Swansea City 4 Rotherham United 3: Handball drama for Millers as they suffer blow in relegation scrap

After a Good Friday that was about as bad as it gets, Rotherham are going to need a resurrection of biblical proportions if they are to beat the drop.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 1:20 pm
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 9:21 pm
Paul Warne, manager of Rotherham United (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Paul Warne, manager of Rotherham United (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

At half-time of their match at Swansea things were looking great as they led 2-1 and Wigan, down to 10 men, were losing at promotion-chasing Leeds.

The Millers were out of the relegation zone and Championship survival was on the horizon.

But a horrendous 45 minutes, which looks likely to seal their fate, saw them crash to a 4-3 defeat at the Liberty Stadium, while Wigan, inexplicably, came from behind to beat the West Yorkshire side.

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It leaves Paul Warne's men three points behind Millwall, who have a game in hand, and five behind Wigan, with three games to go.

The boss knows only three wins from three can save them.

“It's hugely disappointing being the manager of the team that lost, but I'm not disappointed in the performance,” Warne said.

“ It's unfortunate we've come away with nothing.

“We’ve got three games left. I don’t know if we’ll survive, but we have to win all three.”

The Millers were dreaming of what would be a great escape when goals from Michael Ihiekwe and Matt Crooks, either side of Ollie McBurnie's leveller put them in front at the break.

But a shocking start to the second half saw them concede goals to Barrie McKay, George Byers and another from McBurnie to take the game away from them.

Will Vaulks' late effort gave the Millers hope, but they could not find an equaliser their performance perhaps deserved.

And Warne was left with a sour taste in his mouth after he felt Swansea's decisive third goal should have been chalked out for handball.

“You'll not be surprised to know I think it was handball,” said Warne. “Throughout the season we've had some bad luck as all clubs have, but I've never seen my players react the way they did.“The fact it was the only goal of seven not to be played on the big screens speaks volumes.

“When I watch it back on the bus on the way home I could be wrong, but I'll be amazed if I am. I think it hit his (Kyle Naughton’s) arm and was deflected away from our goalkeeper.”

Swansea: Nordfeldt; Roberts, Van der Hoorn, Carter-Vickers, Naughton, Fulton (Byers 46), Grimes, McKay (Rodon 75), Routledge (Baker-Richardson 89), James, McBurnie

Unused subs: Dyer, Benda, Asoro, John

Rotherham: Rodak; Vyner, Ihiekwe, Robertson, Mattock; Ajayi (Towell 57); Taylor (Williams 79), Vaulks, Crooks (Wiles 82), Forde; Smith

Unused: Wood, Price, Vassell, Newell

Attendance: 18,527

Referee: Keith Stroud