Date: 19th August 2014 at 11:26pm
Written by:

Rotherham United fell to a two-nil defeat this evening at home to Watford but there were certainly plenty of positives to take out of the game.

As the players emerged from the tunnel for the start of the game Millers latest ‘old` signing Richie Smallwood was given a standing ovation from the home fans. And it was the Millers who started well when, in the opening two minutes, Alex Revell picked up a beautiful pass from Paul Taylor but put his shot wide and a few minutes later Taylor was there again to set up a strike for Ben Pringle but the hair-banded youngster saw his shot easily saved by Heurelho Gomes in the visitors goal. A minute later Craig Morgan blocked a shot from Ikechi Anya before Kari Arnason easily stops Matej Vydra getting into the penalty area before a free-kick from the same player ended up high and amongst the Millers fans. More good play from the impressive Taylor saw him get yet another pin point pass in this time to Revell but the striker couldn`t quite control the ball before a long throw from Arnason caused mayhem among the Watford defence before some good work by the Millers a few minutes later saw Revell again fire wide. Some poor Millers defending saw Gianni Munari loft a ball over Arnason to Troy Deeney who was stopped in his tracks by Millers` ‘keeper Adam Collin and when the Watford players and fans appealed for a penalty referee David Webb shook his head – which is probably because everytime Watford`s Diego Fabbrini got the ball he fell down like he was auditioning for Tom Daley`s spot on the Olympic diving team. Morgan was the next to stand up to Vydra as he stopped him getting into the penalty area while a poor effort from Anya was easily caught by Collins. On forty minutes Taylor was in the mix of things again and a super curling effort from the striker went just over the crossbar and minutes later Revell released Taylor again but the loanee from Ipswich saw his shot well blocked. On the stoke of half-time the Millers thought that they were going into the lead when a ball from Joe Skarz was flicked on by Revell to Lee Frecklington whose shot was heading for the bottom corner of the goal until a fantastic fingertip save from Gomez put the ball away to safety.

The second half started how the first had ended when some clever footwork from Ben Pringle set up Paul Taylor but he seemed to slip as he shot and the ball went well over the crossbar. A long throw from Kari Arnason found the head of Kirk Broadfoot but the defenders header went over while Craig Morgan saw a yellow card after Troy Deeney ran into him. The Hornets Keith Andrews followed the Millers skipper into the book after a very late tackle left Paul Green on the floor. On the hour mark Odion Ighalo, on for Vydra, put the ball beyond Adam Collins and into the net only to see the linesman flag up for offside. Moments later Munari blazed a shot high and wide into the visiting fans while a lovely header from Revell to Frecklington saw the midfielder get the ball to Michael Tidser, on for Green, only for him to be hauled down on the edge of the area by Tamas who, as last man, should surely have seen red but the lenient ref just showed a yellow. Taylor took the resulting free-kick which bent round the wall but didn`t keep down and Gomez watched it sail over the bar. Much against run of play the Hornets took the lead after their first real shot at goal from Ighalo was only parried by Collin and Lloyd Dyer, on for Fabbrini, pounced and slammed the ball into the net then celebrated like he scored the winner in a World Cup Final. Four minutes later the Millers had a chance to level when the ball came to John Swift, on for Frecklington, but his shot ended just on top of the net with Gomes left stranded. Morgan gets lucky as he appears to trip Ighalo in the box but the referee waved play on while Richie Smallwood then finds himself yellow carded for clipping Dyer`s heels as the winger gets free again. With three minutes to go Tommy Hoban easily gets past Broadfoot and his low cross finds the unmarked Munari in the box and he has the easiest of tap-ins to make it two-nil to the visitors. With five minutes of time added on the Millers tried to fight back but a Taylor volley went over from close-range while Tidser got the better of the two centre-halves but just failed to make contact with the ball.

A first loss at home in the Championship but, as I said earlier, there will be good things to take from this evenings display. We had plenty of chances tonight but we really need to take them because, in this division, I can`t see them coming too often.