MATCH REPORT: Rotherham 4 Cheltenham 2

Lee Frecklington salutes the United fans after scoring the fourth goal against Cheltenham
Lee Frecklington salutes the United fans after scoring the fourth goal against Cheltenham
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CONFESSION time. I never did much care for the big dipper on holiday. Ghost train I didn’t mind and would always have a go at the coconut shy.

But it looks like there’s no choice now. That’s because we’re all strapped in on the roller-coaster and don’t look like being able to get off it any time soon.

Looks like you’re going to scream and laugh; and even pretend you’re enjoying it and - like Saturday - you no doubt will.

It may be torture while it lasts but there’s already been plenty of thrills and stomach-churning moments. You’ve hated it and you’ve loved it at the same time.

Welcome to Millers watching. The big dipper of League Two.

Steve Evans did say, pre-season, to prepare for a roller-coaster ride. But this one has got twists and turns as well. Even some dark tunnels.

Up against a side who’ve virtually forgotten how to lose and are well organised defensively and concede few goals and what happens?

No, not the predicted tight, cagey, low-scoring affair but an open, free-flowing, attacking goal fest for 45 minutes.

Then, with everybody at half-time predicting - nay, guaranteeing - more goals, there’s a measly one right at the end.

Chuck in some feisty, combative challenges, a number sparked by frustration with refereeing decisions as much as anything, and it was a 90 minutes you couldn’t take your eyes off for a second.

You don’t close your eyes on this roller-coaster!

Actually, Rotherham defended the first corner of the game after 50 seconds as if they did have their eyes closed. It’s not very often a corner drops right in the heart of dangerland and someone, in this case righ- back Keith Lowe, scores with a shot rather than a header.

Whether Cheltenham, so miserly and with no goals conceded in the last four, subconsciously drifted off, I don’t know.

But they were to get a right old going over for the next half-hour. Their defence got in such a spin they must have thought they were on the waltzer not a roller-coaster.

Young Courtney Cameron, 19-year-old loanee from Villa and the 18th signing so far, actually sparked it. Here until January and thrust in for his first experience of league football, he operated on the left and, after going past Lowe and almost seeing Daniel Narediello score, he ‘skinned’ Lowe again.

This time Alex Revell challenged strongly with keeper Scott Brown, the ball dropped away and Nardiello nodded in. So two goals in the first four minutes.

Ben Pringle, playing on the right but looking to drift in, did so with good effect and he enjoyed his best game for some time.

His goal on 21 minutes had been coming as Cheltenham, rattled, looked anything but the solid unit the word on the street said they have been.

Pringle took it well, from around 16 yards, and when Nardiello showed typically sublime skill to pull down a pass from Craig Morgan before finishing so confidently, the Robins were certainly rocking.

Lee Frecklington had one tremendous run, slaloming through the visitors midfield and thumping a ferocious effort just wide, but it had never been all one way and on the half-hour Jermaine McGlashan was put through to set up a tap-in for Chris Zebroski.

It was game on again and (after an Alex Revell shot glanced off a post) certainly so when Morgan was forced to go off with an ankle injury, a different one, apparently, to the one that had made him a doubt in the first place.

Michael O’Connor, left out after Dagenham, went on and Jason Taylor dropped alongside Sharps who proceeded to play a captain’s part.

The action flowed, the foul count mounted, players got frustrated and all the time the game remained open and likely to produce a goal at either end.

Nardiello clipped over a stranded keeper but also over the bar and Frecklington almost had a shot deflected past the keeper. The busy midfielder also went down, one knee, as everyone howled for a penalty. He was still on at the referee about it three moves later.

Mark Bradley made a vital clearance to deny Shaun Harrad in front of goal and the vital Sharps block on the ex-Millers loanee late on was great defending.

Cheltenham’s day was probably summed up by Rotherham’s fourth goal in the second minute of stoppage time.Awarded a free-kick right by their own corner flag, they took it quickly but short in their eagerness to get moving instantly and popped it straight towards Kayode Odejayi. Thereafter, Pringle sent Frecklington into the area for him to finish things off right under the noses of a jubilant and noisy North End.

So, the roller-coaster sets off again tomorrow. Bottom-of-the-table Wycombe are the visitors. But don’t kid yourself. Unlike a seaside roller-coaster, you’ve no idea what the 90-minute journey will be like or what will happen tomorrow. It could be anything!