VERY few would have suggested that Rotherham United would have lost five home games by the end of December, particularly in view of the way they started out at the New York Stadium
Opening wins against Burton Albion by 3-0 and Bradford City, 4-0, suggested that the new ground could become a fortress.
However, the defeat by Port Vale on Wednesday was the fifth time their colours have been lowered at the stadium already in League Two. Second-placed Vale, along with leaders Gillingham in the previous home game, certainly had to battle, scrap, defend manfully and work extremely hard to hold off Rotherham’s pressure but it will be of some concern to manager Steve Evans that they have lost so many at home already.
Some teams near the bottom, including bottom side Bristol Rovers, have lost five or even fewer.
They get the opportunity to bounce straight back tomorrow when Accrington Stanley are the visitors but the Millers may well ponder that opponents will note the success the last two visitors have had in defending deep and in considerable numbers and consider that’s the way to go.
Rotherham haven’t won at home since beating Cheltenham 4-2 on November 17. This amounts to three successive home defeats (Wycombe were the other) in the league and a draw in the FA Cup with Notts County. By contrast, in that time, they have won their last four away games.
“We did not do enough in possession, did not create enough opportunities that the possession warranted,” said assistant manager Paul Raynor.
“Port Vale came with a game plan to soak it up, sit deep and hit on the break. They are normally more open than they were but they came to stifle, make it scrappy.
“I expect Accrington to have seen what Vale did and they’ll come and make it difficult, get men behind the ball. We need to respond to that.”
Accrington will be without right back Dean Winnard after he was sent off for a second bookable offence in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford City, their eight match without a win. The Millers won 2-1 at Accrington a month ago.