ROTHERHAM UNITED: New boss ignites the passion

Shrewsbury Town FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 14th April 2012 - Lewis Grabban battles to burst past Joe Jacobson
Shrewsbury Town FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 14th April 2012 - Lewis Grabban battles to burst past Joe Jacobson
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YES, hold tight, the rollercoaster has started up.

It looks like being interesting - and that’s only on the touchline!

The intention, of course, is to put out a side next season that will have all our attention on the pitch and not what might be going off around the dug-outs.

Different managers have different ways of doing things, getting messages across, and for those who like to see a bit of activity on the line from their management team then Steve Evans and his assistant, Paul Raynor, aren’t going to disappoint or be shrinking violets on that score.

Of course, at the end of it all, it’s what happens on the other side of the whitewash that will count, and Evans is happy to convince anyone ready to listen - and Millers followers certainly will be - that he’s going to put together a side that will definitely challenge next time.

One thing is for sure. If he can somehow get a team playing with the intensity that this one did in the first half - and tag on the good bits they didn’t quite manage here - then it should certainly be interesting.

Evans reckons that he’ll get that sort of intensity for 90 minutes next season. He also said he gave them top marks for effort, passion and commitment.

He just happened to mark them down on error-making and chance-making and taking which, of course, will always remain pretty central to being a successful side.

The Millers had arrived with talk about revived play-off hopes. If they can win at Shrewsbury etc ...

All fine and dandy except a team which hasn’t lost at home all season, the only one in the country not to have done so, has a record like that for a reason.

So, it was always going to be a very big ask. That things should unfold as they did, particularly first half, and still end up on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline indicates how difficult it was always going to be. So often people don’t take into account how handy the opposition might be!

However, in the first half there was only one side handy. Shrewsbury were clearly stunned by the ferocity of Rotherham’s start ...

“They came out with all guns blazing,” said that wily old fox, Graham Turner, poised to claim his sixth managerial promotion.

Ben Pringle had already fired an effort over the top by the time Ryan Cresswell headed Rotherham into a second-minute lead following a corner, thus sparking the manager’s on-field celebration.

Perhaps it was Rotherham’s bad luck it was a top-three side they were facing.

Anyone else, say in mid-table, and I reckon the ferocity of Rotherham’s play would have blown them away.

But if you’re going up then you certainly have a few qualities and Shrewsbury, with Millers old boy Ian Sharps a key figure at this stage, managed to prevent being holed further.

They survived through solid defending - Gareth Evans had a goalbound effort blocked - while wayward shooting from Lewis Grabban and Jason Taylor kept the home side in it.

They got a break too when Alex Revell’s 22-yarder got a slight deflection and whistled inches wide with the keeper beaten.

But to get to where they are and win so many home matches (16 out of 21 now) they have to have something additional going forward, and, after a couple of warnings, they struck decisively in first-half stoppage time.

It was a neat link-up of skill and understanding between strikers James Collins and Terry Gornell, ending with Gornell’s low, slightly-deflected 22 yarder.

It was a game-changing moment - psychologically as much as anything.

The Millers had poured so much, at such a tempo, into that first half and yet, here they were still level. Shrewsbury, having ridden out the storm, sighted land.

One did wonder, indeed fear, that there was no way Rotherham could again play with such huge intensity, all over the pitch, as they just had done. Run a lap flat out and there has to be some reaction at some stage of the second lircuit.

Shrewsbury bounced into the second half and Tom Newey, whose last start had been at Shrewsbury in the cup tie on December 3, produced a goal-defying challenge on Nicky Wroe.

But in the next minute, the 47th, Wroe set up Aaron Wildig to make it 2-1 and it was the Millers players now looking stunned. How it had all turned round so very quickly?.

New boss Evans was now set to learn a bit more, in adversity, about his new charges.

Sharps blocked a goalbound Grabban shot and Evans wastefully blazed a clear chance over. Punishment followed midway through the half.

A slick link between Collins and Gornell again and clinical finishing from outside the area once more by Gornell.

It was almost typical of a team going up but also confirmed Shrewsbury as the division’s comeback kings because they have come from behind to win quite a lot.

Cresswell had a header cleared off the line by Sharps late on and Hoskins had a shot saved.

But, as they have done in recent seasons, Shrewsbury have shown themselves to be better than the Millers and indicated the improvement that will be required under the new manager to get where they want to be.