ANALYSIS: Millers enjoying the League One ride

By David Beddows | 09/10/2017

ANALYSIS: Millers enjoying the League One ride
Richard Wood heads the only goal of the game at Rochdale.

A RAINY day in Rochdale was as big a reminder as any that the Championship days are over, for a season at least.

But forget Villa Park, Hillsborough, Elland Road and the rest, Rotherham United have had their fill of being second class citizens and are now enjoying their football again.

Six wins from the last eight, another clean sheet and a sudden rise to fourth in the table are the headline statistics of the turn-around under Paul Warne.

The Millers can handle themselves in League One alright and they're even adding another string to their bow, the art of winning ugly.

Warne's men not only bunkered down at Spotland to keep a clean sheet for the second successive Saturday, they also managed to do something that no team has managed in more than seven hours of football, namly score against Keith Hill's side.

Only Rotherham's second away win since April 2016, it was however the second in the last four. Factor in the rock solid home form and Rotherham suddenly have momentum, something they've not had in a long time.

Richard Wood's determination to get in where it hurts to head in the only goal of the game from Anthony Forde's corner 12 minutes into the second half separated two evenly matched sides.

But with Darren Potter calming things, Richie Towell sniping in the midfield and Ryan Williams a constant, free-running menace, the Millers had that little bit of extra quality around the park.

Celebrations after the Millers' goal. Pictures: KERRIE BEDDOWS

They also had the legs and the staying power, typified by Williams late on when he sprinted half the length of the field to foil a Rochdale attack.

The early retirement of injured skipper Lee Frecklington seemed a bad omen. The threat posed by beefy Dale forward Steven Davies was another worry and his first-half snap shot from distance very nearly caught out Richard O'Donnell.

Even though Frecklington's stand-in, Will Vaulks, and Towell demanded good stops from Josh Lillis and Anthony Forde snatched at a good chance, the half-time score was fair.

Stand-in skipper Wood's breakthrough preceded another close shave when Davies hit the bar and Wood passed up a decent chance to net a second from Potter's centre.

Darren Potter puts his boot through the ball.

Warne said he would have taken a point before kick off. Thanks to Rotherham's resilience, an important block by Moore from Ian Henderson and a bad miss from Dale substitute Bradden Inman in stoppage time, he and the 1,200 travelling supporters had the bonus of three.

October often brings fears of a long, hard winter for the the Millers. Not this time.

PLAYER RATINGS

Richard O'Donnell 8, Shaun Cummings 7, Joe Mattock 7, Michael Ihiekwe 7, Richard Wood 8, Darren Potter 8, Richie Towell 7, Anthony Forde 7, Lee Frecklington, Ryan Williams 8, Kieffer Moore 7

Subs: Will Vaulks for Frecklington (4) 7, Semi Ajayi for Forde (87), Jonson Clarke-Harris for Moore (90). Not used: Lewis Price, Josh Emmanuel, David Ball, Jerry Yates