Hereford 2 Rotherham United 3: Match Report

Tom Barkhuizen puts Rotherham's Danny Schofield under pressure while on loan at Hereford.
Tom Barkhuizen puts Rotherham's Danny Schofield under pressure while on loan at Hereford.
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WHAT’S all this clean-sheet nonsense? Who needs ’em when you can keep on scoring two and three at a time away from home?

Who really wants well-organised, you-can’t-break-us-down, 1-0 away wins when you can get large dollops of excitement and exasperation and you really don’t know what’s going to happen next? Except, a goal is quite likely. At either end.

Defenders and defending - or lack of it - have been prominent amongst Millers talk for some time now. So, it was good to end up talking about them for the right reasons, individually and collectively.

None of this settled-back-four rubbish either. The Millers don’t do them.

Andy Scott changed his starting back four for the 69th* time in the past 15 matches and ended up with back four No 107* in that time when two more changes were made at the interval to discover yet another quartet that hadn’t, somehow, managed to play together before.

Settled back four? Rubik’s Cube made a fortune on fewer combinations than Rotherham have had at the back in the past few months!

Three more changes for this game and another two more at half-time. That’s five from the end of the last match to the end of this one. How many changes has your side’s back four had from last week to this? Or from last month to this come to that!

And, when you consider the changes ahead of the previous game at Shrewsbury (three) and then two more during that game, then that’s 10 changes in two games! Are you still with me?

In recent times we’ve seen three different right-backs; three different left-backs; eight different central defenders (one for just five minutes) and any number of different centre-defence partnerships.

You’d need to be a professor in maths to chart it all and make sense of it. Try taking him through all the permutations and he’d have long since tossed away his mortar board and gown and stalked off scratching his head.

If Andy Scott had been scratching his, then he’d be down to the bone and have worn his nails away.

Yes, it’s leading to some extremely entertaining games, but if the Millers think they can go up conceding goals at the alarming rate they are, then my name’s Vlad the Defender!

Still, you can’t knock goals or the entertainment that ensues and this was, it has to be said, pretty entertaining in a League Two sort of way and pretty combative too.

The finale was thrilling and, amidst all the tongue-in-cheek stuff earlier, you have to note they kept a clean sheet for the final 45 minutes (and that was with a back four that, in its entirety, hadn’t actually played together before because Sam Wood dropped to left-back after half-time for the concussed Jon Harley - and a damn god job he did too).

Rather appropriately it was a defender, Johnny Mullins, who proved the match-winner by scoring twice.

After Hereford could have scored twice in the first five minutes and Lewis Grabban had been denied by a brilliant save and a superb block, Mullins ghosted in at the back post to finish off Alex Revell’s header from a Wood corner.

Steve Leslie missed a good chance before Revell’s shot on the turn from 22 yards surprised the keeper.

Rotherham were in control but Conrad Logan had to pull off a superb save from the dangerous Yoann Arquin.

You sensed all wouldn’t run smoothly at either end, though, and, after Wood might have scored, Arquin pulled one back aided by a deflection off Dale Tonge.

Three minutes from half-time, ex-Miller Delroy Facey looked second favourite as Jason Taylor got back goal-side of him. But with Logan leaving his line, Facey cashed in on some uncertainty and stunned Taylor by hooking his leg ‘through’ him to prod the ball in.

It was no surprise that Taylor - a midfielder selected at the back ahead of a recognised defender - was ‘hooked’ himself at half-time with Michael Raynes going on.

Luke Foster also went on, providing a physical presence in central midfield.

Brett Williams had a great chance for lead restoration three minutes after half-time but was denied by Bartlett and one sensed there was every chance it might be next-goal-winner.

That bit of glory went to Mullins and a fine finish any striker would have treasured as he struck a dropping ball.

All it needed now was for Rotherham to keep Hereford out. They managed it by throwing bodies in the way, stopping crosses, brave headers, last-ditch interventions, nothing better than Mullins blocking Pell’s shot when a goal seemed stitched on.

Everybody chipped in and Logan’s save from Facey confirmed a second successive 3-2 away win in the league.

No-one in the land has scored more than their 24 away from home and only two have conceded more than their 24. That means we’ve seen 48 goals in 11 away games so far. As they say - beat that!

The figures of 69 and 107 are guesstimates. Frankly, I’ve lost count - but they’re not far off!