Rotherham 2 Aldershot 0: Match Report

Rotherham United FC v Aldershot Town FC - Npower League 2 - 5th November 2011 - Guy Branston gets in a header on goal and is denied by keeper Ross Worner
Rotherham United FC v Aldershot Town FC - Npower League 2 - 5th November 2011 - Guy Branston gets in a header on goal and is denied by keeper Ross Worner
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IT was her big day but the bride, looking lovely in her wedding dress, seemed just a shade unhappy. Well, for 90 minutes at least!

There she was, tucked up next to her new hubby resplendent in his best suit, with the bridesmaids in their beautiful dresses next to them.

Rotherham United FC v Aldershot Town FC - Npower League 2 - 5th November 2011 - Chris Holroyd (centre) is congratulated by Jason Taylor (left) and Gareth Evans after netting the second

Rotherham United FC v Aldershot Town FC - Npower League 2 - 5th November 2011 - Chris Holroyd (centre) is congratulated by Jason Taylor (left) and Gareth Evans after netting the second

Unfortunately for Baz and Gill Wattam, from Hackenthorpe, they were in the Aldershot end! And I just hope she’d got some, er, thermals under that lovely gown!

I imagine they’d be off to the ‘do’ afterwards. But the big reception was reserved for the Millers as they finally ended their winless run which had stretched to 10 games, nine of them in the league.

And the best man? Who else but Guy Branston!

It’d certainly be some speech if ever you got round to talking about Guy or let him loose - and that’s only the Rotherham part of his career!

After the aborted return a couple of weeks ago, here he was making his second ‘home’ debut, seven years or so since his last ‘home’ appearance in a Millers shirt when he got a red card for what, shall we say, was an ‘altercation’ with some Norwich players as they were going down the Millmoor tunnel.

He’ll tell anybody within distance he’s mellowed a bit since those raucous days, with no suspension last season and not a red card in sight for two years until that challenge the other week which could have cleaned out Bristol’s entire midfield had not just one of them been in the way!

You have to say his return here was welcome and beneficial. From the early minutes when he bravely stuck his head in the way of a fierce 20-yarder from Peter Vincenti that might well have been arrowing into the far corner, Branston made his presence felt on friend and foe alike.

If the Millers - desperate to end their winless run - needed an example then Branston was there providing it.

Dale Tonge had an outstanding game and two back-post interventions, one at 1-0 and a guaranteed goal-saver to prevent an awkward last six minutes, were excellent defending.

Alongside Branston was Jason Taylor who stayed in after the previous week’s display in centre defence and performed admirably - manager Andy Scott saying that Johnny Mullins needed a rest having been forced to play continuously after his premature first-team return following serious injury.

It meant yet another different back-four permutation and in the last 10 matches, they have had EIGHT different starting back-four line-ups. On six occasions, for whatever reason, it has been a different back four that has finished to the one that’s started.

It’s an astonishing lack of continuity and after all that they get a clean sheet with a midfielder in centre defence.

Still, a clean sheet it was and a much-needed win too, earned through being the better side in an entertaining first half then holding off a side down to 10 men and with a midfielder in goal.

When goalkeeper Ross Worner was dismissed eight minutes into the second half for flattening Alex Revell, who got there first to Jon Harley’s superb cross-field pass, Rotherham were well poised to turn their 2-0 lead into something a bit more substantial.

But whether or not Aldershot, as 10 men can do, upped the defiance a bit, with an eye too on protecting who was in goal, Rotherham’s second-half attacking has to be marked down as poor. Stand-in keeper Jamie Collins had one thing to do and that was to somehow deny Chris Holroyd at point-blank range.

Perhaps after not winning for so long, a touch of anxiety crept into Rotherham’s play in the later stages as they held on to their lead, Branston making two more crucial interventions as well as Tonge’s top-drawer one. Logan competently sorted out his only major save from a 25 yarder.

It was a contrast to the open, attacking football of the first half with both sides threatening and Lewis Grabban picking off his ninth of the season when Worner parried Evans free-kick.

Chris Holroyd, who was lively, earned his goal which was very well glanced in from Evans’ wicked free-kick.

In between, that man Branston had a header clawed away from the top corner and Jermaine McGlashan set up and missed a great chance.

So, the toast was the Millers. And the happy couple headed off to wherever, probably reflecting that if they’d waited until next season they could have been showing off her bridal gown to all at New York while it would certainly have been a first at the Foundry!