Rotherham United: Millers take belief from display

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rotherham United’s defeat at League Two leaders Gillingham on Monday had a double edge to it.

It was another away game against a promotion challenger from which they got nothing and so left further question marks against their ability away from home against the top sides.

Yet, repeat the sort of performance they produced at the Priestfield Stadium, particularly in the second half, and they are entitled to feel pretty confident going anywhere from now on.

Perhaps they have been confident. But when asked to produce the goods in big away games at Burton and Cheltenham, they faltered badly.

Those setbacks represented the only two defeats in 11 away games. But they came in fixtures where they had an opportunity to do significant damage to their opponents in proverbial six pointers - and lost the advantage each time.

The Gillingham trip was always going to be a difficult one at a ground where the club hadn’t won for 25 years and this week’s visit was the 12th there since then.

Manager Steve Evans admitted after the Cheltenham game that he picked the wrong side and system.

Considering he took off two players (David Noble and Lionel Ainsworth) at half-time at Gillingham, he might consider something wasn’t quite right too at 3 o’clock although there had been the blow of losing Lee Frecklington in the final few hours before kick-off through illness.

The second half display was certainly one of their best ones even allowing for the eight away wins they’ve had.

Within it was an awesome, all-round performance from Kari Arnason in midfield who had also been prominent throughout the first half.

The Icelandic international did look a class act prompting manager Steve Evans to suggest that he was the best player on the pitch “by the length of the Thames.”

Said Evans: “Gillingham were better first half but there’s no doubt the second half belonged to us. We’ve done it to the champions-elect on their own pitch and shows we are capable of going anywhere and performing.”

Rotherham head for Morecambe on Saturday knowing they need at least seven points from their next three games to keep right in touch with the top three.