Rotherham United 1 Plymouth 0: Match Report

Rotherham United v Plymouth Argyle'Argykles Durrell Berry halts the run of Gareth evans
Rotherham United v Plymouth Argyle'Argykles Durrell Berry halts the run of Gareth evans
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LET’S face it, there’s nothing quite like that Saturday night feeling when your team has won on a Saturday afternoon, is there?

Yes, you can have your Premier League hype and you can have that little blighter from Barcelona bagging five for himself in the Champions League to the delight and delectation of us all.

Rotherham United v Plymouth Argyle'Rotherham united manager Andy Scott on the sidelines at Don Valley Stadium

Rotherham United v Plymouth Argyle'Rotherham united manager Andy Scott on the sidelines at Don Valley Stadium

But there’s nothing quite like YOUR team winning on a Saturday afternoon to set you up for the evening.

Crikey, you might even ask the missus if she fancies going out (having arranged it first with your mate on the way home from the game, of course!)

Well, Millers fans got that Saturday-night feeling again. And it wasn’t just those with short-term memory loss who’d forgotten what it was actually like.

To actually remember what it felt like - to go back to a Saturday night with that winning feeling - Millers followers had to go back to, yes, December 17, to recall what a rosy glow was on the most traditional of footballing days.

Yes, it was a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon when the old tree was trimmed up, on an afternoon so cold at Don Valley that even penguins would have been on the way home early, that Millers followers last experienced that Saturday-night feeling.

Okay, they have won since. But a Monday afternoon, a Friday night, a Tuesday night, is not quite the same y’know. This was the first Saturday-afternoon victory since that perishing day in December (it’ll never be THAT cold in the new ground, you realise that don’t you?).

Of course, you want to bounce in on Saturday teatime and then look forward to going to work on a Monday - ready for all those questions that DON’T come!

And if ever there was a Saturday when the Millers needed a win then this was it. And if ever it was against supine opposition then it was Plymouth who provided it, although that’s not to decry Rotherham’s efforts - and particularly as they had enough domination to have sorted this out by at least treble the margin they did.

There will be games like this at the New York Stadium but without, thank goodness, the wind factor which is such a hindrance or, if you like, a help, which it is when you’re aware of the possibilities.

They will probably roar their favourites off, particularly when it is such a vital win and, in this case, one which they fully deserved and never should have been sweating on in the last few minutes.

And it is one which suddenly resurrects those play-off hopes which had looked a touch forlorn beforehand.

Every Millers fan had done his calculations afterwards. Beat Torquay tomorrow and it’s two points behind Oxford for the visit there on Saturday. Game on.

There’ll be those who might put a hand on the arm, say don’t get carried away and note that by the end of a week tomorrow (when Oxford are at home to AFC Wimbledon) it is possible, in a worst-case scenario, for the Millers to be 11 points behind Oxford and it’s done and dusted as far as Andy Scott’s men are concerned.

But that’s for later. The fact is, the Millers have given themselves a sniff again.

It’s not their fault that Plymouth looked as poor a side (defensive resilience apart) as any that’s turned up at Windy Valley this season.

You can only beat what’s in front of you and Rotherham did that pretty emphatically in all but the scoreline.

As rare as a windless day at DVS has been an unchanged Rotherham side this season, but Andy Scott named one. It got as far as half-time. It was to prove the right decision to change it then.

Not that they weren’t, by a distance, the better side in the first half.

An Alex Revell header went close and Danny Harrison fired over after good work by Lewis Grabban who began on the left and then switched (with Ben Pringle) to the right.

Argyle, struggling with the stiff wind behind them, were in the grip of Messrs Michael Raynes and John Mullins and managed just one meaningful effort - a stoppage-time shot from Nick Chadwick which deflected off Raynes and required Rhys Taylor to show his agility by diving backwards to prevent a wholly undeserved lead.

The Gareth Evans introduction at half-time helped and Rotherham’s corner count moved towards double figures.

On 69 minutes, keeper Jake Cole’s kick wasn’t the best, it held up in the wind and Danny Harrison, typically combative, pounced to win a header to send Evans striding towards the Argyle penalty area where ex-Owl Darren Purse’s challenge bundled him over. Grabban struck home the spot-kick for his 17th of the season.

Shaun Harrad - on his last appearance before returning to Bury - provided a lively entrance as the Millers held on quite comfortably and certainly should have added to the lead.

Firstly when Revell and Evans were totally unmarked in the middle yet Grabban had the blinkers on and failed to spot what everyone else was screaming at him to do and that was pass to them. When he did, they ended up crowding each other’s space and the subsequent efforts by Evans and Grabban came to nothing.

Then the Evans moment in stoppage time of breaking clear, lifting the ball over the keeper and somehow, inexplicably, slicing the ball wide when the empty net, and even a teammate six yards out, beckoned.

Something to have a laugh over on a Saturday night - when your team’s won!