Date: 1st April 2017 at 6:13pm
Written by:

A goal on sixty-six minutes from Fulham sent Rotherham United tumbling into League One as they became the first team in the football leagues to be relegated this afternoon.

Before this afternoon’s game at the New York Stadium there was a minutes silence for former Manager Jim McAnearney who died earlier this month.

The Millers had a chance to go in front in the opening minutes after a cross from Joe Newell found the head of Danny Ward but he put the ball just wide. And again Newell was in the thick of it when he got a good ball out to Jon Taylor but the little winger couldn’t keep it in. Fulham’s first sight of goal fell to Tomas Kalas when a Stefan Johansen free-kick found him at the back post but he put the chance behind. On seventeen minutes some good work from the Millers saw Danny Ward put the ball back to Lee Frecklington and the Millers ‘keeper attempted to bend the ball into the net bringing off a great save from David Button in the Cottagers’ goal. At the other end a cross in from Scott Malone was palmed away by Millers’ ‘keeper Lewis Price with Aimen Belaid helping out and getting the ball away before Sone Aluko has a shot that went wide. With half-an-hour gone the Millers had another chance when some quick thinking from Taylor saw him get the ball into the box for Ward but a Fulham defender managed to get his head to it before a Frecklington cross was turned away for a corner which comes to nothing. Carlton Morris, making his home debut, was trying and when Ward flicked the ball onto him he tried to repay the compliment but again there was a visiting defender in the way. At the other end some nice work from Fulham saw the ball fall to Malone but Semi Ajayi did well to put the cross behind but their corner is saved by Price.

The Millers had a couple of free-kicks and a couple of corners at the start of the second half and actually looked like they were wanting to score but the first real chance came at the other end when a quick break saw Tom Cairney cut the ball back to find Scottish International Chris Martin but he fluffed his lines and the chance went begging. The Millers should have then opened the scoring not a minute later when Joe Newell broke down the wing and got the ball to Jon Taylor who saw his shot cleared off the line to safety. The Millers got in again and when a cross from Taylor appeared to hit the hand of a Fulham defender the Millers’ hands went up for handball – but referee Tim Robinson was having none of it. Two substitutions were made when Carlton Morris was replaced by Jerry Yates for Rotherham and Flolyd Ayita for Fulham for Neeskens Kebano. On sixty-six minutes the Cottagers threat on the break paid off although it took them three bites of the cherry. Darnell Fisher stopped the ball going over the line, Lewis Price then got his hands to the ball but the ball fell to Sone Aluko who poked the ball over the line to give the visitors the lead. After receiving treatment on the pitch Fisher was the next Miller to be subbed with Ben Purrington sent on to replace him followed minutes later by skipper Lee Frecklington who also went off injured with Anthony Forde taking his place. The Millers had a good chance to equalise with ten minutes to go when a long Will Vaulks throw found Ward in the box and with his shot looking like it was goalbound but Ryan Fredereicks threw his body in front of it to block. The first yellow of the day was shown to Purrington for a foul on Aluko. A glancing header at the near post from Martin was headed to safety by Richie Smallwood before Stefan Johansen was booked for a challenge on Forde which saw a bit of handbags between the two. The Millers had a couple more attempts one from Ward and one from Aimen Belaid but neither actually went anywhere near the goal. Fulham made two more substitutions in time added on with Sone Aluko being replaced by Ryan Sessegnon and Tim Ream coming on for Scott Malone but I don’t think either actually touched the ball before the ref blew the whistle and confirmed that the Millers had been relegated.

A fan who ran on the pitch during the second half actually managed to get from the half-way line to have a word with our ‘keeper Lewis Price and then run towards the exit before actually being stopped by anyone – might think about wanting to sign him up!

Not a lot else to say really – disappointed, of course, but there’s nowt we can do about it and the fat lady has sung. It was nice to see the fans who stayed until the end give our players a round of applause and the players who came and thanked the fans.