A STOPPAGE time goal sunk Rotherham United just as they were on the verge of a deserved point at strugglers Wigan Athletic.
The Millers twice led through Danny Ward and Anthony Forde in a scrappy match at the DW Stadium before being pegged back to 2-2. But when goalkeeper Lewis Price gave a free-kick away just outside the 18-yard box, Nick Powell thrashed it in to make it 3-2 and sentence Rotherham to a tenth straight defeat in what was Paul Warne’s first match in permanent charge.
The clash between the Championship’s bottom two looked every bit like a League One fixture, which it could well be next season.
The lack of confidence and quality on the pitch was shown after only six minutes when Latics keeper Jakob Haugaard, under pressure, made a hash of a clearance but Ward couldn’t turn the ball into an open goal.
Ward hadn’t scored a league goal since netting in the win over Wigan at Christmas but he put that right after a rare piece of good play on 29 minutes. Forde, Carlton Morris, Joe Newell and Darnell Fisher combined neatly down the right and Ward was on hand to steer in his 11th of the season from close range.
Danny Ward can't believe his early miss.
Desperate for a win to close the seven-point gap to safety, Wigan equalised five minutes later when Ryan Colclough teed up Gabriel Obertan to fire in from ten yards and although they pressed up to half time, the final pass was missing.
Rotherham went back in front on the hour when Haugaard spilled Forde’s speculative shot and the keeper atoned with a finger-tip save from Morris moments later.
It proved important as the home side took advantage minutes, Alex Gilbey applying the finishing touch to a breakaway.
Both sides went for it in the latter stages and Lewis Price denied Gilbey a second before Ward passed up another great chance, firing at the legs of Haugaard, before Powell had the final say.
Wigan: Haugaard, Power (Morsy 53), Gilbey, Burn, MacDonald, Morgan, Warnock, Hanson, Colclough, Obertan
Millers: Price; Fisher, Mattock, Ajayi, Wood (Belaid 72); Forde (Clarke-Harris 85), Smallwood, Vaulks, Newell (Taylor 78); Morris, Ward
Referee: S. Duncan
Attendance: 10,085 (412 visitors)