Barnet 1 Rotherham United 1: Match Report

Barnet FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 3rd March 2012 - Ben Pringle fires home United's equaliser on his return to the side
Barnet FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 3rd March 2012 - Ben Pringle fires home United's equaliser on his return to the side
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WHEN the dressing room door is shut and no-one emerges for about half an hour, then you can imagine a few words might be flying around.

When the Millers personnel did finally emerge it was pretty obvious that, whatever had been going off, they hadn’t been reading poetry to each other.

After the opening month of the season, pats on the back have been in fairly short supply by and large. They might have earned some for the second half up the slope at Underhill but, to put it in context, it was rather like the Millers have been all season - not quite good enough.

Yes, they might have suggested they are at times but amidst all the chopping and changing, be it self-inflicted or otherwise, they have fallen away after a promising start and, unless they suddenly start plucking 90-minute performances from somewhere, we’ll soon stop mentioning it. Yes, the play-offs - a little phrase that at least keeps a season alive.

Perhaps the in-house, after-match ‘inquest’ was borne out of yet more frustration but also a recognition that this might be the day when we all realised ‘it’ wasn’t going to happen.

Yes, it still can. You can always cling to some hope in football and it often starts ‘who knows?’ But it is getting harder to convince - and on this first-half evidence, no chance at all. End of!

Millers followers would love to be a fly on the wall at times like this, of course. I’ve seen managers emerge from dressing room bust-ups with a persona and words that would have you believe all was sweetness and light and they’d all being doing the hokey-cokey.

So, whilst we can all imagine what might go off and we’ve all heard tales of flying tea cups in dressing rooms, what was going on inside the sacred inner sanctum?

No doubt we’d have loved tasty titbits about rows and raised voices. Andy Scott, not ducking the question, offered his view.

“It was the first time everyone has had their say,” said Scott.

“It wasn’t just one way. We opened it up - we do - but this was the first time that people have spoken up.

“Players had a say; those who did not come on had a say; those on the sidelines had a say. And what we’re all seeing ... it’s not different.

“Hopefully it’s broken a bit of a barrier, to get things out in the open. But everyone was of the same opinion and we know where we are going wrong.

“There were some home truths. Let’s all be honest, say what you think.

“There was nothing more sinister than an honest discussion on what is going on.”

He went on: “I want to know because it’s clearly not working in spells in a game and I want to know why and want to know what’s their perspective.

“We (staff) gave ours and we want to know theirs.”

Understandably Scott was unhappy at the first-half display.

“The tempo in the first half was as if we’d just run a marathon; then look at the second half. We can do it but not often enough and how many times have we said that?” he commented.

“It’s no good saying it’s one or two individuals because we have all been affected by it. The players on the pitch who may be the winners are the ones that can do it but are being affected by those who can’t.

“It’s up to them (the winners) to grab the others and make sure they do it. If they don’t, then you have to get rid of them from within; you’ve got to cut disease out from the inside. That’s got to come from those who want to be here, want to be successful and want to be winners.”

He went on: “I’m here to be a winner and I’m not going to surround myself with people who don’t want to be winners - who only want it every now and again.

“What’s wrong with winning?

“I want people winning at everything ... a game of pool, a game of darts, a race or beating their time in a sprint. Train your brain to win.”

He said if he needed to make changes between now and then end of the season - “to see who wants it” - then he would.

“If people aren’t happy with me, come and see me, have an argument with me, I don’t mind and I’ll tell them exactly why they’re not playing and show them the videos,” he said.

“The fans watch it like we do and that’s what they don’t like - the first half wasn’t good enough; the second half was. They’re entitled to better.”

Mark Byrne’s seventh-minute opener - from one of those awkward, inswinging free-kicks that carries on into the net after nobody gets a head on it - was just what Barnet needed after four straight losses.

Harrison’s 20-yard volley well saved was Rotherham’s first-half best but they had other threats as well before an immediate second-half transformation going up the slope.

Ben Pringle’s neatly-taken goal (moments after a brilliant save denied Shaun Harrad) was timely and Pringle delivered some telling balls from the left.

Danny Schofield’s return to action was effective as well and Rotherham camped in Barnet’s half for 20 minutes.

Rhys Taylor’s fine one-v-one block against Izale McLeod was crucial and when Barnet were reduced to 10 men on 65 minutes after central defender Paul Downing’s second booking it appeared set up for a Millers victory.

But the dismissal seemed to really galvanise the home side who suddenly started to attack more.

The Millers still looked favourites but got no nearer than a close-range Michael Raynes header from another superb Pringle cross five minutes from time.