Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 3 Rotherham United 2

Rotherham United's Anthony Wordsworth back heels into the goal but he was given offside.  Picture by Dan Westwell
Rotherham United's Anthony Wordsworth back heels into the goal but he was given offside. Picture by Dan Westwell
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Fine margins. Everyone talks about them in the Championship.

Last night they cost Rotherham United dear.

Rotherham United's Anthony Wordsworth celebrates his goal with Paul Green.''Picture by Dan Westwell

Rotherham United's Anthony Wordsworth celebrates his goal with Paul Green.''Picture by Dan Westwell

The Millers were 3-2 down as the game moved into time added on when a clever back-heeled finish from Anthony Wordsworth looked to have earned them a draw.

Offside, said the referee.

Without the benefit of seeing a replay, that looked a very, very close call.

It meant a crazy, topsy-turvy last 15 minutes went the way of the home side who probably saved the job of manager Dougie Freedman with their first Championship win of the season.

Bolton Wanderers v Rotherham United'English League Football - Sky Bet Championship'Macron Stadium, Bolton, England.'16th September 2014''Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan is beaten by Rotherham United's Anthony Wordsworth from a free kick.''Picture by Dan Westwell (PLEASE BYLINE)''dan.westwell@btinternet.com'07793 733140

Bolton Wanderers v Rotherham United'English League Football - Sky Bet Championship'Macron Stadium, Bolton, England.'16th September 2014''Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan is beaten by Rotherham United's Anthony Wordsworth from a free kick.''Picture by Dan Westwell (PLEASE BYLINE)''dan.westwell@btinternet.com'07793 733140

Joe Mason put Bolton 2-1 ahead in the 80th minute, Jordan Bowery equalised for Rotherham with his second goal in two games two minutes later and within another two minutes Mason completed his hat-trick.

It went end to end after that and both teams could have scored, but the offside decision was the big talking point.

Earlier, things had seemed to be going just the way Rotherham wanted them to.

Bolton, low on confidence and flair, had started urgently but the visitors played their way into the game and within 20 minutes the first boos from the home crowd could be heard.

Bolton Wanderers v Rotherham United'English League Football - Sky Bet Championship'Macron Stadium, Bolton, England.'16th September 2014''Rotherham United goalkeeper Adam Collin goes up for a corner in injury time and gets booked for this challenge on Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan who received lengthy treatment.''Picture by Dan Westwell (PLEASE BYLINE)''dan.westwell@btinternet.com'07793 733140

Bolton Wanderers v Rotherham United'English League Football - Sky Bet Championship'Macron Stadium, Bolton, England.'16th September 2014''Rotherham United goalkeeper Adam Collin goes up for a corner in injury time and gets booked for this challenge on Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan who received lengthy treatment.''Picture by Dan Westwell (PLEASE BYLINE)''dan.westwell@btinternet.com'07793 733140

Wanderers are a struggling side and their fans, used to to their team being a Premier League force only a few seasons ago, are struggling to watch their slide.

On 32 minutes Matt Mills was penalised just outside the area as he grappled with Matt Derbyshire. Bolton complained about the decision to the point where names almost went in the book, but it looked a free-kick to me.

Up stepped Wordsworth. Poetry in motion as he placed a lovely left-foot finish from 22 yards past Andrew Lonergan’s despairing outstretched left hand.

The near-1,500-strong band of vocal Millers followers at the opposite end of the ground went ballistic. Everywhere else in the impressive Macron Stadium, the boos were growing louder as the home side looked there for the taking.

The atmosphere had changed from those optimistic opening minutes. As the night crept in the mood darkened along with it, and as Tim Ream hammered a cross needlessly out of play the disapproval reached a crescendo.

“You’re getting sacked in the morning,” sang the Rotherham fans and Bolton boss Freedman cut a desolate figure in the technical area.

Not now he isn’t. For how things changed in the second half.

Wanderers are sponsored by Macron, Italian manufacturers of stylish sportswear, but it was the finising of Mason, not his outfit which made him look good.

He buried a shot into the bottom right-hand corner after 60 minutes and then directed a well-placed header past Adam Collin to put his team 2-1 in front.

His third?

That owed less to good finishing than to an error by Collin who came for a ball he should have caught and instead punched it weakly straight at the Wanderers’ hitman.

Millers’ boss Steve Evans sent on three strikers in Alex Revell, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jordan Bowery in the second half in a bid to win the match, but Bolton, now being roared on by the supporters who’d booed them earlier, were the ones to strike.

Rotherham began a spell of seven successive fixtures against clubs who’ve played in the Premier league last night.

Charlton are up on Saturday, then there are Ipswich, Blackburn, Norwich, Leeds and Fulham to follow.

No easy games in the Championship.

This was a decent chance to put points on the board against the worst side they have played this season and the defeat will hurt all the more for that.

Bolton: Lonergan, Ream, Mills, Dervite, Moxey; Pratley (Feeney 58), Spearing, Mark Davies (Kamara), Danns (Chung-Yong 58); Craig Davies, Mason. Subs unused: Fitzsimons, Beckford, Garvan, Hughes.

United: Collin; Richardson, Morgan, Arnason, Skarz; Wordsworth, Green, Smallwood, Taylor (Bowery 76); Becchio (Revell 56), Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris 67). Subs unused: Loach, Broadfoot, Frecklington, Pringle.