Bristol Rovers 5 Rotherham United 2 - MATCH REPORT

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THINGS went from bad to worse for Rotherham United last night with probably a footballing first into the bargain - a player who signed and was sent off on the same day!

That was the fate of the returning Guy Branston who rejoined the Millers yesterday lunchtime on loan and then was red carded early in the second half.

It was a fifth straight defeat for a side desperately seeking any sort of result to put a stop to their losing run and they were punished for yet another disastrous start and poor first half.

Branston was sent off in the 55th minute for a two-footed challenge and had barely reached the tunnel when the Millers then went 4-2 down.

Despite the last minute inclusion of two new signings into the back four, Branston and former Blades left back Jon Harley, they once again conceded early on and just past the half-hour were three down.

It all looked a very long way from Andy Scott’s pre-season statement that they were interested only in top spot and considering nothing else.

He, and they, have a slide to stop.

Yesterday’s lunchtime double arrival of both Branston and Harley was the pre-match shock with old boy Branston agreeing a three month loan from Bradford City whom he joined in the summer from Torquay.

The 32-year-old was, of course, a key member of the Rotherham side which won back-to-back promotions, in 2000 and 2001, ending in the Championship.

Harley is on a month’s loan from Notts County and will bring competition in that position. Both started with Mullins moving to right back but it barely seems to matter who is in defence, the Millers cannot stop conceding early.

For the fifth match on the trot they found themselves behind inside the opening 20 minutes and on FOUR of those occasions they have fallen behind in the opening 10 minutes.

This time the 10th minute proved fatal.

A left-side centre was whipped across, Branston sliced his clearance away and Stanley’s miscued shot fell perfectly for McGleish to finish easily.

Rotherham could have been in front by then, Evans firing just over from 18 yards.

They were almost further behind when Brown’s screamer from 30 yards thudded off the bar but they did go two down on 29 minutes.

Rendell went down as Mullins challenged him and the ref, after a pause, pointed to the spot.

There were protests before the 37-year-old McGleish firmly struck home the penalty.

Two minutes later it was even worse as central defender Bolger rose unchallenged to head in Gill’s free-kick.

The Millers looked in disarray but, thankfully, got a lift before half-time when Taylor swept home a 16 yarder from Grabban’s cross for his first of the season. They certainly needed something.

They also needed Warrington’s brave denial of Harrold straight after half-time before, on 52 minutes, it was 3-2 when Schofield struck a fine, angled 22 yarder in off the far post.

However, the lifeline was broken with Branston’s dismissal and left back Brown’s fine 25 yarder on 57 minutes with Warrington saving very well from Rendell’s header soon after.

The fifth goal, floated in by sub Anyinsah, caused the netting to collapse with Rotherham claiming that the ball went over the bar not under it.

They didn’t win that argument either.

- ROVERS: Bevan, Woodards Bolger, Sawyer, Brown, Campbell (Norburn 85), Gill, Stanley, McGleish (Anyinsah 80), Harrold (Zebroski 90), Rendell.

Unused: Smith, Richards.

- MILLERS: Warrington, Mullins, Raynes, Branston, Harley; Schofield (Marshall 60), Taylor (Pringle 72), Harrison, Evans; Revell, Grabban.

Unused: Logan, Tonge, Warne.

- Ref: Andy Woolmer (Northants).

- Attendance: 5,395.

- Goals: McGleish (10, 29 pen), Bolger (32), Brown (57), Anyinsah (87) for Rovers; Taylor (38), Schofield (52) for Millers.