Rotherham United: Warne's dressing-room blast after defeat ... Charlton 3 Millers 1
Snow in Rotherham, a bleak outlook in Charlton.
Some supporters failed to make it to London, kept at home by winter weather in spring which stopped them reaching their coach pick-up point.
It turned out they were the lucky ones as Rotherham United suffered an Easter-Monday mauling at the hands of play-off rivals Charlton Athletic.
With six matches to go, the Millers will do well to hang on to fourth place if they turn in many more performances like this. The gap to fifth-placed Peterborough United is now five points.
The Millers hit the bar after just 46 seconds through Will Vaulks and looked dangerous until Charlton took a 26th-minute lead, but the slope from there was as slippery as the conditions back in South Yorkshire.
A first-half strike by Michal Zyro - an Easter gift from Rotherham who fluffed a routine chance to clear - and two goals in 11 minutes after the break from Joe Aribo did the damage.
Richard Wood, one of three changes to the side as manager Paul Warne discarded his usual 4-4-2 formation, bundled in a 76th-minute consolation but it was too little too late.
“I don’t hammer my players in the press as I don’t think that is right,” said Warne. “But I’ve told them in the dressing room what I think.
“We started really well, looked fresh and I was pleased. But Charlton’s first goal was a shambles from our point of view. That gave them confidence as the home team and changed the nature of the game.”
The Adddicks became the first team to do the double this season over Warne’s men who have now lost four of their last six matches.
The game was less than a minute old when Rotherham almost took the lead. Vaulks crashed a shot on to the bar from just inside the penalty area after Joe Newell crossed from the left and Ryan Williams set up the midfield man.
Vaulks threatened again, after nine minutes, side-footing over from the edge of the box following a fine run down the right and cut-back by Anthony Forde.
Confusion reigned in the 20th minute when referee Graham Horwood appeared to award the home side a penalty because of handball by Richard Wood only to then decide the Rotherham centre-half had been fouled.
Eight minutes later, the Millers had only themselves to blame as they fell behind. Matt Palmer lost possession by dwelling on the ball in the Charlton half, the Addicks broke and Josh Emmanuel headed a routine clearance straight to Zyro who finished clinically from 20 yards.
The visitors found themselves further behind in the 54th minute when Joe Aribo had time and space in the box to glance home Rotherham old boy Jake Forster-Caskey’s free-kick.
When Aribo drove forward from the halfway line and hammered his 65th-minute shot past Marek Rodak, the game was up, even though Wood, following up Michael Smith’s parried header, reduced the arrears.
Warne was particularly angry at the killer second goal. “You have to be able to defend a wide free-kick, and we didn’t,” he said. “Charlton were better than us in both boxes.”
Only Rodak saves from Stephy Mavididi and Ben Reeves in time added on prevented a fourth Charlton goal.
While there was no public condemnation of his side, the boss kept his players behind for more than 40 minutes after the match.
Snow in Rotherham, a big chill in the changing room.
Charlton (4-4-2): Amos; Konsa, Bauer, Pearce, Dasilva; Reeves, Forster-Caskey, Aribo, Fosu (Kaikai 18); Ajose (Mavididi), Zyro (Magennis 84). Subs not used: Phillips, Marshall, Sarr, Dijksteel.
Rotherham (4-4-1-1): Rodak; Emmanuel, Ajayi, Wood, Purrington (Lavery 84); Forde (Taylor 67), Vaulks, Palmer, Newell; Williams; Smith. Subs not used: Price, Cummings, Ihiekwe, Wiles, Ball.
Goals: Zyro 28, Aribo 54, 65 (Charlton).
Referee: Graham Horwood (Luton).
Attendance: 11,871 (636).