MATCHDAY CENTRE: Home failings return to hurt Millers

THE day when many had a feeling that Rotherham United might get something and finally end their near three-month wait for a win came to nothing.

An 11th league defeat, their eighth in the last nine, gave precious little to get enthused about because it was as poor as many in Alan Stubbs' brief era.

After the mild encouragement of the Reading and Ipswich games, it came as a surprise, not just to the supporters but to Kenny Jackett himself.

If he didn't know already, he has got a big job on his hands and the problems he's got are deep-seated and not of his own making.

Richard Wood's second-half header on Saturday raised brief hopes of a point and Preston briefly wobbled. That apart, the rest of the match showed up the all too familiar defensive failings — the inability to track runners or stop crosses, the lack of pressure on the ball and the absence of conviction or alertness in the 18-yard box.

The Millers were cut to ribbons at times and with more composure Preston could have been five or six. They'll not pocket an easier three points.

Jackett hooked the ineffective Dominic Ball and Dexter Blackstock at half time for Greg Halford and Peter Odemwingie.

The former Premier League man showed rare glimpses of quality capped by the deft ball in for Wood's goal and he'll surely be in contention to partner Danny Ward at Derby in a fortnight's time.

Collectively the Millers didn't have the ideas, variety or cohesion in attack to unsettle a Preston side typically well drilled by Simon Grayson and fresh from good results against Aston Villa, Huddersfield and Norwich. They are now within touching distance of the play-off frame.

The chances of the 100th league game at the New York Stadium ending with a positive result were extinguished in the first half by headers from Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson.

Starved of decent service, top scorer Ward was the only player to work visiting goalkeeper Chris Maxwell and even when the Millers were offered a route back into it just before the interval, Jon Taylor sprayed over from an angle.

Rotherham committed more men forward from the restart and although there was an improvement, it wasn't a big one.

Robinson, revelling in the space offered him, could have scored twice before Wood's 71st minute reply put the match back in the balance.

There were a couple of bouts of penalty area mayhem and the Millers had some momentum but when Daniel Johnson's defence-scattering run set up substitute Marnik Vermijl to finish off at the back post, it was game over.