MATCHDAY CENTRE: A case of déjà-vu at the New York

ROTHERHAM United's Championship future will probably be decided by how well they do at the New York Stadium.

It has to be a fortress, a place to gather points because of the team's brittleness on the road, not just this season but also in the couple before it.

Mulling over Saturday's latest instalment against Bristol City, manager Alan Stubbs mused that point could turn out to be an important one.

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While that may be so, it's the four that have slipped the net in the three home games so far that could yet return to haunt them.

There were many similarities in the way the Millers squandered their 2-0 leads against Wolves and City in that they were pressed back and then left clinging on, lucky not to lose.

But whereas the Wolves match was greeted with mild disappointment, the curtain came down on this one to boos, the natives clearly getting restless.

Rotherham are still too easy to get at, although the inclusion of the more defensive-minded Greg Halford and Dominic Ball in front of the back four was a move in the right direction.

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In the manager's defence, he has yet to put out his best 11. There was yet another debutant on Saturday in young Middlesbrough loanee Dael Fry, meaning yet another change to the back four.

The sooner he can hit on a settled side and get experienced campaigners like Lee Frecklington and Kirk Broadfoot, the better.

Rotherham peeled off a superb, sweet-passing first half-hour to get their noses in front against Wolves. That wasn't required on Saturday, just an awful mix-up between goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell and defender Aden Flint that left young Izzy Brown the chance to tap in his first senior goal in English football inside the first seven minutes.

The first half summed up City, suspect at the back but a real handful going forward. They fired off 14 shots and by the final whistle they'd totalled 74 per cent possession, not the best endorsement for a Rotherham side which aims to look after the ball better these days.

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The home goal led a charmed life, protected by the alertness of Lee Camp and a double block by Darnell Fisher from livewire Bobby Reid before Stubbs' men got the chance to re-group back in the dressing room.

There are not many cheap goals in the Championship and certainly none cheaper than the one which should have secured Rotherham three precious points. Halford's daisy-cutter, deflected in by the clumsy Flint, made it 2-0 and it should have been game, set and match when Danny Ward got through only to to spray his shot into the kop.

City boss Lee Johnson didn't mess about, throwing on three subs all at once and committing even more men forward and the visitors relentless attacking finally wore Rotherham down.

A silly foul by Millers sub Will Vaulks tight to the touchline surrendered the free-kick that led to Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham poking in to reduce the arrears with 16 minutes to go and when a hassled home defence failed to deal with a raking cross, Reid mopped up at the far post to ensure justice was done.


Jamie Paterson shook the post from distance and an almighty goalmouth scramble were the final acts of a frenetic and anxious afternoon.