'Have a pizza and have a sleep' - Paul Warne buzzing with Rotherham United's Papa John's Trophy win

Any win at Wembley is special, but the way Rotherham United did it on Sunday will live long in the memory.

By Jonathan Veal
Sunday, 3rd April 2022, 8:43 pm
Rotherham United players celebrate on the winners podium with the Papa John's Trophy. (Zac Goodwin/PA Wire)
Rotherham United players celebrate on the winners podium with the Papa John's Trophy. (Zac Goodwin/PA Wire)

The Papa John’s Trophy final against Sutton United is not going to define their season, but it will go into folklore.

The Millers were heading for heartache after being outplayed by the League Two side and trailed 2-1 deep into injury time after Donovan Wilson and Craig Eastmond scored either side of Ben Wiles’ brilliant equaliser.

The repercussions of losing might well have been felt in their League One promotion race and as Paul Warne’s side entered the fifth minute of time added on, focus would have been on recovering for the impending fight.

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But step forward Jordi Osei-Tutu. The January addition from Arsenal proved his worth by bagging a brilliant injury-time leveller, that will put his name alongside the likes of Alex Revell, Nigel Jemson and Richard Wood.

It earned the Millers a reprieve and they made the most of their extra life in added time, going on to score two more goals and win 4-2.

Chiedozie Ogbene picked up from where he left off on international duty by putting his side ahead for the first time in the game early on in extra time, with a stunning 25-yard effort.

The Millers then killed the game when Michael Ihiekwe headed home in the second half of extra time.

All previous knockout rounds of the tournament went to penalties but this had extra-time, which left boss Warne surprised.

“Sutton were so brave in their shape, and we just had a psychological legginess,” said Warne. “It was nervous exhaustion.

“When you play at Wembley your mouth is already dry before you get onto the pitch. It mounts up in your head. Pressure does affect players.

“You think it’s just not our day, it’s just not our day.

“To score that late on to equalise, it’s absolutely wounded Sutton.

“I thought it was going straight to pens! I started talking to Matt (Gray, Sutton boss) saying ‘Have you got any decent penalty takers?’ He said, ‘I haven’t got a clue’.

“I’ve given them Monday off, they will be absolutely useless on Tuesday.

“I’m going to get on it, have a pizza and have a sleep. I’m absolutely exhausted. If you’re stood where I was stood, it’s exhilarating, terrifying and disgusting in equal measure.”

That is two wins from two at Wembley for Warne. But he will be desperately hoping there is no return in the play-offs in six weeks.