ANALYSIS: Damning Price to pay

By David Beddows | 10/04/2017 0 comments

ANALYSIS: Damning Price to pay
Danny Ward nets his first league goal since Christmas

THE season died long ago but the defeats still hurt.

Saturday's setback at Wigan cut deeper than most, so much so that Paul Warne had to take a walk down the touchline to clear his head before attempting to explain how a long overdue league point had been chucked away.

It really should have been goalkeeper Lewis Price doing the explaining for his misdemeanour deep into stoppage time as he made a clearance downfield.

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There was no need for the stopper to react to a niggly challenge from Wigan's Nick Powell and even less need for a man of his experience to end up on his opponent's back.

The two squared up, a mole hill became a mountain and the resulting free-kick, lashed in by Powell, left Rotherham wondering what had hit them.

Instead of taking a satisfying point from his first permanent game in charge, Warne had to swallow a "97th minute catastrophe."

Fans at home might blame him for a tenth successive defeat but sometimes the players have to take responsibility.

Played out in an eerily quiet atmosphere at the DW Stadium, the meeting of the Championship's bottom two teams was a scrappy affair, a League One encounter in all but name.

Rotherham produced the best move of the match, a four-man sequence that ended with Danny Ward slotting in his first goal since the Christmas win over Wigan.

But back on the subject of players taking responsibility, Ward should have scored two more. He screwed wide of an open when he hassled Wigan goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard into an early mistake and put another golden chance straight at the stopper's legs in the second half.

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Although former Manchester United man Gabriel Obertan was allowed too much time and space to quickly cancel out Ward's opener, nervous Wigan always looked like offering up more chances and didn't disappoint.

Possession was wasted and there was hesitancy and mistakes aplenty, none more so than than when Haugaard allowed Anthony Forde's speculative 20-yarder to slip through him just past the hour mark.

Haugaard atoned with a finger-tip save from Carlton Morris and that proved crucial. Within minutes, the hosts swept upfield for Alex Gilbey to apply the finishing touch to a counter-attack and even though Price pulled off two fines to keep his team in it, the Millers' day ended on a huge and needless downer.

The point they got at Ipswich in October under Kenny Jackett (remember him?) remains the only one on the board from 21 attempts away from home. The way we're going, that's how it is going to stay.


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