They were booed off for a 2-2 draw on Saturday. Tonight, 10-man Rotherham United were cheered off for the same scoreline as they fought back against the odds against Nottingham Forest.
On a crazy evening at New York Stadium, the Millers led 1-0 through Jon Taylor’s first goal for the club, cruelly fell behind 2-1 late on as Darnell Fisher was wrongly sent off but then somehow rallied for Taylor to grab a deserved equaliser with three minutes to go.
The draw against Bristol City last weekend drew jeers from supporters and a prickly response from Alan Stubbs. Not this one. Players, manager and fans were all together as Rotherham’s bravery and character in the face of adversity was rewarded.
“It was exciting, disappointing, frustrating,” said Stubbs who stood in his technical area all match urging on his team on a memorable evening. “I felt like I’d run over a black cat at one point. We seemed to be getting punished for everything.
“We played very well for vast amounts of the game. I thought that was our best performance of the season.
“The fans were right behind the team. To get the equaliser was the least we deserved. It’s not about me. I’m all about the players.”
The Millers had led from the 30th minute, when Taylor took full advantage of man of the match Izzy Brown’s surge forward with an assured finish, until Matt Mills scored from close range with 14 minutes to go.
Fisher went for two yellows - the first wholly deserved for a high kick, the second unwarranted for a fair tackle - and Forest were in front seconds later in the 83rd minute when Aspostolos Vellios produced a stunning overhead kick.
But Taylor had been full of running all night and, after substitute Lee Frecklington had won the ball in the 87th minute, the little winger produced a great turn and finish.
Rotherham had switched off a dodgy sound system before half-time, but the volume was turned up to full as home fans celebrated wildly.
Former Rotherham manager Steve Evans, a boss who always demanded 100 per cent commitment, was watching from the press box and must have admired the spirit shown by Stubbs’ men.
Stubbs made three changes to the team which drew against Bristol, bringing in left-back Joe Mattock and midfielders Scott Allan and Tom Adeyemi, with Stephen Kelly and Dominic Ball on the bench and Joe Newell missing out through injury.
Midfielder Frecklington made a welcome return to the squad after finally recovering from the calf problem he suffered on opening day.
After this performance, the Millers, who started the match in the drop zone, are up to 20th in the Championship table and confidence is high going into Saturday’s showdown at struggling, winless Blackburn.
As Stubbs might say, bring it on.
Rotherham United (4-4-2): Camp; Fisher, Fry, Wilson, Mattock; Taylor, Halford, Adeyemi (Frecklington 82), Allan; Brown, Ward (Yates 69, Kelly 84). Subs not used: Price, Vaulks, Forde, Ball.
Nottingham Forest (4-1-2-3 ): Stojkovic, Lichaj, Mills, Perquis (Mancienne H-T), Traore; Kasami; Grant, Lansbury; Osborn, Vellios, Dumitru (Bendtner 59). Subs not used: Smith, Fox, Carayol, Lica, Ahmedhodzic
Goals: Taylor 27, 87 (Rotherham); Mills 76, Vellios 83.
Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).
Attendance: 10,243 (2,138).