Match report: Freck the halls! Lee Frecklington’s late equaliser rescues a point for Rotherham United against rivals Huddersfield

Lee Frecklington celebrates after equalising for the Millers
Lee Frecklington celebrates after equalising for the Millers

It looked like this Yorkshire derby would be like one of those Christmas parties which promise so much only to deliver so little.

A full house at New York Stadium, festive cheer in abundance after the great win at Wigan, then Huddersfield gatecrash the proceedings to lead 2-0 and the game looks surely up.

But we all reckoned without the arrival of two late guests to get everybody in the mood again.

Jonson Clarke-Harris came on as a second-half substitute to hand the Millers a lifeline with a headed goal in the 88th minute.

And fellow sub Lee Frecklington supplied the mistletoe moment in the last minute of regulation time, his shot screaming in from just outside the area.

It was a draw that felt like a win. Merry Christmas, everybody!

There had appeared no way back for Steve Evans’ men after James Vaughan’s 35th-minute tap-in for Town and a 61st-minute header from former Sheffield United man Conor Coady. Credit to the home side for hanging in on a day when, until the last-gasp heroics, little had gone right for the them.

Evans had had Rotherham United’s players in for training on Christmas Day so there was never any chance of festive over-indulgence, but this was a Boxing Day clash when the Millers for so long just looked out of sorts.

They came into this match unbeaten in four since Evans’ men embraced the new pass-and-move approach. Huddersfield had failed to score in four of their last five games and had lost their last four away.

But this was a derby clash and in derbies, as everyone knows, the formbook so often counts for nothing.

Town were well worth their two-goal lead as Rotherham misfired, with too many passes going astray and any slick interchanges happening too far from the Town penalty area.

The Terriers could have added to their tally, but Clarke-Harris’s header lifted the atmosphere and New York erupted two minutes later when Frecklington, so often the goal saviour in last year’s promotion campaign, fired in his first of the season via a deflection. In truth, this was by far the worst Rotherham have played since the advent of Evans’ brave new world five games ago, and the manager won’t use the grandstand finish to gloss over what had gone before. But, vitally, they emerged from a game that looked lost with momentum intact.

Next up is an away trip to bottom club Blackpool tomorrow, where they will surely play better and more points are on offer. Win there and the Millers would be close to midtable, and what a party that would be for them and their 2,000 travelling fans.