MATCH REPORT: Barnet 0 Rotherham United 0

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You can get a semi for £620,000. Might need its chimney cleaning now and again but it sure ain’t scruffy.

As the Millers sought a first away win amidst some decent displays (a horror 30 minutes at Vale Park apart), they wouldn’t mind how they got it.

Scruffy or snappy, it didn’t matter. It’s the win that mattered. And, against bottom-of-the-table who had one point from seven games, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

It was certainly black and white for Millers followers. They looked at the respective clubs, the great expectation and hopes of one and the struggles of the other, and reckoned nothing less than a win was satisfactory.

However, as we keep seeing, what’s on paper counts for next to nothing when the whistle goes at 3pm.

At about 3.35pm (Rotherham did pick up towards half-time) you’d have been hard-pressed to say which was which. On the first-half evidence, Rotherham weren’t within a country mile of a top-three side.

The big improvement going uphill in the second half was welcome and much-needed. But Barnet defended doggedly and, in the final minutes with Rotherham reduced to 10 men, the home side were going all out for their first win.

The first half would have provided more questions than answers for TV viewer Steve Evans.

Not least of the problems were posed by Ricky Holmes, a small, rather lightweight, nimble striker who (see Remember This) has an uncanny physical resemblance to Lionel Messi.

He skipped about, lively and bright, troubling Rotherham throughout the first half and on a few threatening occasions in the second.

At one time there wasn’t a great future in the league’s basement division for small, lightweight forwards. They got a clattering time after time from giant defenders intent on destruction and it was difficult to show off skills.

But we are seeing more and more smaller and quicker players, encouraged by the stricter refereeing interpretation, able to make a mark without fear of being kicked off the park.

From the opening two minutes when the excellent Craig Morgan cut out a pass intended to send Holmes clear, the Barnet striker was the main problem for Rotherham to try and get to grips with. Just as Morgan proved the most stubborn obstacle to Barnet.

Indeed, it was rather appropriate that the final act of the game, as it moved into stoppage time’s fifth minute, featured both players.

Holmes, pouncing on a loose ball, went into the area as he took on Ian Sharps and got away his shot only for Morgan to have materialised right behind his fellow defender to divert the effort behind.

Barnet’s attacking threat and their sharpness in the first half only served to emphasise Rotherham’s lack of both as they went down the slope in the first half.

By the 13th minute Rotherham had changed tack. The 4-3-1-2 became 4-4-2 with 18-year-old debutant Mitchell Rose switched from the left side of three to the right flank of a four.

He looked happier there and he provoked some second-half threat, including a blocked goalbound shot, before being replaced.

Barnet belied their lowly position in the first half; their passing was crisper and they had chances, with Jake Hyde flashing a header close and Scott Shearer denying Holmes after he skipped past Sharps.

Morgan saved matters after Holmes threaded left-back Jordan Brown through, Hyde wasted a chance and the half ended with Holmes forcing another sharp save from Shearer.

Going uphill after the break, Rotherham showed immediate improvement and threat.

Alex Revell’s header from Ben Pringle’s free-kick was somehow kept out by Graham Stack’s right hand when a goal looked inevitable.

He also saved well from Kieran Agard while Lionel Ainsworth had an on-target effort blocked by Barry Fuller’s desperate lunge.

Shearer’s top-corner save from Fuller was his highlight while Holmes drilled an angled 18 yarder inches wide.

Revell’s red card 10 minutes from time was for sliding in on David Stephens as he cleared the ball and, apparently, catching him. Perhaps Revell was bemused if he later saw Chelsea’s David Luiz get away with a just booking from Michael Oliver for something far more dangerous.

The red card for Revell - and a three-game ban - was no surprise, however, as refs show little leniency. They simply apply the strict letter of the law. Well, in League Two they do!

Barnet threw on two late subs as they sensed a late winner. Rotherham, now close to a first away clean sheet, snuffed them out.

On the way back to the station, came the most remarkable sight of my afternoon. A chimney sweep - or at least his van on a scrunchy drive, back doors open but with the guy nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps he was getting scruffy up a chimney somewhere. Which means there was something scruffy in New Barnet, not just the point for the Millers!