THE Millers let slip a two goal lead and were agonisingly caught in the third minute of stoppage time to deny them the vital extra two points just when they seemed poised to get back into the Play-off race, writes Les Payne.
An early own goal and a 45th minute strike from Ryan Taylor had Rotherham seemingly in charge but Northampton put extra attackers on at half-time and piled men forward to make it a torrid second half.
Millers players, upset by a decision against them moments before the equaliser that manager Andy Scott described as “bizarre”, were furious at the end with referee Keith Stroud but know they’d missed a great chance to put themselves back in the Play-off mix.
With results of their nearest rivals in the afternoon having been favourable - Stevenage lost and Torquay drew at home - Rotherham, therefore, had an additional boost although they knew the score. They needed a win.
Of course, with their coinfidence low, the last thing they needed was to concede an early goal. On the other hand it was what the Millers would have craved. Well, they got it, after five minutes, and with the sort of luck they haven’t had recently. Law, in contrast to last week, had started on the right. But it was from the left came his goal involvement.
He joined in centrally on a move and then went left to take Bradley’s pass into the area. His low centre struck Rodgers’ foot and looped high over the flailing Collis. Home boss Gary Johnson had implored Cobblers fans to really get behind their team in the hour of need and despite the early setback they did so. The Millers, however, held them until a break at their end. Harrad, who scored a hat-trick for Burton at Don Valley earlier this season, found Jacobs on the and he struck a low 20 yarder which hit the far post.
The Millers had an urgency about their game and from two corners, Harrison and Cresswell sent headers over. The Cobblers went very close when central defender Webster, after challenging for a high ball, swept the loose ball inches wide from 12 yards. A full length save from Collis kept out Newey’s curling free-kick before Rotherham struck as first half stoppage time began. Ryan Taylor knocked down a high ball, Le Fondre laid aside a pass for the striker who moved inside, lined up his left footer from 18 yards and calmly despatched it low past Collis.
The home side put on two extra attackers, McKenzie and Uwezu, Harrad fired a chance over and on 67 minutes they pulled one back following a free kick when Uwezu’s shot struck the near post, hit McKenzie who turned and flipped it into the net. It turned into a torrid second half for the Millers who had to defend manfully as Northampton threw everything at it, balls bouncing about the area, blocked shots, hasty clearances and the crowd roaring. They attacked desperately and it got pretty frantic in and around that Rotherham area at times.
The Millers were almost home when, in the third minute of stoppage time, a high ball was put up there to be fought for and from the loose ball Davis fired home from 18 yards, sparking a pitch invasion including a disabled Cobblers fan in a motorised wheelchair.
Law came off with an ankle injury and Ryan Taylor with a back injury but both could be available against Gillingham on Monday with Law the main doubt.
“We let them off the hook because we dominated the first half,” said Scott. “They gambled, launched it in the second half but we should have seen it out.”
NORTHAMPTON TOWN: Collis, Ofori-Twumasi, Webster (McKenzie ht), Beckwith, Davis; Rodgers (Uwezu ht,Holt 75), Tozer, J Walker, Jacobs, Harrad, Bauza. Subs: Osman, Wedderburn, P Walker, McKay.
Annerson; Tonge, Cresswell, Fenton, Newey; Law (Green 58), J Taylor, Harrison, Bradley; Le
Fondre (Pope 73), R Taylor (Thomas-Moore 64). Subs: Warrington, Ashworth, Randall, Marshall.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Gloucs)
Goals: Rodgers og (5), R Taylor (45+1); McKenzie (67), Davis (90+3).