The man who deprived Rotherham United of a deserved point last weekend admits that the Millers were “unlucky” to concede a stoppage-time penalty at Plymouth Argyle.
Paul Warne’s fourth-placed side, already assured of their spot in the League One play-offs, went down 2-1 at Home Park when Graham Carey stepped up to convert a 91st-minute spot-kick.
Referee Darren Handley pointed to the spot when Carey tumbled under a challenge by Will Vaulks, but replays suggested Vaulks’ tackle was a fair one.
Carey said: “I think he (Vaulks) was a bit unlucky. He kind of slipped but he did catch me and then got the ball.
“It’s fair play to the ref, in that situation, to give a penalty, which I think it was.”
Vaulks said afterwards he had taken the ball but accepted that by going to ground he could have swayed the official’s decision.
Argyle, who are at Scunthorpe United tonight, still harbour play-off ambitions of their own and know they will face a tough test if they are paired with Rotherham in the end-of-season promotion showdown.
The Millers recovered from a shaky start at Home Park to take a 33rd-minute lead through Richie Towell and created a number of other chances. They also had two ‘goals’ ruled out for offside.
“In the first half we created a lot of problems for Rotherham,” Carey added. “We got punished by making one mistake. They were clinical. They are a good team.”
Warne’s men wrap up their regular season at home to Blackpool this Saturday. They are on course to finish fourth, with Scunthorpe the only team left with a mathematical chance of catching them.
Warne, who has led the Millers into the top six in his first full campaign in charge, was last night named Manager of the Year at the Star’s Football Awards held at the Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Sheffield. Chairman Tony Stewart won the ‘Special Achievement’ prize.
Vaulks beat off competition from fellow midfielder Towell and left-back Joe Mattock to be named the Star’s Millers Player of the Year.