Rotherham United: Camp catches the flak ... Derby 3 Millers 0
Rotherham United goalkeeper Lee Camp was being baited by the Derby fans he used to play for again.
Last season, he had the last laugh as the Millers fought back from 3-0 down at New York Stadium in eight mad minutes for that famous, last-gasp 3-3 draw.
But on Saturday, despite saving two penalties, pulling off a string of saves and clearly being Rotherham’s man of the match, he could do nothing to stop the taunts raining down behind his goal.
The Millers were well beaten, too easy to score against, and are cut off at the foot of the Championship, the gap between them and a place out of the bottom three increasing to 11 points.
Last year, ecstatic Millers supporters had turned the Derby chant on its head, singing it at their own keeper as he celebrated in front of them at the final whistle.
Not this time, not at the iPro.
3-0 remained 3-0, and it will take a survival miracle even bigger than the one Neil Warnock inspired last season to save Rotherham a second time.
There were more Remembrance Day ceremonies as football remembered the sacrifices of heroes who fell in battle for the final time this year.
The Last Post bugler, mirroring Rotherham’s performance to follow, began in decent style but then had a host of problems of his own making.
Even more off-key than his rendition was the Millers defence where full-backs Darnell Fisher and Joe Mattock each gave away soft spot-kicks and Greg Halford wasn’t the answer as Richard Wood’s partner at centre-half.
“We are still struggling to find a defensive set-up that can keep us competitive,” said new manager Kenny Jackett, four games into the job.
“The better side won. I can’t say that wasn’t the case.”
Seventeen league matches. 41 goals conceded.
Jackett changed shape and personnel, bringing in Halford, Jake Forster-Caskey, Tom Adeyemi and Peter Odemwingie and opting for a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Millers were a match for Steve McClaren’s side early on, but two goals in four minutes, both the result of breakaways, turned the game.
When a speculative Odemwingie shot was blocked, a Rams counter-attack ended with Fisher recklessly bringing down Ince who scored from the rebound after seeing his 15th-minute penalty saved.
Then Darren Bent clinically fired across goal and into Camp’s right-hand corner.
Bradley Johnson beat Adeyemi in the air to send Ince racing clear for his second, in the 63rd minute, but the hat-trick chance was passed up four minutes later, Ince again foiled from the spot by Camp after being needlessly nudged by Mattock.
Rotherham’s only serious on-target effort came just before the break when Joe Newell cleverly made room for himself from a throw-in to get in behind the home defence and his fierce shot was parried by Scott Carson.
Jackett’s first two matches brought clear signs of improvement, but the last two have seen Rotherham undone by the defensive frailty all too common under former manager Alan Stubbs.
The harsh truth, further compounded at Derby, is that the squad Jackett finds at his disposal isn’t strong enough for the level it’s competing at.
The Millers are now 13 matches without a win and their -24 goal difference is -14 worse than any other side in the division.
Jackett is the right man, but has inherited the mess of another’s making.
It will be a long, hard campaign and the Millers may have to suffer before they prosper again.
“We need to be better than we have been this season,” the boss said. “For us to be competitive in this league, we have to address the ‘goals against’ column first.”
Jackett knows the score.