Rotherham United: Why Paul Warne labelled Ollie Rathbone 'brave' after Wigan Athetic draw

Ollie Rathbone’s “bravery” ensured Rotherham kept Wigan at arm’s length in the League One title race.

By Jonathan Veal
Sunday, 20th February 2022, 3:06 pm

Rathbone struck a brilliant 30-yard leveller to earn the league leaders a 1-1 draw against their closest rivals.

The midfielder found the same corner that his former Rochdale team-mate Stephen Humphreys picked out in similar style in the first half.

It needed something like that from Rathbone for the Millers to find a way past their obdurate opponents, who came to AESSEAL New York Stadium intent on making things ugly.

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Wigan Athletic's Stephen Humphrys (left) and Rotherham United's Ollie Rathbone battle for the ball during the Sky Bet League One match at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

Boss Paul Warne adopts a ‘you don’t shoot, you don’t score’ mentality and was pleased Rathbone let loose.

“You have got to be brave enough to take it on because you are going to miss,” he said.

“Not every shot goes in but as soon as he hit it I thought it had a chance and his bravery has got us a point so fair play.”

This was a hard-fought battle between the best two sides in the division and on this evidence both should be celebrating promotion come the end of the season.

Rotherham United's Ollie Rathbone celebrates with his team-mates after scoring against Wigan Athletic at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

Who will finish in top spot remains uncertain, but the Millers remain in pole position, six points ahead of Wigan, who do have two games in hand.

Warne added: “I thought it was two really good teams, full of really good players.

“At times we might have cancelled each other out, no one gave an inch for the whole game.

“Wigan kept us quiet quite well in the first half and in the second half we were in the ascendancy, our keeper didn’t make a save.

“We had to defend well at set-pieces. It was just two wonder strikers, two great goals that were befitting of two teams at the top end of the league.

“If you had offered me a 1-1 after 70 minutes I’d have taken it. Both sets of teams go away happy with a point.”

The Millers are back in action again on Tuesday night as they welcome fourth-bottom Morecambe to the AESSEAL New York Stadium, while closest rivals Wigan travel to face play-off chasing Wycombe Wanderers.