Rotherham United 0 Burton Albion 1: Match Report

Rotherham United v Burton Albion'Elvis is in the building.....'Rotherham United fans dress as Elvis at Don Valley Stadium
Rotherham United v Burton Albion'Elvis is in the building.....'Rotherham United fans dress as Elvis at Don Valley Stadium
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The Indian summer of the previous week had given way to a damp, chilly, drizzly autumn afternoon on Saturday. It rather seemed like an analogy for the Millers season so far, really.

The bright new dawn (recall how they began and remember who was L2 Manager of the Month after the first five games?) has given way to a depression that, whilst not deep, is certainly a bit cloudy. And there are a few dark ones in there too.

Rotherham United v Burton Albion'Burton Albion celebrate scoring as Andy Warrington complains they were offside

Rotherham United v Burton Albion'Burton Albion celebrate scoring as Andy Warrington complains they were offside

There will be puzzlement as to how they lost this one, to be fair. They spent most of the second 45 minutes camped in and around Burton’s penalty area.

But they’d nothing to show for it only hard-luck stories - and they’ve never amounted to much whatever level you play at.

The bottom line is they lost again - for the fourth successive time if you include the neighbours from S2. But this one was against a side who were workmanlike at best and, with all due respect, no more than ordinary.

Southend, as subsequent results are proving and which was suspected at the time, are pretty good. Burton, for all their dogged survival instinct, should have been put away.

Rotherham United v Burton Albion'Alex Revell loses out in the air to Ryan Austin

Rotherham United v Burton Albion'Alex Revell loses out in the air to Ryan Austin

Andy Scott struggled to contain his anger, frustration if not his disappointment, afterwards. He talked about the hard work put in on the training ground. He talked about players doing it right it training (he even invited fans to go down and watch them train) when they look, listen, do it right but then on matchday they either don’t do it or don’t want to do it.

Rather reminds me of the batsman who looks a million dollars in the nets but when he gets out in the middle he gets out cheaply.

Something is certainly not going right just now although it might be remiss to pile all the blame on the defensive capabilities or otherwise.

The Millers spent the best part of 45 minutes hammering away at a Burton side who decided pretty soon after half-time that their best prospect of getting something would be in trying to hold what they had.

Who knows but even at 0-0 Rotherham might still not have scored in the second half. They could hardly have had any more possession and pressure than they did.

Of course, it would help if they stopped conceding early goals. It was the 10th minute against Southend; ninth against Sheffield United and eighth minute here. Hold your breath when we get to the seventh minute in the next home game against Shrewsbury!

Justin Richards nudged home the winner from almost on the line and from a suspiciously-looking offside position following Cleveland Taylor’s deflected shot after Jimmy Phillips penetrated far too easily.

Scott began with the same formation as in the Blades game with Danny Schofield behind Alex Revell. It was hard to argue for change considering how they played that night and managers are fearful of altering winning sides or ones that have done well.

If they change, thus leaving out players who had done well, then they face all-round opprobrium if the result then goes wrong.

But last time was against a L1 side. Against one of L2’s ‘average’ teams, the Millers surely needed to look to ‘get at them’.

After 22 minutes of anonymity, things were changed. Lewis Grabban went up front (he might have scored within 30 seconds of the switch), Schofield went out right and the Millers improved immediately and never really looked back.

Schofield nearly scored and Grabban might have done before the break. But I can tell you this, the locals were not impressed by that first half, improvement or not. Nor any of the Elvis Presleys either!

The second half was different. Right from the start they had Burton on the back foot. Just a matter of time eh?

Grabban’s 25-yarder glanced off the bar and Johnny Mullins saw the first of three headed efforts turned behind by keeper Ross Atkins.

I found the removal of the most creative player, Schofield, a strange one considering how much on top they were.

By then, Evans (on out wide left) had started to create mayhem and he so nearly equalised from a Danny Harrison centre.

Marcus Marshall’s arrival then added something to the other flank and he might have marked his arrival with a goal. Harrison’s 20-yarder was superbly pushed away but Marshall couldn’t get his effort from the rebound on target.

A tremendous run by Evans, past three challenges, ended with a fierce shot Atkins turned over. Mullins then saw his header from the corner bounce down and over when he seemed set to score. He also put another header wide.

There were numerous scrambles, blocked shots and some desperate (and worthy) defending as the Millers were somehow kept at bay.

It was the third successive league defeat in which the team which has beaten the Millers has then jumped above them in the table.

Unlike Elvis, Rotherham’s promotion hopes are far from dead.

But there is a lot of improvement required ahead.