Ten men, seven bookings, only one Robert Madley ... the story of Rotherham United 2 Blackburn Rovers 2

Two yellows in a minute and the end of the game for Rotherham United's Fred Onyedinma against Blackburn Rovers. Pictures: Jim BrailsfordTwo yellows in a minute and the end of the game for Rotherham United's Fred Onyedinma against Blackburn Rovers. Pictures: Jim Brailsford
Two yellows in a minute and the end of the game for Rotherham United's Fred Onyedinma against Blackburn Rovers. Pictures: Jim Brailsford
FRED Onyedinma was smiling and attempting to share a joke with the referee.

The winger had just opened his account for Rotherham United and his side were now two goals to the good against Blackburn Rovers and in control of the contest.

AESSEAL New York Stadium, staging its first league match of the season, was aglow. He, the Millers, the fans were in a happy place.

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Then ... welcome to the crazy, calamitous world of new rules and Robert Madley.

Onyedinma, having been felled and awarded a foul, light-heartedly made a yellow-card signal to the official as he was climbing off the deck.

Madley made a more serious yellow-card signal of his own. As Fred had just been booked for daring to celebrate his goal with the crowd, the loanee was now dismissed and Rotherham were down to ten men for the second time in the opening two matches of their Championship campaign.

"I've got every emotion known to man," said manager Matt Taylor. "I'm frustrated, proud, disappointed. At least we got something out of the match. It's so difficult to sum up what happened across the course of the game."

How about this for a timeline:

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Minute 48: Onyedinma converts Cafu's free-kick with a diving header in front of a heaving North Stand.

Minute 49: The scorer receives his first caution for sharing his delight with spectators.

Minute 50: Said scorer is trooping disconsolately back to the dressing room.

Minute 51: Taylor is booked for a public show of displeasure sparked by the unfairness of it all.

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Minute 55: Viktor Johansson is yellow-carded for pointing out a victory-costing injustice that we'll get to later.

Minute 56: It's assistant boss Wayne Carlisle's turn to go into the book.

"When it came to that quick succession of events, we went from emotion and jubilation to trying to block up space against a team who move the ball better than most sides in this league." Taylor said.

Referee Robert Madley was booed off at the end

"Considering Blackburn scored their equaliser fairly early, you'd take a point. But we are gutted we have not taken more out of the game based on the first hour."

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In his anger, the manager and former centre-half had taken an industrial swipe at a water bottle lurking inadvertently by his side in the technical area.

"I kicked it with my left foot so it didn't go where I wanted it to," he said. "It probably went about two yards." He almost grinned. But not quite.

"It's incredible the officials saw that but not the ball not going out of play for one of Blackburn's goals in terms of a corner being given," he added.

This season, the EFL aren't tolerating time-wasting and gamesmanship, which is a worthy ideal in principle but, so far, isn't working  well in practice. A well-intentioned crackdown is having a crackpot effect.

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"I don't feel the referee quite understood the moment and then the magnitude of that decision to send off Fred," Taylor said.

"The first yellow after our second goal is my biggest frustration. People talk long and hard about footballers not having personality and emotion and it not mattering enough.

"We have gone 2-0 up and Fred has scored his first goal. He is walking and the rest of the team in their celebration have pushed him towards the stands. He has not gone into the stand.

"He has just hugged whoever was sitting there at the front. I can guarantee whoever was sitting there in and around that area will have wanted that moment and wanted that connection with my group of players.

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"Can I discipline the players for that moment? I don't think I can. Football is going in a strange direction. I know they are trying to make it a better product but I am not sure it is at the moment. I think it's actually gone the other way."

In applying the letter of the law, the ref ignored the spirit of the game. Those few minutes when he was running around like a Madley Hatter aren't what football is supposed to be.

There were seven Millers cautions in total on Saturday, none of them for fouls.

Amid all this, a game was trying to take place. Blackburn started well and Rotherham had a huge let-off when Sammie Szmodics hit the woodwork with a 15th-minute penalty awarded when Cameron Humphreys made contact with Joe Rankin-Costello.

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The Millers, snapping, sniping and looking far better than they had in defeat at Stoke City a week earlier, took the lead eight minutes later when Hakeem Odoffin did what he'd done against the same opponents last season.

Remember that spectacular South Stand January ripper? Same end, same strike, same outcome this time around.

Hakeem Odoffin puts the Millers in front

Onyedinma headed in and then headed off before Madley made his biggest and most telling mistake of his rotten afternoon by failing to enforce the EFL's edicts consistently.

He'd cautioned Rotherham new boy Dexter Lembikisa for booting the ball away. Now, when Szmodics did it, the Blackburn man, already on a booking, went unchecked. Johansson's yellow came for highlighting it.

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It was Szmodics who went on to score twice in three minutes to level the scores and leave the depleted Millers desperately hanging on.

Johansson marked his 100th appearance for the club with a superb stop to keep out Harry Pickering's long-range attempt and held on to Sam Gallagher's stoppage-time header. Between those saves, Niall Ennis volleyed just over from close range and Pickering shot wide when he should have hit the target.

"I understand what they (the EFL) are trying to do but they need to understand the game," Taylor said. "The reason people come to watch football and their hometown club is because of the love and passion and what the game is.

"I have seen a whole host of yellow cards given for very little, I have seen moments that have changed games in terms of sendings-off and decisions leading up to goals. We're not in a better place."

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In the media suite afterwards, the manager, usually so sure of himself, was ill at ease, agitated, fighting his inner turmoil as he tried to make sense of the mess he'd just witnessed.

Fred's goal glee seemed a distant memory. "I have not enjoyed the first two games of the season," Taylor lamented. "I really haven't."

Meanwhile, the bottle he'd kicked had lain on the touchline turf for ages, making no attempt to move out of the way.

God knows how it escaped a booking.

Rotherham (4-3-3): Viktor Johansson; Dexter Lembikisa (Tolaji Bola 81), Cameron Humphreys, Tyler Blackett; Cohen Bramall; Cafu (Sean Morrison 61), Ollie Rathbone (Ciaran McGuckin 89), Hakeem Odoffin; Ben Wiles (Josh Kayode 89), Jordan Hugill (Georgie Kelly 61), Fred Onyedinma. Subs not used: Dillon Phillips, Jamie McCart, Josh Ayres.

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Blackburn (4-2-3-1): Aynsley Pears; Joe Rankin-Costello, Hayden Carter, Dominic Hyam, Harry Pickering; Lewis Travis (Callum Brittain 57), Adam Wharton (John Buckley 90+5); Dilan Markanday (Ryan Hedges 57), Sammie Szmodics, Tyrhys Dolan (Sam Gallagher 68); Harry Leonard (Niall Ennis 57). Subs not used: Leopold Wahlstedt, Sondre Trondstad, Scott Wharton, Jake Garrett.

Goals: Odoffin 23, Onyedinma 48 (Rotherham); Szmodics 75, 78 (Blackburn).

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 10,828 (1,916).