Rotherham United have started to become known as the ‘come back kings’ of football around South Yorkshire having gone behind to teams such as Bolton at the New York Stadium and won six-one, to MK Dons away when they were two down to win three-two and in both FA Cup games against Maidenhead and most recently at Solihull Moors where the Millers looked down and out at three down but won four-three.
So us Millers fans weren’t too worried on Saturday when Rochdale took the lead because ‘we always come back’ don’t we. Well, no, we don’t as we lost the game by that late first half goal which was a screamer from outside the area. It looked positive when we brought on another striker for the start of the second half but that striker, Smith spent most of his time playing down the wing getting crosses in instead of in the middle waiting for crosses.
Our home form is definitely not promotion material which isn’t to say we haven’t won at home because we have the last time being our one-nil win over Accrington Stanley which, lets be honest, wasn’t the best performance of the season.
But why is our home form cause for concern? Shouldn’t this be where we build that fortress, worry the opposition? Are the players trying too hard to please the fans? Are they afraid of losing?
Saturday was a poor game from the start – poor from both sides if I’m being honest but Rochdale took their chance. They tried their luck from outside the box and it worked. I can’t remember the last time we tried a shot from there. We seem to want to get into the box, in front of goal before we have a shot by which time the opposition players have got back to help their ‘keeper.
Yet, we did have chances. Twelve of them according to the after game stats, and yes, Sanchez in Rochdale’s goal was on top form but, then again, most of those chances were straight at him. And I’m not silly enough to think we are going to score every chance we get but Matt Crooks should really have had two goals to his name.
We were always a threat from a dead ball situation but some of our free-kicks and corners were poor this weekend and some of our passing woeful. But, it’s not just been this weekend has it? We were dreadful at MK Dons in the first half, we were much the same away at Maidenhead and never got going at Solihull until after the hour mark. So, I’m thinking that these late ‘come back’ victories have actually been papering over the cracks for some time.
On the other hand we have got players injured. We had players on the pitch on Saturday who really weren’t fit and others who are playing out of position. We’ve got a lad who can run like the wind down the wing in Ogbene but, of course, he has to be given the ball. Olosunde, who I’ve admired for some time, looks jaded, Ben Wiles looks nervous, Vassell, just working his way back from injury, when he came on looked half the player he’d been at Solihull on Monday while Robertson and Crooks are obviously not themselves waiting for injections and the like for injuries they have.
For me it comes down to something I’ve talked about before and that’s that I don’t think our squad is big enough. A couple of long term injuries you can cope with, a couple of niggles you can swap players about but on Saturday, well for a few weeks now, none of our players seem to know where another should be.
January is coming up – will we get some new players in? I’d like to think so but I won’t be holding my breath.