Bristol City 1 Rotherham United 0: Unhappy New Year for battling Millers as they begin 2019 in drop zone
If Championship survival was down to gladiatorial fight, then Rotherham United's safety would not even be in question.
Unfortunately for the Millers it is down to results, and they are going against them at the minute as a late 1-0 loss to Bristol City condemned them to a third straight defeat and a place in the bottom three for the New Year celebrations.
But they deserved more at Ashton Gate, if only for the way they battled so valiantly in the second half when they were reduced to nine men.
Billy Jones and Richie Towell saw red after the break and the gritty Millers, full of spirit, looked like holding on for a point, until Adam Webster headed home in the 86thminute.
It was more heartache for Paul Warne's side on the road and maybe they are just destined never to win away atÂ this level, such are the things that go against them.
Failure to take some first-half chances proved costly as Jon Taylor '“ in one of his dangerous moods '“ brought a good save out of Niki Maenpaa and then put two other efforts wide.
The game changed early in the second half as Jones, who was making a rare start, was dismissed for two yellow cards in the space of 13 minutes.
Eight minutes later the Millers went down to nine men as Towell was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Josh Brownhill.
There was 15 minutes of brave defending by the Millers, but with a point in sight they allowed Webster a free header from a cross and his effort was just too powerful for Marek Rodak.
Rodak then kept it at 1-0 with a fine save from Jamie Paterson and then Brownhill rattled the crossbar as the Millers' worrying run of form continued.
'I am not the sort of manager to contest refereeing decisions,' a pragmatic Warne said. 'I felt we were the better side 11 against 11 and after the red cards we defended really well.
'The sendings-off changed the game. There are no complaints from me over our performance and we just have to pick ourselves up and go again.
'The biggest compliment I can pay my team, apart from the fact that our fans stayed on at the end to cheer them off, is that the ball went out of play in the 93rdÂ minute and the Bristol supporters didn't want to give it to us.'
There's no time for the Millers to wallow in this latest loss, there's another fight on the horizon on New Year's Day.