They started like one of the better rides at Blackpool Pleasure beach: fast and furious, leaving their opponents in a total spin.
They ended it like they’d been on the waltzer once too often: reeling and with a feeling of nausea.
For the second time in a month, Rotherham had thrown away a winning position against the Championship’s bottom club.
It seemed they were on their way to a seven-point Christmas when Emmanuel Ledesma twisted on to his ‘wrong’ right foot in the 57th minute and coolly slotted the ball across goal into the far corner - his first strike for the club.
But, with just six minutes remaining, Blackpool debutant Dom Telford somehow bundled the ball in for an undeserved equaliser.
Last month five minutes had been left when Millers keeper Adam Collin so infamously “fresh-aired” to gift the Seasiders a draw
It had been a first half of complete domination for the Millers.
From the first minute, Rotherham simply battered the club who are bottom of the Championship. 4-0 at half-time wouldn’t have flattered them. 6-0 would have been a fair reflection of what had gone before. 0-0? Scarcely believable
You feared the 17th-minute penalty miss by Tom Lawrence, after the youngster had won the spot-kick himself, might just come back to haunt them, and so it proved.
Ledesma’s well-saved free-kick after three minutes kicked off proceedings, and within two more minutes Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jordan Bowery, paired together up front, had threatened goals.
Seasiders goalkeeper Joe Lewis pushed out Lawrence’s shot as it was bending into the far-right corner, then pulled off a stunning save to deny the recalled Lee Frecklington after Lawrence’s clever delay and feed.
Lawrence, presented with a golden chance to score the goal his play deserved, sent a poor spot-kick to the left of Lewis who gratefully saved.
The pitch was a throwback to the 70s, wet, muddy and cutting up, light years from the playing surface at New York Stadium and containing almost as much sand as the nearby beach, but it didn’t stop the Millers playing some decent stuff.
Blackpool couldn’t control Lawrence or Clarke-Harris, while Ledesma and Frecklington were constant threats.
The Millers signed off the first half with Ledesma shooting wide, Frecklington volleying over, Bowery hitting the post and Smallwood testing Lewis as the number of chances went well past double figures.
Rotherham had made three changes to the team which had fought back to draw 2-2 at home to Huddersfield on Boxing Day.
Midfielders Ben Pringle and Paul Green were on the bench along with striker, Alex Revell with Frecklington, Bowery and Jonson Clarke-Harris coming in.
The Millers, although Blackpool hit the post soon after the break through Andrea Orlandi, were also comfortably the better side in the second half and Clarke-Harris was agonisingly close to a second which would have killed off the contest. Sadly, Ledesma’s goal didn’t turn out to be the Big One.
But it speaks volumes about the flow of the game that the home keeper was named man of the match.
Blackpool: Lewis, McMahon, Clarke, O’Dea, Dunne, Mellis (Waddington 69), O’Hara, Perkins (Orlandi 22), Murphy, Delfounseo, Eagles (Telford 66). Subs: Parish, Lundstram, Foley, O’Keefe.
Rotherham United: Collin, Wootton, Morgan, Arnason, James, Ledesma (Revell 72), Smallwood, Frecklinton, Lawrence, Bowery, Clarke-Harris (Newton 78). Subs: Thompson, Skarz, Green, Pringle, Yates.
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