Date: 12th November 2011 at 9:45pm
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Rotherham United got out of jail this afternoon and won their first, first round, FA Cup game for two years but it took a disputed off-side goal and an equally disputed penalty to do it.

Holker Street was full and it was a great blast of noise that saw the two sides take to the field in the sun this afternoon. After a minutes silence for ‘Poppy Day’ the game got ahead and it was the visitors who had the first chance as the Bluebirds defenders stood off Lewis Grabban and allowed him to put in a good ball for Gareth Evans. Unfortunately, Evans didn’t quite get his head behind it and it fell into the waiting arms of Barrow ‘keeper Danny Hurst. The next chance was at the other end when a left foot shot from Gavin Skelton just went over the crossbar and in the next couple of minutes both Jason Taylor, Alex Revell and Luke Foster had to be alert to clear shots from Richie Baker. On nine minutes, the Millers nearly opened the scoring after Dale Tonge’s cross fell to Evans but the winger’s header went past the post. Baker had a free-kick that was cleared by Guy Branston and then a corner that was saved by Conrad Logan in the Millers’ goal. But a minute later Logan was at fault and, after dropping a Baker corner he recovered and punched the ball out, it fell to Paul Rutherford who said ‘thank you very much’ and watched his volley roll into the back of the net. The home fans went wild and a minute later it could have been worse for the visitors when Jack Mackreth crossed in a ball for Adam Boyes who hit the crossbar from twelve yards out. At the other end Revell had a header that went wide and Hurst did well to dash out and put Chris Holroyd off his shot and he also did well to save a Lewis Grabban cross. As half-time approached Logan made amends for his mistake for the goal and did well to save a shot from Louis Almond. With the last kick of the game, only a finger tipped save from Hurst denied Revell an equaliser.

Both sides had chances in the opening minutes of the second half with Grabban’s good run down the right failing to get past Hurst and Boyes had a shot that Logan, once again, failed to hold although he did eventually manage to gather it up. Just after the hour mark Danny Schofield, on for Luke Foster, collected a cross from Evans but the midfielders shot went high and wide of the Bluebirds goal. Hurst became the busier of the ‘keepers and in the next ten minutes he saved shots from Grabban and skipper, Danny Harrison. But, with it looking like the Millers would go out of the competition at the first hurdle, eight minutes from time, a Tom Newey cross, had the home teams’ players shouting for offside but Grabban, who definitely was on-side, carried on and smashed the ball into the top of the net. Barrow felt aggrieved and things got a bit niggly and only a save by Hurst from Brett Williams, on for Holroyd, stopped the Millers taking the lead. On eighty-seven minutes an Evans cross into the area was deemed to have been handballed by Paul Smith and despite protests from the Barrow players, referee James Adcock, pointed to the penalty spot. After Phil Bolland threw the ball at Grabban and was booked for dissent, the Millers striker calmly placed the ball on the spot and scored the penalty. As the four minutes time added on was announced, Logan did well to deny Boyes while Grabban was denied a hat-trick from a good save from Hurst. Ex-Miller, Andy Nicholas, on for Mike Pearson, caused problems with his trademark long throw but the ball was cleared up field, where it stayed until the final whistle.

Lucky, lucky Millers this afternoon.