THERE’S been heavy weather at the Don Valley Stadium as any Millers regular over the past four years will tell you.
And when the pub talk gets around to coldest grounds you’ve experienced, DVS will be up there with any that wants to challenge it for top spot. And, no danger, without compare as the windiest!
But the heavy weather transferred itself on to the pitch on Saturday.
A totally dominant Rotherham United first half, one way traffic etc, and some really good stuff to boot.
They should have had a hatful yet had to settle for one, and a pretty late one at that, against opponents who arrived bottom and didn’t do anything to get you arguing against that position.
So, a very pleasing first half and a goal up too against a pretty ordinary side. What’s to expect it wouldn’t roll out as a comfortable victory? It looked stitched on.
Perhaps that was the problem.
Unfortunately, the Millers never kicked on. They regressed. Hereford, at the very least, had to have a go - they’d nothing to lose by doing so and, frankly, could hardly do anything else so desperately did they need the points.
But they were dreadful going forward and with the Millers, for the most part, trying to emulate their paucity, it led to what can only be described as a dire second half.
Thankfully, Rotherham had stored enough goodwill in the tank through their first-half display not to have the regulars grumbling. Plus the fact they were winning. But they made heavy weather of it!
The second half was as poor as the first half had been excellent.
They did pull it round a bit later on but it might have been a clue as to why they aren’t figuring in the play-offs let alone the top three.
It should all have been sorted very early on. The second half should have been played out to a three or four-goal margin at least rather than the single one that gave Hereford hope.
Ryan Cresswell started his first game for six months, since Torquay way back in September, and might have marked it with a goal from either of two headers from corners in the opening eight minutes.
Hereford’s defence wobbled alarmingly but somehow survived as Lewis Grabban and Ben Pringle failed to finish opportunities.
Pringle also forced a full-length save, hooked a shot over and had an effort bravely blocked. It indicated his involvement.
From a super centre by Grabban, Alex Revell headed over and Hereford pluckily hung in there while producing one decent chance which Peniket headed over and a danger moment that Cresswell cleared inside the six-yard area.
But this was all the other way in terms of attacking and Rotherham took the lead just when it seemed they would have nothing to show for their superiority.
It was simplicity itself.
Sam Wood delivered a straightforward, diagonal ball into the heart of the area. It may have provoked a touch of indecision among defenders and a mistimed advance from the keeper and, like all good strikers, Grabban spotted an opportunity, got in there and helped a header over the keeper.
One could understand if there was a dressing room feeling at half-time that there was ‘nowt’ to fear now.
They’d utterly dominated a pretty poor outfit and, a goal up, what was to stop them going on from there?
However, Hereford changed formation and came out to try and rescue something. The Millers, whose passing disintegrated, couldn’t recreate their earlier form and ended up relying on their own defensive doggedness and Hereford’s inept attacking.
It is not a second half on which to over-indulge, save for solidity from Cresswell and Johnny Mullins and some timely work from Mark Bradley while Wood won the battle with Colbeck.
A powerful shot on the run by Revell was just wide and he also plonked a header straight at the keeper. Hereford waited 89 minutes before forcing Rhys Taylor to make a save as he dived to hold on to Gareth Evans’ 25-yarder.
There was even time for Hereford right-back Chambers, on loan from Doncaster, to deny Grabban by sending a header back to his keeper but bouncing it on the bar first.
So, Rotherham took their home win column to double figures which at least matched all but the top four in League Two. Late on, the sun began shining somewhere over in the direction of the New York Stadium - and on a chilly day, with a win in the offing, heavy weather didn’t seem so bad after all!