NEW season, new hope, same old story.
Paul Warne called Saturdays' 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood a "rude awakening" for some of his players and maybe that also applied to many of the 1,100 travelling supporters who travelled to the Fylde Coast with big expectations.
League One remains as tough a nut to crack as ever. Fleetwood, last year's play-off contenders, know their way around it and how to get results. This weekend's opponents, Southend United, are cut from similar cloth.
Forget the pre-season victories, they count for naff all when the serious stuff begins.
Rotherham start from zero just like the rest of them and Warne, wary of the many pitfalls, expects setbacks along the way.
Rotherham new boy David Ball up against his former club
He asked people not to judge the team on the first game and that's just as well. There were too many stray passes, too many long balls and not enough cohesion and pattern to the team's play.
Urged on by the wily Uwe Rosler, Fleetwood mixed their game up better and in number ten Conor McAleny, their new signing from Everton, they had a two-goal match winner.
While he filled David Ball's boots with aplomb, the Millers' new signing struggled to get into the game. Plenty others had off days too, failing to make headway despite their opponents leaving the kind of space rarely that were rarely allowed by Championship opponents.
It wasn't the type of hopeless defeat Rotherham used to suffer so regularly in the second tier. Fleetwood were nowhere near as convincing and if Lee Frecklington's early "goal" hadn't been ruled out by a debatable offside decision then the afternoon might have turned out differently.
Goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell might have done better with the goals, but there were echoes of last season in the way the defenders' failure to keep the ball out of the 18-yard box on both occasions.
Even though Will Vaulks and Ball went close to capitalising on a decent spell in the second half, the post came to Rotherham's rescue from Jordy Hiwula's shot.
Chairman Tony Stewart, sat behind the press box, was as frustrated as anyone but at this stage patience is needed.
Warne is determined not to get too euphoric about wins or too down about defeats, unlike some of the doom merchants on social media.
Tomorrow's Carabao Cup clash with Lincoln City is a welcome chance to make changes, with Ryan Williams and Darren Potter, ill for this one, pressing for a proper run in the middle of the park.
That tie probably assumes a little bit more significance now.
READ: Former Millers stopper signs for Main
Richard O'Donnell 5, Josh Emmanuel 5, Semi Ajayi 5, Michael Ihiekwe 6, Joe Mattock 5, Jon Taylor 5, Will Vaulks 6, Lee Frecklington 5, Anthony Forde 5, David Ball 5, Jamie Proctor 5
Subs: Kieffer Moore for Ball (67) 6, Joe Newell for Forde (71), Ryan Williams for Taylor (83). Not used: Laurence Bilboe, Ben Purrington, Darren Potter, Jerry Yates.
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