Rotherham United: Stephen Kelly apologises for Millers display at Barnsley

Stephen Kelly
Stephen Kelly
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Captain Stephen Kelly has said sorry to sufferering supporters after Rotheram United’s derby-day collapse against Barnsley.

More than 3,200 Millers followers made the trip to Oakwell and saw their side concede four times in 37 second-half minutes to lose the South Yorkshire showdown 4-0.

Action from the derby at Oakwell

Action from the derby at Oakwell

Full-back Kelly, standing in as skipper in the injury absence of Lee Frecklington, conceded: “To have a second half like that is so disappointing. For the fans as well, it’s going to be tough. It was just not good enough.

“They’ve come in amazing numbers and not seen the performance from the players they deserve. I can only apologise for that. Hopefully we can rectify that in the future. A second-half performance like that shouldn’t happen considering how the first half went.”

The manner of Rotherham’s fourth defeat in five Championship matches prompted new boss Alan Stubbs to say he would be even busier in the transfer market before the window shuts at 11pm on Wednesday than he was originally planning to be.

The Millers were in the game until the Reds’ opening goal in the 54th minute, but were over-run from then on, prompting the manager to question his side’s workrate and warn that he was considering letting some under-performing players leave.

A section of supporters abused Stubbs and some of his team as they left the pitch, and Kelly, one of the Millers’ better players this season, accepted their frustration.

“It’s disappointing, and it’s more disappointing for the fact that the fans have had to endure that,” the 32-year admitted. “With it being a derby, a few miles up the road, bragging rights are always nice. In that second half, we’ve let them down.”

Rotherham, who go into the international break third from bottom of the table, matched Paul Heckingbottom’s side until Marc Roberts broke the deadlock nine minutes after the interval.

“In the first half we played well and were in the game,” Kelly said. “We defended well and had a good shape about us. After conceding the first goal, we went a little bit gung-ho. We lost our shape a bit and that caused us problems. A 2-0, we’re proper chasing and leaving ourselves exposed.

“They were able to counter-attack us. It’s disappointing when really, after the first-half performance, it’s a game where we should come away with something.”

Teenage centre-half Reece Burke, a loan target for the Millers, was on the West Ham bench for the Hammers’ 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.

Click here for Alan Stubbs’ reaction to fans’ abuse