Millers Match Zone

A Quick Look Back At Last Season – January

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Rotherham United yo-yoing continued with the Millers getting back into the Championship at the first time of asking – but let’s look how we got there.

JANUARY

The Millers first day of 2022 was a home win against Bolton Wanderers. Michael Smith rose highest on forty minutes from a Shane Ferguson cross to put the hosts in front but Bolton equalised just two minutes later with an Eoin Doyle goal. The visitors goalkeeper was the busier in the second half and made some good save before Chieo Ogbene sent the perfect ball in for Smith to head into the bottom corner of the goal with fifteen minutes left on the clock giving the Millers a two-one win.

Millers Manager Paul Warne didn’t think his side were at their best in the game saying afterwards blaming himself saying they probably ‘trained too hard on soft pitches’.

It was the Papa John’s Trophy next for Rotherham who travelled to the Alexandra Stadium to take on Crewe. On eleven minutes the home side went in front when Mikael Mandron sent a low shot into the net past a diving Josh Vickers but a Kieran Sadlier shot from just outside the box saw the equaliser for the Millers on forty-one minutes. Michael Smith made it two-one twelve minutes into the second half but Scott Robertson got by his marker and his rocket of a shot gave Vickers no chance with the Railwaymen’s equalising goal. Joshua Kayode, who had come off the bench, put the visitors back in front on eighty-two minutes with this first goal of the season and Freddie Ladapo made it four-two to Rotherham in time added on.

A couple of days after this game we found out that both Paul Warne and Dan Barlaser had been nominated for Sky Bet League One awards. Again the Millers Boss lost out but Dan was given the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for December.

This was followed with the request for a transfer put in by Freddie Ladapo – which probably stunned the club as much as the fans with Paul Warne saying he didn’t realise players still put transfer requests in but said he would still be ‘using Freddie’ until he was no longer a Rotherham player.

Back to the football and it was an FA Cup game next against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. It was a goalless ninety minutes the game really being dominated by the League One side with Chieo Ogbene seeing a shot saved off the line before Hakeem Odoffin had a certain goal saved by a diving Archer in Rangers’ goal. Extra time came and it was the Millers who opened the scoring eight minutes in when Wes Harding sent the ball in to Michael Ihiekwe who side-footed home. Unfortunately, substitute Lyndon Dykes sent the tie to penalties with an equaliser with five minutes to go. The first five spot-kicks all went in with Harding seeing his saved. Rotherham ‘keeper Josh Vickers then saved from Dozell with JJ scoring for the Millers. Nine more penalties went in, though two from QPR needed help from the underside of the crossbar and the post before Ogbene saw Archer push his penalty round the post to give the hosts a place in the next round.

After the game Paul Warne said his side gave it ‘a right go’ and he was ‘proud’ of his players.

Cambridge United beat Plymouth in their Papa John’s Trophy game which would see them play Rotherham later in the month.

Rotherham recalled Curtis Tilt from his loan spell with fellow promotion hopefuls Wigan. He and the club eventually parted company later on in the month and he returned to Wigan on a permanent deal.

A trip to the seaside to take on Fleetwood Town was the Millers next League One game which saw Will Grigg, Chieo Ogbene and substitute Joshua Kayode having chances while Josh Vickers had to be alert a couple of times at the other end. But a goal deep into stoppage time from Anthony Pilkington gave Town all three points.

‘We weren’t aggressive enough, ‘Paul Warne grumbled after the game.

After the game the club had to put out a statement apologising to Fleetwood for one ‘fan’ in the away end who spoiled the host’s minute’s silence before the game.

We should have been entertaining Lincoln City the following Tuesday but at tea-time the news came that the game was called off with the referee having concerns about a ‘frozen pitch’.

Defender Angus MacDonald, who hadn’t played due to illness, managed ninety minutes in a reserve game away at Walsall saying it was amazing to be back. He admitted it hadn’t been easy for him so far this season saying, ‘it’s not been easy for the club who have stuck by me and had faith in me so hopefully I can now pay them back and get back on the pitch and do a job for the first team.’

So the next game we welcomed Cheltenham Town to the New York Stadium when a twenty-fourth minute Michael Smith goal gave the hosts the win.

It was back to the Papa John’s Trophy for Rotherham with Wes Harding, scoring his first senior goal, putting the Millers ahead on nine minutes at home. Paul Digby equalised for Cambridge on forty minutes and that’s how the game ended before going to penalties. The spot-kicks went to sudden death with Viktor Johansson saving to give the hosts a seven-six penalty win. The Millers found out a couple of days later that they would play Hartlepool away in the semi-final.

After the game Millers Manager Paul Warne said there had been no bids, so far, in the January Transfer Window for any of his players, two days later Kieran Sadlier left the club joining Bolton Wanderers for an undisclosed fee.

Irish striker Georgie Kelly joined the club, the Millers reportedly beating off other English clubs and also Scottish teams for his signature.

The Millers last game of January saw them travel to the Alexandra Stadium for the second time in the month, this time for a League game. A great cross from Rarmani Edmonds-Green saw Michael Smith get on the end of it heading the visitors in front on seven minutes. Crewe went down to ten men after Scott Robertson got two yellow cards in a few minutes both for fouls on Chieo Ogbene with the resulting free-kick finding Smith who saw his shot hit the foot of the post, bounce around a bit, before going in, eventually being given as an own goal. Again the Millers fans were in the spotlight when the game had a long stoppage after a missile came out of the Rotherham fans hitting a linesman with Richard Wood livid and going over to ‘have words’ with the away supporters.

There were also reports that Rotherham turned down bids from Portsmouth for Jamie Lindsay.

As the transfer window was coming to a close Rotherham signed Jordi Osei-Tutu on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season.

Rotherham finished the first month of 2022 in top place in League One, a point ahead of Wigan who had games in hand.

Vital Rotherham’s Man of the Month for January was Shane Ferguson.

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