When James Tavernier came in on loan, Rotherham United hadn’t just signed any old full back. They’d signed a goalscoring one!
Quite a rarity as you’d imagine and to have a right back scoring twice in a game, that’s five in 21 games, is a bonus indeed.
Not just any old goals either. The first, from near enough 30 yards, was a howitzer which positively rocketed in to offer up a dream start after just 70 seconds.
For the second, on the hour, he couldn’t have looked more nonchalant had he been shelling peas.
Inches outside the area, he looked up, identified a gap and then drilled his shot straight through it as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Nowt like a bit of confidence!
The decision which gave them that free-kick - keeper Frank Fielding spotted ‘carrying’ the ball outside his area before clearing - is a rarity amongst rarities. Let’s hope the extra two points prove decisive. It might be payback time in a strange way.
I well recall an equally rare moment which went against the Millers late in the 1976/77 season when referee Peter Willis penalised keeper Tom McAlister for going more than the then allowed four steps whilst holding the ball - an offence I never saw punished before or afterwards. Crystal Palace equalised from the free-kick and Rotherham were pipped for promotion up to what’s now The Championship on goal difference - by Palace!
Make no mistake this was a win of the highest order. Those players deserve a medal for this one alone.
They’d just pulled off two magnificent wins after two absolutely lung-busting, energy-sapping, physically and mentally draining performances against Peterborough and Brentford.
Two days after the Brentford win, one player confided to a fan that he was absolutely kn******d at the end of it. Fine.
But could you just get yourself up for another one against the second best form team in the division and certainly the most improved.
You can be sure Robins’ boss Steve Cotterill had his players well prepared and up for this one. It would have been easy for Rotherham to have failed to match up.
But this team seems to have developed an identity; they all absolutely work their socks off and do so for each other.
They dig in as they did here in the second half when the week’s exertions might have taken a toll in one or two places.
Tavernier’s second minute strike was a great start and some of the football in the opening 20 minutes was of superb quality.
A bit better decision-making and they would have added goals before half-time.
Wade Elliott’s super strike three minutes into the second half levelled it up and hinted at a tough second period. But Tavernier’s coolly struck free-kick on the hour restored the lead and pumped extra energy into their legs.
The fans, as if realising their favourites needed a bit of help, upped the noise levels to boost tired limbs and help carry them home although with such as Morgan, Arnason and Smallwood to blunt the opposition, they were always going to get over the line.
All things considered, a great win.