ANALYSIS: It's time to step it up

By David Beddows | 06/11/2017 0 comments

ANALYSIS: It's time to step it up
Will Vaulks can't hide his disappointment at Crewe

THEY'VE had a fair bit of back-slapping this season and with good reason.

But after an autumn dip culminating in Saturday's early exit from the FA Cup, it really is time for Rotherham United to step up.

It was a sloppy, careless and ultimately limp defeat to an average Crewe side, so disappointing that even the normally perky Paul Warne was left feeling low.

He was right in his assessment that the team was good enough in the first half to have been out of sight. Unfortunately, games are played over 90 minutes and the tail-off in the second half was surprising and showed up some familiar defensive frailties.

Millers manager Paul Warne shakes hands with former team mate and Crewe boss David Artell

Very few pressed their case to stay in the side, despite Warne freshening up his starting 11 by making five changes in the wake of the Gillingham defeat.

Will Vaulks' beautifully executed opener, curled into the top corner from 20 yards, should have been the launchpad to a good afternoon.

Joe Newell had the run of the place, Ryan Williams was stretching defenders on the opposite flank and Crewe looked every bit like the League Two strugglers they are.

Will Vaulks' trademark somersault after opening the scoring at Crewe.

Warne's hunch that the disallowing of Rotherham's second "goal" right on half time might give the home side a lift proved correct.

Amidst a lot of confusion, Kieffer Moore's header was chalked off for a foul before the corner was swung in.

Harsh? Maybe, but no excuse for the way the Millers allowed their opponents to come back into it after half time.

It was all too easy for Brad Walker to steal in and plant a free header past Richard O'Donnell two minutes after the restart. "Unacceptable," said Warne.

Lifted by the goal, Crewe found an extra yard and an extra gear. They won the 50-50s, had more purpose and desire and did most of the pressing.

The struggling David Ball was hooked, as was Williams, but Rotherham still had chances to get themselves out of a tight corner. Vaulks clipped the bar and Moore's glancing header demanded a fine reflex save from Dave Richards.

Kieffer Moore's disallowed goal at Crewe

They should have had enough about them to close outthe match and bank a replay but when Callum Ainley beat the hesitant O'Donnell to a ball forward to stab in the 89th minute decider, even that consolation was snatched away. David Artell, Crewe's Rotherham-born manager, was the happiest man in the ground.

The Millers are far from a bad side, as their league position suggests, but they need to be better than this.

PLAYER RATINGS

Richard O'Donnell 5, Shaun Cummings 6, Josh Emmanuel 5, Richard Wood 6, Semi Ajayi 5, Ryan Williams 6, Darren Potter 5, Will Vaulks 7, Joe Newell 6, David Ball 5, Kieffer Moore 6

Subs: Jon Taylor for Williams (62) 6, Richie Towell for Ball (69) 5, Michael Ihiekwe for  Wood (83). Not used: Marek Rodak, Anthony Forde, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Jerry Yates


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