Millers on a roll, Reg's goal and Jamie Lindsay in the press box ... the story of Cheltenham Town 0 Rotherham United 2

Millers on a roll, Reg's goal and Jamie Lindsay in the press box ... the story of Cheltenham Town 0 Rotherham United 2

By Paul Davis | 02/10/2021

Millers on a roll, Reg's goal and Jamie Lindsay in the press box ... the story of Cheltenham Town 0 Rotherham United 2
Goal joy for Rarmani Edmonds-Green. Pictures by Jim Brailsford

JAMIE Lindsay was competing for everything.

He kicked every ball, went up for every header, never shirked a challenge.

Of course, Rotherham United's midfielder wasn't actually playing. An injury had seen to that.

But the Scot had made the long journey to Cheltenham Town anyway, so bonded to his teammates and their promotion ambitions that he couldn't stay away.

Wrapped up against the elements and his hamstring misery in a warm, black, Puma coat, he looked on from the press box, wishing he could contribute more to another victorious Rotherham United away day.

Cheltenham were no mugs, but the Millers are looking more and more like Championship contenders with each passing week.

They had the better of a first half in which both sides looked like they could score yet didn't, then eased away in the second when the strength of their depth became frighteningly apparent.

Manager Paul Warne was utterly respectful of hard-working, well-organised opposition making a decent fist of their first season in League One but was right when he said it could have finished 5-1 to his side.

"We deserved the win," he said. "I always want perfection and thought we were a little sloppy at times, but generally our overall play was good, We had ten attempts on target and their goalkeeper kept them in it.

"We had to be patient. Cheltenham are a well-coached team. They’d played only four games at home before today and beaten Oxford, drawn with MK Dons, beaten Ipswich and lost to Wycombe. They are four ridiculously tough games.

"We told the lads not to turn up and think it would be easy. Every team ask you questions. Today our quality came through in the last half an hour."

Saturday's triumph moved Rotherham to fourth in the table, only two points away from top spot, and extended their unbeaten run to five matches. No other team in the division have created more chances or kept more clean sheets.

Not a bad way to head into the international break.

THE MATCH

The boss was looking for a quick getaway afterwards so he could get back in time for Strictly.

He'd already witnessed plenty of nifty movement because some of his team's play was as slick as the surface greased by the incessant rain that coated the picturesque, hillside backdrop of the Jonny-Rocks Stadium in a grey, murky gloom.

At times, the Millers attacked with intent; at others, they defended with discipline, leaving Viktor Johansson with only one real save to make. By the end, they had taken full control.

Cheltenham's Rotherham-born goalkeeper, Scott Flinders, ensured it was goalless at the break by keeping out Michael Smith's stooping header and producing a flying save to deny Ollie Rathbone after a flowing move involving him, Ben Wiles and Will Grigg had shredded the home defence.

Will Grigg scores

Conor Thomas, set free on goal by Richard Wood's only slip of the match, should have scored for the Robins but didn't. Ditto Kieran Sadlier for the Millers when Rathbone picked him out for a back-post header.

Grigg and fellow loanee Rarmani Edmonds-Green would fare better in the second half.

"We had a couple of good efforts early on and just needed that first goal," Warne said. "I was looking forward to half-time so I could reiterate to the lads not to go away from our game-plan.

"We asked them to get the ball out of the middle quicker, get it wide and go for the one v one. In the end we came away with a clean sheet and a good 2-0 win."

Meanwhile, Lindsay, who doesn't take at all kindly to being injured, continued to watch proceedings intently, his face as dark and mean as the clouds overhead.

He'd parked himself and his chair right in the middle of the press-box door, meaning nobody could get past him, which is just how he likes his game of football to be.

Six minutes after the restart came the breakthrough. Dan Barlaser shot, Flinders' wet hands couldn't keep hold of the ball and Grigg poached his second goal in two outings from all of half a yard right in front of the travelling Rotherham faithful.

Ferguson shot from distance soon afterwards, forcing a sprawling save from Flinders who then kept out Smith's follow-up attempt.

Cheltenham's man of the match could do nothing on 75 minutes, however, when Smith teed up Edmonds-Green who arrowed a shot from more than 20 yards straight into the bottom corner.

Between the goals, Rotherham had made a double substitution, bringing on two speeding spitfires in Chiedozie Ogbene and Mickel Miller. You almost felt sorry for Cheltenham.

The home side, tired after their midweek trek to Sunderland and back, wearied by the Millers' front-foot ferocity, had been buckling. Now they broke.

"I knew they would make it difficult for us and they did," said Warne. "They caused us problems on the counter-attack. "I also knew, though, that if we kept playing and moved the ball a bit quicker that physically we might just be able to out-power them.

"We are fortunate we can take off both wing-backs and put on Chieo and Mickel - two incredible athletes as well as good footballers."

Wiles could have added a third after a searing Ogbene break, Johansson handed Taylor Perry a late opportunity and immediately redeemed himself with a full-stretch stop while Smith passed straight into Flinders' hands in stoppage time when his eighth goal of the season was beckoning.

Mickel Miller on the run

Warne was heading for the coach to make his date with the dancing even faster than his subs had scorched up and down their flanks.

"Those two just added a bit more pace to our play," the manager said. "In the end, we were the better team and were deserving of the win."

REG'S GOAL

Edmonds-Green's finish was like the weather: pure filth.

The young centre-back, given an affectionate nickname because of his initials, has overcome a difficult start to his Millers career and capped a run of impressive displays with his first goal for the club.

"Reg has been 'ledg' for us," said Warne. "He is a hugely popular lad in the dressing room and the happiest kid in the world.

"As soon as he hit it I thought it had a right chance. To beat this keeper today it had to be right in the corner. It went in and he can be well pleased with himself.

"We wanted to get nine points from the last three games and we've got seven, Ironically, the match we drew (against Crewe Alexandra) was our best performance of the three.

"I am really pleased with the lads. We're on at them all the time. They are desperate to win every time they play. The atmosphere is electric in the dressing room."

Someone else was pleased too.

After the final whistle, I turned to my left, where the press-box exit was still blocked, and it was as if the sun had suddenly come out on the foulest day of the season.

Jamie Lindsay was smiling.

Cheltenham (4-4-2): Scott Flinders; Matty Blair, Sean Long, Mattie Pollock, Lewis Freestone; Conor Thomas, Dylan Barkers, Liam Sercombe (Ellis Chapman 81), Taylor Perry;  Kyle Joseph (Kyle Vassell 74), Alfie May (Christian Norton 81). Subs not used: Owen Evans, Andy Williams, Elliot Bonds, Grant Horton.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Richard Wood, Michael Ihiekwe; Kieran Sadlier (Chiedozie Ogbene 67), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone, Shane Ferguson (Mickel Miller 67); Will Grigg (Freddie Ladapo 77), Michael Smith. Unused subs: Josh Vickers, Wes Harding, Hakeem Odoffin, Joshua Kayode.

Goals: Grigg 51, Edmonds-Green 75 (Rotherham).

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Attendance: 3,748 (732).


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