Rotherham United 2 Stoke City 2 '“ Another performance to show Millers are far from also-rans

Forget about the result.

Sunday, 30th September 2018, 12:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th September 2018, 12:42 pm
Stoke's England keeper Jack Butland gets in ahead of Millers skipper Richard Wood. Picture Dean Atkins

Forget about the fact that Rotherham let a two-goal lead slip in the final 30 minutes to draw a game they had designs on winning.

Forget that an equalising goal for Stoke came moments after a wrongly-awarded throw in.

Instead remember the brilliant performance by the Millers.

Remember the way they matched '“ and for a spell outplayed '“ the expensively assembled Potters team.

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Remember how Paul Warne's men showed everyone watching why they are not also-rans in the Championship when they get on their own patch.

The David v Goliath rhetoric for Rotherham in this division can wear a little bit thin, but the gulf in resources between these two sides is so marked that it needs addressing, even if Stoke have started the season terribly.

With millions of pounds spent in the summer and an obscene wage budget, Gary Rowett's men really ought to be hammering 'teams like Rotherham'.

But then millions of pounds can't buy you the spirit, togetherness and desire that Warne has cultivated at the AESSEAL New York Stadium - qualities that sent them to within six minutes of a famous win.

After Stoke had peppered the Millers' goal in the first half, with Benick Afobe being denied twice by Marek Rodak and once by the crossbar, two goals in three minutes saw the hosts take control.

Ryan Manning opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Ashley Williams' clumsy challenge on his namesake Ryan, before Richie Towell flicked home from Richard Wood's suspiciously-handball-looking header. Two dead-balls, two goals. It never gets boring.

Unfortunately the sight of Tom Ince scoring against the Millers does. It's always Tom Ince.

The former Derby man bagged his eighth goal in six games versus Rotherham when he drilled home in the 59th minute and it gave Stoke something to go at.

Then Millers hearts were broken when Jon Taylor was inexplicably ruled to have run the ball out of play and Stoke took advantage of their good fortune as Bojan headed home a ball from the left.

The men in red were crestfallen, but Warne was not.

'I asked the lads after the game what their overall emotion was and it was disappointment because they got into 80 odd minutes ahead,' he said.

'Mine was of pride because I was really proud of how they played.

'I think they have earned a lot of respect off a lot of people. They give everything they can for this great club and I am hugely proud of them.'

Warne remembered the good stuff.

Rotherham: Rodak, Jones, Ajayi, Wood (Vyner 55), Mattock, Williams, Towell, Newell (Taylor 69), Vaulks, Manning, Smith. Unused: Price, Palmer, Forde, Wiles, Lewthwaite.

Stoke: Butland, Martina, Martins Indi, Williams, Pieters, Ince, Woods, Etebo (Bojan 66), Allen (Adam 82), Berahino (Crouch 82), Afobe. Unused: Federici, Shawcross, Fletcher, Edwards.

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 9,706 (1,811)