'It feels like we are against the world' - Another match, another huge decision goes against Rotherham United

When Rotherham are in the Championship, they know the odds are stacked against them.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 11:27 am
Carlton Morris of Barnsley scores their sides first goal past Viktor Johansson of Rotherham United during the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

There is not a level playing field in terms of transfer fees, wage budgets and consequently quality in the squad.

But it is also becoming increasingly obvious that there is not a level playing field when it comes to refereeing decisions, as the Millers were on the end of another controversial decision that could end up costing them their Championship place.

The record books will show that Carlton Morris' second-minute goal gave Barnsley a 1-0 win at Oakwell.

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But here is the context. The day before the game, the Millers found out that influential midfielder Matt Crooks had to serve a three-match ban after the appeal to his harsh red card in midweek was rejected.

Crooks was dismissed for what was essentially an unintentional clash of heads with his side leading in a game they went on to lose.

It took less than two minutes at Oakwell for that decision to rankle even more as Morris headed home after clearly impeding goalkeeper Viktor Johansson in a challenge where he led with his arm. This was not one of those incidents where goalkeepers are over-protected.

It was a clear foul, evidenced by the fact that Johanasson had to leave the pitch after suffering a suspected fractured eye socket.

But referee Gavin Ward chose not to view it that away and allowed the goal to stand.

A different referee, a different incident, but the outcome was the same – it went against the Millers.

Frustratingly for boss Paul Warne, that should not have been the defining moment of the match as his side put in an impressive display that only missed chances stopped from being rewarded with three points.

In the interest of fairness, it has to be said that Rotherham's inability to put their opportunities away when they are on top will be just as big a reason for possible relegation than refereeing decisions.

But those decisions sting and the latest leaves the Millers staring an instant return to League One in the face.

They remain four points from safety with four points remaining and realistically have to win at least two of those to finish above Derby and stay up.

Warne said: “It feels like we’re against the world. That decision in the first minute reaffirms my belief that everyone seems to want us down.

“I have seen it again. I’ve seen my goalkeeper’s face. I've even spoken to Carlton who did it, who I like.

“I don’t know anyone who didn’t think it wasn’t a foul. Considering the week we have had with red cards for an elbow...How many times have you seen a goalkeeper go off, in the first minute?”

“Goalkeepers get protected more than any other player and I’ve had a player sent-off recently for doing less than that and having a three-match ban.

“I’m not saying there’s any maliciousness from the player at all, but I’ve spoken to the player and he says that he thought the ref was going to blow straight away. He didn’t think it was going to stand and nor did anybody else but unfortunately, whichever angle the ref had, he believed that it was a fair and legitimate attempt at the ball, which surprised me.”