigh ball into the box caused all sorts of problems before finding Sean  McConville whose acrobatic scissor-kick went into the net to end Rotherham’s twenty-one game unbeaten run.

Paul Warne said ‘we need to take our chances’ after the defeat.

As the Millers were getting ready to welcome Lincoln City to the New York Stadium for the last game of the year, the game was called off the day before with the Imps having a number of players down with Covid.

With the Millers and Wigan not playing their last game of the season Sunderland overtook them both to top spot with a five-nil home win over Sheffield Wednesday. Rotherham were in second spot going into 2022, two points behind the Black Cats, with forty-seven.

Vital Rotherham’s Man of the Month for December was Dan Barlaser.

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