Rotherham United: Millers’ struggles all season summed up in one game as they're relegated from Championship
If one game could provide a snapshot into where Rotherham United’s problems have lied this season the one which sealed their relegation is pretty fitting.
The Millers, needing to win to take their survival hopes to the last day of the season, led at promotion-chasing West Brom having again taken on a huge side and been the better team.
But they could not see it out and two goals in five minutes earned the Baggies a 2-1 win and condemned Paul Warne’s side to the drop.
It really was the story of the season and their inability to hold on to leads in games ended up being the difference between valiant relegation and what could have been a miraculous survival.
And it would have been miraculous, completely against the odds given the well reported disparity in resources where the Millers’ £5million playing budget was more than half of the next smallest in the division.
Warne rightly spoke of his pride at his players’ efforts this season, where they left everything out on the pitch every week but once the dust has settled and the inquests begin the fact they dropped 32 points from winning positions will surely leave the boss with a massive sense of regret.
That will be for another day and for now an emotional Warne, who shed tears in his post-match press conference, was glowing about his players.
"I am hugely proud of what the lads have tried to do this year,” he said. “I told the players I was really proud of the and obviously there were a few tears in the dressing room. "There is a genuine feeling between the fans and the players at the club and in the dressing room they were disappointed.
“I will always treasure how my players have given me their hearts and souls this season.”With Millwall drawing with Stoke in an early kick-off, the Millers knew they had to win and a strong first-half performance was backed up by a 50th-minute opener for Clark Robertson who headed home another set-piece goal.
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However, old failings came back to haunt Warne's side as two goals in two minutes condemned them to the drop.
The first came from the spot as Jay Rodriguez fired home following Michael Smith's foul on Dwight Gayle before Rakeem Harper's impressive strike condemned the Millers to a heartbreaking relegation.
Rotherham: Rodak, Mattock, Vaulks (Towell 71), Ajayi, Forde (Williams 83), Robertson, Crooks, Ihiekwe, Newell, Smith, Jones (Vassell 83).
Subs: Price, Wood, Taylor.
West Brom: Johnstone, Bartley, Dawson, Hegazi, Holgate (Murphy 78), Brunt, Harper, Johansen (Phillips 67), Gibbs, Rodriguez (Robson-Kanu 86), Gayle.
Subs: Bond, Adarabioyo, Townsend, Field, Murphy.
Referee: Robert Jones