After having two months of games being called off, Rotherham United played seven games in the shortest month of the year.
The first was at Don Valley on a Tuesday night against Bournemouth. A header, half-way through the first half, from Tom Pope saw the Millers go in at half-time in the lead but within two minutes of the re-start Brett Pitman had equalised for the Cherries. And in the following twenty minutes, Danny Hollands scored two to give the visitors all three points on the night.
After the game, Ronnie Moore held a lock-in in the dressing room with his players and coaching staff, emerging saying that, ‘for what was at stake, the performance was totally unacceptable tonight.` After the lock in there were lots of rumours around saying that players were pointing fingers at each other and blaming one another for the poor result.
Reserve ‘keeper, Jamie Annerson sustained an injury and, with minutes to go until the transfer deadline ended Ronnie Moore brought in Jonathan Lund from Burnley to cover.
It was also this month that Ronnie Moore first hinted that he would be clearing some players out at the end of the season, saying that the squad of twenty-four players he had was too many and he`d, ideally, like to get it down to eighteen and use the loan system.
Next up for the Millers was a trip to Darlington – a game that left Moore ’embarrassed`. To be honest, it was a shambles of a game with the Millers struggling to create anything at all. Tadhg Purcell and Gareth Waite scored the goals that gave bottom of the league Darlington a two-nil win over promotion chasing Rotherham.
Back to Don Valley for the next game when the Daggers were in town on a cold Tuesday night. And, the Millers dominated the game. Adam Le Fondre scored from a tap in on eleven minutes after a Kevin Ellison shot seemed to be heading wide and then, twenty-three minutes later, Alfie was brought down in the area and scored the resulting penalty to give the Millers a much needed win.
The next game was at Sincil Bank and the Millers came away with all three points. On thirteen minutes, Le Fondre was brought down by Moses Swaibu, resulting in a red card for the Imps defender. Alfie coolly put the resulting spot kick away to give the visitors the lead. Gary Roberts made it two-nil on sixty-five minutes with Steve Lennon getting a consolation for the home side twelve minutes later.
The next team to come to Don Valley were Torquay on a Friday night. Danny Harrison gave the Millers the lead on twenty minutes but, fourth from bottom, Torquay United wouldn`t lie down and Elliot Benyon earned them a draw five minutes from time. Frustration saw Gary Roberts get a second yellow card in time added on at the end of the game which completed a pretty miserable night for the Millers.
The following Monday evening saw Shrewsbury Town and Sky TV at Don Valley. Although, it had been touch and go whether the game went ahead, the club put out an SOS for pitch clearers and it was duly answered by football fans from around South Yorkshire. Two inspections and a lot of umming and ahhing and the game was given the go ahead at 5.00pm. The game ended one-all – Alfie being bundled over by former Miller Graham Coughlan and scoring the resulting penalty on twelve minutes and the Shrews reply came on the stroke of half-time from Steven Leslie.
Midfielder, Josh Walker, was brought in towards the end of the month, on loan from Championship Middlesbrough.
The Millers went into the final game of the month in fifth place and it was a first League trip to the Pirelli Stadium to take on Burton Albion. It was a bit of a scrappy game but the Millers came away with all three points, albeit from a ball bundled over the line from, who else, but Adam Le Fondre.
This month saw Andy Nicholas join Mansfield Town on loan until the end of the season while striker, Drewe Broughton, went to Lincoln City. Ronnie Moore tried to bring in Mark McCammon, who decided to go to Bradford City while a deal for Canadian International, Marcus Haber, fell through when the West Brom striker went to Exeter City instead.
February also saw Paul Hurst come back to the Millers as Participation Officer for the Community Sports Trust.
The Vital Rotherham Player of the Month for February was, Adam Le Fondre. He was voted player of the match against Bournemouth and joint player of the match against Burton Albion alongside Nick Fenton.
One of the Polls we conducted was – How many games do you think we will win in February – Only 10% of voters were correct, saying three games. 35% of voters didn`t think we would win any games!
On another poll we asked Where would you be watching the televised game against Shrewsbury Town? – A staggering 83% said they would be watching at home. Well, there were 2,869 fans at the game, so I`m not sure how many did stay home to watch.
RUFC – A Look Back at Last Season – February