Rival boss's message to Warne, shattered men and survival out of Millers' hands ... the story of Brentford 1 Rotherham United 0

Rival boss's message to Warne, shattered men and survival out of Millers' hands ... the story of Brentford 1 Rotherham United 0

By Paul Davis | 28/04/2021

Rival boss's message to Warne, shattered men and survival out of Millers' hands ... the story of Brentford 1 Rotherham United 0
Wes Harding in action against Brentford. Picture by Jim Brailsford


"GOOD luck," said Thomas Frank.

"Thanks," replied Paul Warne. "I'll need it."

The setting was the magnificent new Brentford Community Stadium and the rival bosses passed each other on the touchline as they wandered between cameras and microphones completing their various post-match media duties.

The exchange between Denmark's and Tickhill's finest was brief but heartfelt.

Of the two, Warne had more on his mind. The headline news following his Rotherham United side's defeat against contenders for the third promotion spot is that Championship survival is no longer in the Millers' own hands.

There are only three matches left of that frenetic run-in of 12 matches in 37 days and, for the first time, they're relying on favours from Derby County to help keep them up.

Rotherham have plenty in the heart but maybe not in the tank.

"The lads are exhausted," Warne said. "A few of them are carrying injuries but they are all running, they are all desperate for success. You can hear the subs cheering the lads on. I can't knock their efforts, I can't.

"The schedule has caught up with us but we will keep going.  On another day we might have nicked one at the end. 

"If this was, say, the third game of the season and we lost 1-0 with that hearty performance I would be really proud of them. But the sad reality is we need points.

"I thought we gave a good account of ourselves but it is the time of our season where we want points and not accounts."

The Millers find themselves four points adrift of Derby with a match in hand as they head into Saturday's home clash with Blackburn Rovers and trips next week to Luton Town and Cardiff City.

Their run of narrow losses - five on the spin now at the business end of the campaign is draining them as much as the Covid-induced fixture congestion.

"If you are winning every week you feel a million dollars but when you lose you lick your wounds and they get deeper," Warne said.

“We’ve had games recently where we’ve been excellent and should have come away with points. I feel for my group and myself that we haven’t got our just rewards."


Michael Smith and Angus MacDonald sat on their haunches at the final whistle, beaten men in a beaten team.

Brentford's victory on Tuesday night had been expected and was deserved.

We've been here before this season, against Bournemouth, Norwich City Swansea City and others, where Rotherham have had a good go and simply fallen short against opposition with a larger talent pool and bigger pockets.

The Millers started well and Smith, Jamie Lindsay Richard Wood and MacDonald all had sights of goal before the Bees took a 26th-minute lead with their first chance.

Wes Harding fatally let Sergi Canos come inside and MacDonald found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, allowing Bryan Mbeumo to get in front of him and head home.

Almost immediately Chiedozie Ogbene, playing up front with Smith, had a similar opportunity at the other end but directed the ball straight at goalkeeper David Raya.

From then on, Warne's men hung in but only the profligacy of a slick, quick home side stopped the margin of triumph becoming greater.

The manager returned to the fatigue factor. "The lads have had a long season and a really torrid time," he said.  "I am absolutely shattered and I only did the team talk.

"I don't know how they are doing it. They don't give up and they keep going until the very end and for that I will always admire and respect them."

The division's top scorer, Ivan Toney, missed three opportunities to bag his 30th goal of the season between the opener and half-time and Jamal Blackman, in the net in place of concussion victim Victor Johansson, saved from Canos.

After the break, the keeper kept out a Toney header and a fierce Emiliano Marcondes shot before Rotherham almost fashioned an equaliser that would have left them still in control of their own destiny.

Michael Ihiekwe rose at the near post when Dan Barlaser crossed and the header was destined for the bottom corner until Raya intervened on the line.

"We were up against a very, very good team, the favourites to go up in the play-offs probably," Warne said. "I thought we began really brightly, but we have to take our chances. It doesn't fall for us and we snatch at the shots.

"I thought we needed a goal early on when we had pressure. They had a lot more cutting edge in the final third. I can't knock the lads' efforts box to box but Brentford were better in the boxes."

He was coiled tight in his technical area as the Millers pressed again in the dying seconds for the breakthrough that could have had a telling effect on their prospects of safety.

"Make yourself a hero," he implored.

No heroes, just a really honest bunch fighting themselves to a standstill.


"Toney cost £5 million and he will probably cost £25 million at the end of this season," said Warne, reflecting on the haves and the have-nots of the second tier.

"We are aware of what we're up against. We didn't come here in awe of any of their players. I thought for large periods we went toe to toe with them as well as we could.

"All we can do is prepare the lads, motivate the lads, encourage the lads and be there for the lads. That is what we have done. You can see their willingness and effort.

"Crystal Palace can play Manchester City and Palace can try as hard as they like but if City turn it up a gear then it is game over.

"At times in this league we play against teams who when they turn it up show why they are in the top six. That is the truth tonight."

The drop, if results go the wrong way, could come as soon as this Saturday.

If it does, it won't be because of games like this. It will be down to the many others where the Millers have been in a position to take something only to come away with nothing.

There have been 19 defeats by a single-goal margin, 13 of which have finished 1-0.

That late Ihiekwe header: close but not quite close enough. The story of the Millers' season.

Goal: Mbeumo 26 (Brentford).

Brentford (3-5-2): Luke Raya; Charlie Goode, Mads Bech Sorensen, Ethan Pinnock; Mads Roerslev, Vitaly Janelt (Mathias Jensen 89), Saman Ghoddos (Marcus Forss 73), Emiliano Marcondes, Sergi Canos (Tariqe Fosu 73); Bryan Mbeumo (Mads Bistrup 73), Ivan Toney. Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Christian Norgaard, Winston Reid, Fin Stevens, Lewis Gordon.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Jamal Blackman; Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood (Freddie Ladapo 66), Angus MacDonald; Wes Harding (Matt Olosunde 76), Lewis Wing, Jamie Lindsay (Dan Barlaser 76), Ben Wiles (Kieran Sadlier 85), Ryan Giles; Chiedozie Ogbene (George Hirst 76), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Josh Vickers, Trevor Clarke, Shaun MacDonald, Florian Jozefzoon.

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire).

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