A catastrophic start to the second half by Rotherham, who had three players sent off in the opening 15 minutes at Clifton Lane, was largely responsible for the Titans’ consecutive home defeat and one that prevented them regaining a place in the top four of the Championship.
At one point, Rotherham were incredibly down to 12 men after yellow cards on 41, 46 and 50 minutes against winger Curtis Wilson and forwards Tom Holmes and Marshall Gadd respectively who were dismissed for 10 minutes.
To make matters worse, Rotherham’s indiscipline deteriorated further when hooker Tom Cruse received a red card on 60 minutes, so Rotherham were down to 14 men as they tried to overhaul Moseley’s narrow 21-17 lead.
So in a game which Rotherham began brightly by leading 14-0 after only 12 minutes ended in a disappointing defeat and as coach Lee Blackett said later:
“Our discipline is just not good enough and a lack of it cost us dearly.We now have to look at ourselves, we gave too many penalties away at the scrum and three of the Moseley tries came from driving mauls which is another area we have to look at.
“A lot of credit must go to Moseley, but the first 15 minutes of the second half were crazy, but the defeat is also about how we played after a comfortable start.
“Let’s not blame the officials. Our indiscipline is killing us. Now we have to concentrate on our next league game at Doncaster. Some of their players were watching us and I know they’ll now fancy their chances.”
Not surprisingly the referee, Mr Craig Maxwell-Keys, was not the most popular figure at Clifton Lane; many spectators and no doubt the Rotherham players, too, could not understand why he failed to award a penalty try to the Titans deep into injury time as Moseley were clinging on to their lead of 26-22.
Moseley were penalised four times close to their line as the Rotherham scrum tried hard to break through to score the match winning points.
But remarkably the referee did not see fit to award a second penalty try against the Birmingham side who survived several minutes of sustained Rotherham pressure.
The referee may or may not have been at fault, but it would be wrong to blame him for this defeat. Moseley defended well and stopped the Titans producing fluent moves that seriously threatened the visitors for long periods.
Following an excellent start in which they scored two tries by centre Lloyd Hayes and a penalty try, Rotherham declined and were prevented from touching down again..by full back Sean Scanlon..until 71 minutes.
Moseley, meanwhile, had scored four tries and overall as, Blackett acknowledged, deserved their win, a victory that raises several questions about Rotherham’s approach which must improve significantly if they are to achieve success in the South Yorkshire at Castle Park a week on Sunday.
After this defeat, Rotherham have played nine Championship matches, winning five and losing four, and remain in the top half of the league table.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Keating, Hayes, J. Davies, Wilson, McKinney, A. Davies, Hislop, Cruse, Tampin, Maddison, Holmes, Argyle, Birch, Ryan.
Replacements: Preece, Gadd, Thiede, Parker, Rieder, White, Barrett.
Scorers: Tries: Hayes, penalty, Scanlon. Conversions: McKinney 2.Penalty: McKinney.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.