'I've never seen him so happy' - Rotherham United buzzing after beating Sheffield Wednesday

If anyone knew how Freddie Ladapo felt when he sent himself into Rotherham folklore at Hillsborough on Wednesday night then it was Richie Barker.

By Jonathan Veal
Thursday, 4th March 2021, 3:25 pm

Ladapo joined an elite list of Millers players to score a winning goal at Sheffield Wednesday when he scored a fine solo goal in the seventh minute of added time to earn a 2-1 victory.

There are not many men on the list, but Barker, Paul Warne s assistant, is one of them.

The former Millers striker sent home a stoppage time header to give Ronnie Moore's side a famous 2-1 win in 2002 and will be forever remembered for it.

Angus MacDonald, Freddie Ladapo and Viktor Johansson of Rotherham United celebrate after the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United at Hillsborough (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Barker stepped out of character and was chief celebrator when Ladapo produced his late dramatics, though there is little surprise.

Not only was it a great individual goal, carrying the ball 30 yards before finding the far corner with a curling 20-yard shot, but it gave the Millers a priceless win in the fight against relegation and a first-ever league double against the Owls.

“When he hit it, I thought that’s got a chance and I’ve never seen my assistant (Richie Barker) so happy,” Warne said.

“He was never that happy when he scored himself so, for him to behave like that, tells you what a good goal it was.

“I’ve been told we’ve never done the double over Sheffield Wednesday, so it’s a night we’ll always remember being a part of and it’s given us a real feelgood factor.”

It looked like the Millers were going to have to settle for a point after seeing a first-half lead wiped out.

They went in front through Michael Smith's header but then the striker got sent off after the break for a tussle with Julian Borner.

That changed the game and Wednesday, who had spurned a number of chances, got level in the final 10 minutes through Matt Olosunde's own goal.

Ladapo had the final say as the Millers broke from a Wednesday corner to deliver what Warne called a “Disney” moment.

“The last five games we have lost by one goal and we haven't played bad we just didn't take our chances, whereas tonight we scored unbelievable goals,” he added.

“When they won the corner, I was just thinking that my luck here has not been great so I thought it was going to go in and then we broke, Crooksy broke and I was thinking, 'It must be time, I'll take a point' and then it was a great pass to Freddie and I heard Richie say, 'Come on, let's see what you've got', and he jiggled a little bit and as soon as he hit it I knew it had a chance.

“Wow. I have said it loads of time but it was like Disney.”