Rotherham United 1 Crawley Town 2: Match Report

Rotherham United FC v Crawley Town FC - Npower League 2 - 26th November 2011 - Brett Williams beats the offside trap to fire home his first ever goal for the Millers
Rotherham United FC v Crawley Town FC - Npower League 2 - 26th November 2011 - Brett Williams beats the offside trap to fire home his first ever goal for the Millers
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SURELY it won’t be this windy when we all get into the spanking new, enclosed, New York Stadium (okay, okay, it’s only a suggestion, the name announcement is awaited).

But they can call it what they want so long as we don’t have the elements dictating rather like they can do at the House of Wind!

Rotherham United FC v Crawley Town FC - Npower League 2 - 26th November 2011 - Keeper Conrad Logan is furious after Josh Simpson scores at the second attempt and runs behind the goal in celebration

Rotherham United FC v Crawley Town FC - Npower League 2 - 26th November 2011 - Keeper Conrad Logan is furious after Josh Simpson scores at the second attempt and runs behind the goal in celebration

Of course, few would suggest Rotherham lost because of the wind in that wide open arena and. whatever its influence. Andy Scott, to his credit, never looked for such an excuse.

But, make no mistake, when the conditions and the ‘carry’ are like the were on Saturday, it definitely affects the game because it makes defending against the wind more difficult than in normal circumstances.

However,while the record books show that the Millers lost this one in the second half because they conceded two goals, they really lost out by missing the chance to take the wind from Crawley’s sails in the first half.

Inspired by a cracking start, they produced what might safely be described as their best 45 minutes of the season in that first half.

Crawley were all at sea. They had avoided a damaging half-time scoreline only by dint of Rotherham’s inability to finish and what Scott termed “a lack of ruthlessness”. Oh, and some last-ditch interventions.

True, Rotherham went in at half-time leading by a goal - a first for the club for Brett Williams on what was his home debut - but the feeling nagged during the interval that it might not prove enough.

Crawley, barely in it save for improvement in the final 10 minutes, probably sucked reflectively on the half-time energy drink and reckoned being only a goal down wasn’t a bad place to be after all in view of the way things had gone.

One suspected they might even have been pleased to be only one down after Rotherham’s dominance. No doubt they would have been determined to go out and do better, to utilise the wind to help them push numbers forward and aim to put the Millers under pressure straightaway. That’s exactly what happened and the early goal they would have craved and what Rotherham feared basically turned the match in their favour.

In some ways it was a typical afternoon from a side on its way to promotion which Crawley, now unbeaten in 11, may well be.

You have a rubbish time, in this case 45 minutes, don’t look much like a top side but shake yourself down and somehow pull through and win.

No wonder the Crawley camp - and they have a touch of cockiness about them - were cock-a-hoop to have bagged three points considering how it all started.

As for the Millers, it meant the end of their six-match unbeaten run. But they should certainly take some additional confidence from this game because here was evidence, when added to some recent games, that they are improving and heading on the right lines but with a way to go yet.

But in keeping with recent seasons, the Millers are finding they cannot beat, and often lose to, teams in the top three or top seven. You can deduce something very simple from that.

Perhaps Scott’s blunt assessment backed that up. “The table doesn’t lie,” he said.

Rotherham could have scored at least three times before they did so. Williams, clean through, and Grabban both put excellent opportunities wide and there were other instances.

Williams, whose running, work ethic and never-say-die spirit have quickly endeared him to Millers fans, bagged his first for the club on 19 minutes with a sublime finish after Logan’s long ball was touched on by Revell.

With Schofield pulling some strings and Dale Tonge and the outstanding Jon Harley joining in, Crawley had all on to survive.

But they did and when Tyrone Barnett (watched by plenty of clubs) crisply finished off Josh Simpson’s little pass three minutes into the second half you couldn’t help but think that Rotherham felt a bit cheated after all they’d done for only the same return!

New wide man Sam Wood, quiet in the first half, grew into the game, produced one great run and twice might have scored while Schofield fired a chance wide but Crawley’s back four certainly found it easier defending in the second half and could sweep forward quicker.

The introduction of sub John-Paul Pittman had an instant pay-off because he went down the left and rounded Taylor with Simpson finishing off after his first shot came back to him off the far post.

Just afterwards sub Marcus Marshall had a shooting opportunity he dragged wide but who knows what capricious tricks were going on when the ball was arriving in any given situation.

The simplest judgement was often extremely difficult in those conditions and both sides deserve praise for the game they put on.

Wind difficulties or not, though, this Millers squad have, like recent ones, to find a way of beating the top sides.