Gutsy Millers, the class divide, the penalty and the birthday blues as 11-minute Mickel sees red ... the story of Rotherham United 0 Brentford 2

Gutsy Millers, the class divide, the penalty and the birthday blues as 11-minute Mickel sees red ... the story of Rotherham United 0 Brentford 2

By Paul Davis | 02/12/2020

Gutsy Millers, the class divide, the penalty and the birthday blues as 11-minute Mickel sees red ... the story of Rotherham United 0 Brentford 2
A red card for Mickel Miller. Pictures by Dave Poucher.

 

SPARE a thought for Mickel Miller.

It was never part of his plan to come on as a substitute, pick up a booking within 60 seconds and then give away a penalty that saw him sent off 11 minutes after his 71st-minute arrival.

His dismissal didn't help Rotherham United's cause against one of the elite teams in the Championship but it wasn't the reason why they lost.

The Millers battled hard, gave their all, posed problems and did their best. The only problem was, Brentford's best was better.

There was no shame in defeat, just a grim, inevitable realisation that, at this level, there will be some contests, some opponents, out of the reach of Paul Warne's men.

"It was a close game, in my opinion," manager Warne said. The first goal was always going to be crucial and unfortunately it didn't go to us.

"Five months ago, Brentford nearly got promoted to the Premier League and we were playing Rochdale away. It shows how far the lads have come."

Rotherham shaded Tuesday evening's first half before last season's play-off finalists - now unbeaten in eight matches and up to fourth in the table - pulled away after the break.

"It's just a shame the game went the way it did with the penalty and sending-off," Warne said. "I don't think my lads deserved a 2-0 defeat. I'll go home and sleep very well tonight knowing that we've got a great group who want to do well.

"I'm disappointed with the result but I'm not disappointed with the performance. Brentford had that little bit of class that we didn't."

Miller might not have slept as soundly as his boss. Spare another thought for him. It was his birthday the day after the match.

THE GAME

Jamie Lindsay did what he does best, robbing the opposition of possession and sending a teammate away. Matt Crooks did what he does best, striding through the defence and letting fly.

Bees goalkeeper David Raya was equal to the 41st-minute shot in an opening period of many attacks but few chances for both sides and the Millers never came as close again.

The Millers give away the penalty

Jamal Blackman denied Marcus Forss just after the interval but was powerless on 57 minutes when the young Finn swept the ball past him.

"I thought we were really good in the first half, as good as we could be really," Warne said. "We worked really hard off the ball and limited them to very few chances.

"We created a few half-chances that, if you are going to beat the top teams, you have to take really."

After the sweet strike into the bottom corner, the Forss was always with Brentford.

Dangerman Ivan Toney was shackled well by Richard Wood and Angus MacDonald but still managed the pull-back to set up the opener before beating Blackman all ends up with his 82nd-minute spot-kick.

Miller had gone into the book for illegally checking a Brentford attack and then nudged over Sergi Canos as he chased him into the area.

"I can't remember the first one," Warne said. "No-one on our bench moaned about it so it must have been a yellow. The second one is definitely a yellow, if not a straight red because it was a goalscoring opportunity. There was enough contact for a penalty.

"I made changes. Both my wing-backs were hamstring-tight after Saturday's game so I knew I was only going to get about an hour out of them.

"I put on more attacking wing-backs but the second goal came from Mickel - bless him, he didn't have the most enjoyable substitute's appearance - and then it was game over. I thought we edged it first half and Brentford controlled the second half.

"They're a very good side. They're a very difficult team to press at the back because their goalkeeper is like a midfielder. You're pressing against all 11 players."

Bees boss Thomas Frank was an impressive figure in press conference afterwards, respectful of the Millers' efforts while still lauding the performance of his own side. "Unbelievable" is how he described the second-half display.

After last Saturday's heroic exertions against AFC Bournemouth, Rotherham, who slipped a place to 20th, just couldn't muster a response.

Michael Smith in possession

"Definitely there was an element of fatigue," Warne acknowledged. "The first goal knocks the stuffing out of us and we did look jaded in the second part of the second half.

"I have got no complaints with the result because they created better opportunities than we did. But I haven't got any complaints with my lads' effort either."

THE KEEPER

Blackman's shot-stopping is generally pretty good, but there have been as many doubts about him this season as there have been ill-judged dashes out of his goal.

However, the Chelsea loanee gave arguably his most composed performance of the season, commanding his area and inviting no criticism of his decision-making.

"I thought my goalkeeper was back to his best," Warne said. "He was really good. I am pleased for him."

Blackman will keep his place for the trip to Coventry City on Saturday but Miller will miss out as he serves a one-match ban.

His two yellows were a high price to pay for an 11-minute cameo after he'd stayed on the bench throughout the previous two matches.

Not the happiest of nights for the Millers and not the happiest of returns for the birthday boy.

Goals: Forss 57, Toney pen 82 (Brentford).

Rotherham (3-5-2): Jamal Blackman; Wes Harding, Richard Wood, Angus MacDonald; Matt Olosunde (Florian Jozefzoon 71), Matt Crooks, Jamie Lindsay (Kyle Vassell 80), Ben Wiles, Joe Mattock (Mickel Miller 71); Freddie Ladapo (George Hirst 80), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Billy Jones, Adam Thompson, Trevor Clarke, Dan Barlaser.

Brentford (4-3-3): David Raya; Tariqe Fosu, Pontus Jansson, Ethan Pinnock, Rico Henry; Mathias Jenson, Vitaly Janelt, Josh DaSilva (Emiliano Marcondes 79); Bryan Mbeumo (Sergi Canos 74), Ivan Toney (Aaron Pressley 87), Marcus Forss (Saman Ghoddos 87). Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Dominic Thompson, Mads Bech Sorensen, Fredrik Hammar, Fin Stevens.

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).




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