Kieffer’s swipe sums up Millers night: Blackburn Rovers 2 Rotherham United 0

Paul Warne
Paul Warne

Maybe the two men of the cloth sat together in the Jack Walker Stand could have said a prayer for Rotherham United.

This was by far the worst performance of the season by Paul Warne’s men

Kieffer Moore took a wild swipe at the ball and summed up an evening of desperate Millers disappointment.

The big striker has been the hottest marksman in League One and has already scored eight goals, but his off-balance attempt in the 54th minute went well, well wide.

The Millers, despite four wins in their previous five games, needed more than an hour to force Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper David Raya to make a save.

Rovers won 2-0 but could have had six as Rotherham, with 18 goals at home this season, failed to score on the road for the third time in five outings.

“I thought, first half, they harried us,” said Warne. “They were more physical and quick-thinking. They outperformed us.

“At half-time, I asked a few individuals to perform better. We can’t come to places like this and perform as poorly as we did first half.”

Rotherham were totally outplayed up to the interval and were lucky to go in only a goal behind.

Marcus Antonsson made a 27th-minute breakthrough for Rovers and the home side could easily have been out of sight by the break.

The Millers had a let-off in the second minute as Dominic Samuel directed his header on to the bar and the woodwork denied the same player 14 minutes later as his cross-goal shot came back off the post.

Rotherham goalkeeper Marek Rodak rescued Darren Potter whose loose pass had let in dangerman Samuel but, from the corner that followed, Antonsson headed Blackburn into a deserved lead.

Too many balls were finding their way into the Millers’ box and weren’t being dealt with well enough.

Antonsson outpaced Will Vaulks on the left in the 45 minutes but Rodak produced a fingertip stop to keep the visitors in the game.

All Rotherham managed in opening period when Rovers keeper David Raya was never tested was a seventh-minute volley by Anthony Forde which went wide.

It took until the 62nd minute for Rotherham to force a save from Raya who pushed away Joe Mattock’s 25-yard effort.

Soon after, he was called into action again to deflect Lee Frecklington’s shot for a corner and the Millers had the ball in the net from the ensuing flag-kick only for referee Mark Heywood to rule out Richard Wood’s header.

“They are probably the strongest team we have played,” Warne added. “After 10 games, that is the best we have come up against.

“We had a little run and if Woody’s header had counted it might have been different. We had a little rally and if we had got a goal then it could have swung.

“I’m not going to annihilate the group. They are a good group. As poor as we started the game, it could have been 1-1.”

Rotherham were better in the second half, but Antonsson should have wrapped up the match for Rovers in the 78th minute only to fire over with just Rodak to beat.

Substitute Harry Chapman did the job for him five minutes from time, breaking through and scoring at the second attempt after a good initial save by Rodak.

Blackburn twice went close to adding a third before ref Heywood put the Millers out of their misery by blowing the final whistle.

The two friends in their white collars left full of smiles. Rovers fans. Shame. It was a night when Rotherham really needed some divine intervention.

Goals: Antonsson 27, Chapman 85 (Blackburn).

Blackburn (4-5-1): Raya; Caddis, Mulgrew, Downing, Williams; Bennett, Smallwood, Dack (Chapman 70), Evans Whittingham 74), Antonsson; Samuel (Hart 79). Subs not used: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Graham, Ward.

Rotherham (4-1-4-1): Rodak; Vaulks, Ihiekwe, Wood, Purrington (Mattock 20); Potter; Forde (Towell 65), Frecklington, Newell (Yates 81), Williams; Moore. Subs not used: O’Donnell, Ajayi, Cummings, Clarke-Harris.

Referee: Mark Heywood (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 10,228 (515).

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