Rotherham United: The pluses and minuses of exiting the Leasing.com Trophy
Rotherham boss Paul Warne could not deny that League One is his priority, even though he was disappointed to exit the Leasing.com Trophy.
The Millers went out of the much-maligned competition, where fans are increasingly voting with their feet at their distaste for the format, after losing 3-0 at Lincoln.
A point in Sincil Bank in their final group game would have been enough for them to join Manchester United Under 21s in the knockout rounds, but it was not to be after a limp display.
John Akinde’s double in the opening 14 minutes set the tone and Tyler Walker’s header late on put the gloss on a home win.
Not too many people of a Rotherham persuasion will be disappointed they went out, bar the 137 committed diehards that made the journey along the A57, but Warne is one of them.
He named a reasonably strong line-up in an attempt to progress, with Freddie Ladapo, Michael Smith, Jamie Lindsay and Jake Hastie all starting.
The defeat hurt, but Warne says all the focus is now on the visit of Accrington on Saturday, where Rotherham will finally try and put an end to their home discomforts.
“Our focus from Thursday will be entirely on Accrington,” Warne said. “The league, obviously, is our priority.
“That doesn’t mean that I’m not disappointed, though.
“It’s disappointing. It gave me a good look at a few players.
“We came here to get a positive result and go through. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
“Our midfielder, Dan Barlaser, tried to get on the ball for us but I just felt we didn’t have any cutting edge to our play tonight.
“Our final ball in wasn’t good enough, our attempts on goal weren’t good enough.”
There was no way back as soon as Akinde, once a target for Warne, bagged a double inside the opening 15 minutes.
“I think their centre-forward beat us up and won all their first contacts,” Warne said.
“They had runners off the ball. We didn’t win any of our first contacts up the other end and didn’t have midfield runners off the ball.”