Rotherham United: Ward or Wood? The great Millers goal debate

Danny Ward and Richard Wood celebrate the second goal against Wigan. But who scored it?
Danny Ward and Richard Wood celebrate the second goal against Wigan. But who scored it?
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Do we give it to Wardy or Woody?

Rotherham United duo Danny Ward and Richard Wood are big pals but there’s a good-natured row going on about who scored the second goal in the Millers 3-2 Boxing Day win over Wigan Athletic.

Striker Ward’s 32nd-minute shot from just outside the penalty area beat Latics keeper Jussi Jasskelainen with the help of a deflection, and centre-half Wood claims his backside got the crucial touch.

That struck a bum note with striker Ward who has eight or nine goals for the season, depending on your point of view.

“Did I score? Yes. Absolutely yes. I’m certain!” said the club’s top scorer. “Woody’s not claiming that. No way!

“He’s saying it hit him on the a*se, but I’m not having that. No chance.

“We drive into training together. We’re really good mates. We live only about five minutes from each other. Is there an interesting conversation to be had in the car? No! It’s my goal.”

Rotherham, bottom of the Championship, won for the second time in caretaker manager Paul Warne’s five-match reign to cut the gap between them and safety from 12 points to nine and have chance to make further inroads into the deficit at home to Burton Albion on Thursday.

Warne delivered a special Christmas message to his players before kick-off againt Wigan and was rewarded with the Millers’ best 45 minutes of the season as they swept into a 3-0 lead before enduring a nervy second half as the second-bottom visitors fought back.

“I got all the family and friends to do video clips for the players,” the interim boss revealed.

“They didn’t know about it. We did it as a secret mission.

“There was a six-minute video with everyone saying ‘good luck’ so I knew I had the lads on an emotional tightrope, which I like.

“They went out desperate to win. I told them the day before the game that if we won all their kids and families were welcome in the dressing room after the match.

“I want an inclusive club. I want everyone to feel part of it. So I knew the lads would give me a passionate display. I was proud of the way they played.”

Celebrating victory duly became a family affair in the home changing room, with Wood’s two young boys giving their dad the goal and giggling over the part of his anatomy he used to redirect his friend’s shot.

Former striker Warne, a father of two himself, was undecided but finally found a way to reach a verdict.

“I decide who is on the bigger goal bonus and give it to the other one!” he grinned.

“Wardy wants it, but in those videos Woody’s kid said his dad would score today.

“Nailed on it’s Wardy’s. The centre-forward should win.

“If he doesn’t then he’s a coward!”

Sweet smell of success: Match feature and Warne reaction