Aldershot Town 2 Rotherham United 2: Match Report

Aldershot Town FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 30th April 2011 - It's all square as Adam Le Fondre beats the Aldershot defence to net his second
Aldershot Town FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 30th April 2011 - It's all square as Adam Le Fondre beats the Aldershot defence to net his second
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THERE would have been many Millers fans who, if they weren’t staring into the bottom of a glass as they drowned their sorrows, would have stared at the League Two table on Saturday night.

Specifically at those play-off places. And they would have been working out just how their favourites could have got in there after all.

Yes, it was all “if onlys” and “what ifs” but that’s what the disappointed fan does. And it only adds to the frustration. Yes, “if they’d...”

Rotherham had been written off although it was still mathematically possible - the phrase that fans cling to as the last vestige of hope.

But it had got even a touch harder on Friday night. That’s because Torquay’s point against Chesterfield stripped more strands off that thinning rope they were clinging to.

It meant they could now only overhaul Torquay at the DVS next Saturday by winning at Aldershot and then eating Torquay by five goals.

Anyway, you could rule that out. Gillingham couldn’t possibly lose at home to Macclesfield and Stevenage were bound to get something at Northampton, winless for what seemed like forever.

Well, at one stage late on here with Stevenage and Gillingham both trailing by two goals, there was agitation on the Millers bench. They’d heard - and if only the Millers could get a winner then they still, quite remarkably, would have a last-day sniff.

That’s all it remained. It was wafted away because they again couldn’t do what they’ve done just once in the last 13 games - and that’s win!

The thickest of dumplings could do the maths at 5 o’clock. Rotherham, in freefall for ages, could no longer cling on.

In a way, this final away game rather encapsulated some of the reasons for the freefall that we have seen on our travels.

Behind fairly early on; forced to chase a game; doing so spiritedly and contributing towards a fairly decent game.

But, ultimately, not having enough after giving themselves a deficit to chase. And, for a supposed top side, they have conceded too many away goals in this second half of the season; clean sheets a rarity.

The bright spot here was the performance of a revitalised Adam Le Fondre. He’s been pretty ineffective since January and couldn’t complain at being on the bench.

But here he looked like the player he can be. Like the player who attracted interest all over the shop a few months ago and he had the goals to go with it.

Aldershot found him a handful and he even laid claim to the first goal, having got in behind the defence onto Nick Fenton’s lofted pass and shot from a narrow angle with two defenders and Tom Pope tangling on the line. Some doubt? Up went Alf’s arm, Pope simply went and picked the ball out of the net!

It got Rotherham back in the game after a horrendous start when they were two down in 11 minutes to Anthony Charles and Peter Vincenti, the latter after a short back pass by Fenton.

In between, Le Fondre had almost equalised and, before his goal, the little striker turned provider for Liam Henderson (shot well saved) and Mark Bradley (fired just wide).

Rotherham certainly got better as the first half went on although Jamie Annerson’s excellent save from Darren Jones was crucial right on half-time.

Going down the slope, Le Fondre had already brought a full-length save by the time of the equaliser on 55 minutes.

Annerson’s long clearance drifted on and on, Le Fondre read it nicely, cutely get himself between last defender and the ball and then, utterly composed despite the hot breath on his neck from despairing defenders, he chose the exact moment to calmly lift his shot past the despairing Young.

The hat-trick might have followed. Bradley slipped him a pass, he teed the ball up and struck a volley a whisker wide.

Rotherham were well on top and Aldershot ragged but the comeback was not to be crowned by a winner and, in fact, the home side were threatening most in the final ten minutes.

It was Aldershot’s 19th draw of the season, a club record.

scott’S VIEW

WE didn’t start properly. The first 15 minutes was in a mode where there was no tempo and it allowed them to be in our half.

It’s a tough place to go without giving them two goals start. But after that we moved the ball well, started to play forward and got into areas where they struggled and got our front two on the ball and then joined in quickly.

They changed their formation because we were so dominant and in the second half I thought only one team was going to win it.

Adam Le Fondre did very well. He looked more energetic and caused them problems along with Tom Pope. I’d had a chat with Alf and he showed he’s capable of doing what we want and what benefits everyone.

He’s certainly claimed the first goal and it was important we got back in the game at that stage.