ROTHERHAM United’s League One campaign is still waiting for lift-off after they came off second best to an impressive Charlton Athletic at the AESSEAL New York Stadium
A goal in each half secured a deserved 2-0 win for the visitors despite referee Trevor Kettle, with whom the Millers have “previous,” seeming to miss a foul in the run-up to the second effort.
The Millers could have no complaints about trailing at half time either, even though Jamie Proctor put a super chance wide of a post and Semi Ajayi failed to work goalkeeper Ben Amos from a free header close to goal.
Tipped as automatic promotion candidates by Paul Warne, Charlton were better, quicker and stronger and deserved the lead handed to them on 15 minutes. Jake Forster-Caskey, making his return to the NYS, swung in a corner and Patrick Baeur’s header back across the box found the bottom corner. It took a flying save from Richard O’Donnell to keep out Ricky Holmes’ curler seconds before the break.
Warne’s half-time team talk would have touched on getting more support to front men Proctor and Kieffer Moore, with the pair too often left isolated by an anonymous midfield.
Ryan Williams made way for Jon Taylor at the start of the second half and young defender Josh Emmanuel, who was given a hard time by Charlton’s raiders, was sacrificed soon after.
Referee Kettle is still talked about in these parts for his hotly disupted decisions when Rotherham played Barnsley 12 years ago and he incurred the wrath of the Millers supporters again on 66 minutes.
What looked a foul on Proctor in the build-up went unpunished and, amidst loud appeals, Holmes centered for Josh Magennis to head in. Proctor was stretchered off and replaced by Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Clearly riled, Warne’s men pushed Charlton back. Ajayi forced a decent save and Joe Newell’s floated centre demanded a goalline clearance but even with the addition of nine minutes of stoppage time, they couldn’t find a reply.
The loss was their third from the opening four league games in what was always going to be a testing start. Charlton have now banked three wins four.
Millers: O'Donnell; Emmanuel (Vaulks 55) Ajayi, Ihiekwe, Mattock; Williams (Taylor 46), Potter, Frecklington, Newell; Proctor (Clarke-Harris 68), Moore
Charlton: Amos, Solly, Bauer, Pearce, Dasilva, Kashi, Forster-Caskey, Fosu, Holmes, Clarke, Magennis
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Attendance: 7,976 (520 visitors)