SKIPPER Lee Frecklington’s first goal of the season helped relegated Rotherham United sign off a poor campaign with a creditable draw at home to Derby County.
Frecklington’s strike midway through the second half had Paul Warne’s side scenting a rare victory over the Rams and they had chances to increase their lead before Tom Ince made it 1-1 from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.
The result continued the Millers’ improved late-season run and they bid farewell to the Championship on the back of a run of six points from five games.
There was nothing at stake for either team and it showed in a dull and lifeless first half.
Unchanged from the side which drew at Preston last week, Rotherham succeeded in nullifying the talent in the Derby ranks and it took until five minutes before half time for the visitors to plant their first serious shot on goal, through Ince. Jon Taylor put an early chance straight at goalkeeper Scott Carson before retiring injured while Jonson Clarke-Harris might have done better when a mistake left him a clear run to goal.
The match perked up in the second and Rotherham gained in confidence.
Clarke-Harris’s chest-off freed up Tom Adeyemi for a drive straight at Carson before the breakthrough came on 67 minutes. Joe Mattock whipped in an excellent cross and Frecklington was on hand to mop up at the far post.
Rotherham had two good chances to double the advantage, with Carson saving at the feet of Adeyemi before Clarke-Harris selfishly chose to go it alone rather than play in his team-mate in one threatening break.
It proved costly seven minutes from time. Clarke-Harris clipped Ince and Derby’s top scorer sent Richard O’Donnell the wrong way from the penalty spot.
The strike lifted the visitors and it took good saves by O’Donnell from substitute Nick Blackman and Bradley Johnson to make sure of point before a rather subdued lap of honour from the Millers players brought the curtain down on a season everyone will want to forget.
Millers: O'Donnell; Fisher, Ajayi, Wood, Mattock; Frecklington, Smallwood, Vaulks, Taylor (Purrington 14, Bailey-King 76); Adeyemi, Clarke-Harris
Derby: Carson, Baird, Keogh, Pearce, Olsson, Butterfield, Bryson (Hughes 46), Johnson, Ince, Russell Bent 57), Nugent (Blackman 78)
Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire)
Attendance: 10,763 (2,595 visitors)
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