Promotion-chasing Rotherham United steady the ship with 1-0 victory over Cheltenham Town

If Rotherham United go on to win promotion from League One, the 1-0 win over Cheltenham Town will not be remembered as one of the memorable games.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 4:19 pm
Michael Smith of Rotherham United (George Wood/Getty Images)
Michael Smith of Rotherham United (George Wood/Getty Images)

But it might be one of the most important ones as the Millers steadied the ship after two defeats in three games and got back to winning ways.

With Wigan and Sunderland also scraping victories, it was important Paul Warne’s side matched them and they did as a thrilling automatic promotion race begins to unfold.

Any two of those three teams plus Wycombe will finish in the top two and they are all trading blows in a disrupted season due to postponements.

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Michael Smith’s landmark goal in the first half settled a nervy encounter at the AESSEAL New York Stadium against the Robins, as he coolly slotted home after being set free by Michael Ihiekwe’s long ball.

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff felt the grappling with defender Will Boyle in the build-up constituted a foul, but the goal rightly stood.

It was Smith’s 19th goal of the campaign, his record amount of goals in one season.

The Millers controlled the game but failing to find that elusive second made it a tense affair in the second half.

It would have been made easier in the second half had Smith’s header from Mickel Miller’s cross not been ruled out for offside.

In the end, Warne’s side held on, including through eight minutes of time added on, to register an important victory.

Warne said: “We weren't at our fluent best.

“It did feel like one of those games where they might score in the 92nd minute. We just needed that second goal.

“Overall, I was pleased with the performance, but we didn't create enough opportunities to win by more.

“While you are only 1-0 up, the opposition have a chance. It was nervy. Chieo (Ogbene) got us out of trouble once.

“They didn't really create a lot but it did feel nervy If you concede a goal and it becomes a draw it's two points lost, not one point gained.

“It would have been good had Smudge's offside goal stood, it would have made the afternoon a lot more comfortable. Cheltenham are a really good side who I think will take a lot of points off a lot of teams.”