WHEN new boy Richie Towell fired home a stunning last-minute winner for Rotherham United against Bury, the joy around the AESSEAL New York Stadium was almost tangible.
Towell, a deadline day signing from Brighton, smashed in an 89th minute winner to secure the 3-2 victory and send the Millers faithful crazy.
It was a feeling fans, and perhaps even the players and staff, had almost forgotten after last season’s dismal campaign.
And while the goal brought back a sense that the good old days may return to the NYS, it also might only have glossed over a few cracks which need to be noted.
Warne himself said in his post-match press conference that he thought his side were on the “precipice of being great,” but in the same breath admitted he didn’t think the players knew how good can they can be.
Towell and Jon Taylor celebrate late winner
He also went on to say he thought there was still “psychological scarring” from last season’s bottom-of-the-table finish.
He summed it up perfectly and there were issues that needed addressing.
As good as the Millers were, Bury were poor. They had the look of a side who had signed more than 20 players in the summer transfer window and their cause wasn’t helped when manager Lee Clark was sent to the stands at half time.
But Warne will have been keen to speak to winger Jon Taylor and skipper Lee Frecklington.
While managers often say missed chances aren’t a concern — quoting a lack of them being created as their main issue — Bury almost made the Millers pay for missing theirs.
Taylor was guilty of missing a glorious opportunity to make it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark.
He rounded the keeper before firing into the side netting and within seconds Jermaine Beckford headed an equaliser.
Then at 2-0, midfielder Frecklington was somehow unable to pick out a team-mate after getting in behind the Bury defence. Just as in the first-half, the visitors made Rotherham pay when Nathan Cameron equalised with a diving header.
It might seem picky after a great win in front of a vocal home support but against stronger opponents, chances like that could cost all three points.
While Towell rightly took the headlines and acclaim, most of the noise from the Millers’ end was in support of one man in particular.
Ipswich loanee Kieffer Moore once again led the line on his own. The 6 ft 5 in striker never seemed to lose a header and also bagged his fifth and sixth goals of the season.
Taylor in action in Bury win
His first of the game came after stopping a high ball dead before slotting home, and the second was what is becoming a trademark back-post header.
One of the loudest cheers of the afternoon came when he emerged on the sidelines to a hero’s reception after having stitches to a cut.
His tireless, selfless efforts went a long way to secure back-to-back wins for the Millers for the first time since April 2016.
A great victory, courtesy of a last minute winner and a sign of a return to happier times — but only a sign. There’s plenty of work still do.
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