Goal hero Richard Wood has lifted the lid on why his Rotherham United teammates taunted opposition goalkeeper Dean Henderson on their way to toppling League One leaders Shrewsbury Town.
The fourth-placed Millers won 1-0 at New Meadow last Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to 13 matches and close the gap on the top two to four points.
Henderson described himself as “The Greatest” on his Twitter page in the build-up to the match and the Millers weren’t slow to target him when his error led to Wood scoring the only goal.
Will Vaulks made a beeline for the Manchester United loanee as soon as skipper Wood had tapped home Michael Ihiekwe’s header in the 44th minute and Michael Smith had plenty to say when the 20-year-old fluffed a kick in the second half.
“Let’s just say he’s a confident lad,” said Wood after Rotherham had won for the sixth successive match. “He played very well when they beat us at our place, to be fair.
“He’s tried to come out when I scored, flapped at it and got nowhere near it. The lads were just having a word. Will was just reminding him.”
Henderson’s “The Greatest” image had been removed from his Twitter page by this morning.
The Millers, who are at home to South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers at the weekend, were worthy victors at New Meadow where the abrasive Vaulks was one of the top performers.
He and Richie Towell dominated in the middle of the park and the central midfielder showed no sign of backing down when home supporters abused him when he went to take one of the long throw-ins which have become a part of his free-scoring side’s attacking armoury.
“Will’s always in somebody’s ear. It happens in every game,” Wood said. “He’s a good character to have on the pitch.
“You could see it when he went to take a long throw and their fans were having a go. The ref’s had to go over because he’s dancing away while they’re chanting. He’s good at that. You always need players like that in your squad.”
The Millers have scored in 26 consecutive games and have shut out their opponents in four of their last six encounters as they have closed on Shrewsbury, Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers.
But the gap to the automatic promotion places could stretch to seven points again as third-placed Blackburn are at home to Bury tonight. The Shrews, who are five points clear of Rotherham, entertain Gillingham tomorrow.
Wood added: “I’m delighted with the goal - and the clean sheet. It was a good performance on a difficult pitch against the top of the league. It was terrible to play football on.
“The lads, to say we have good players, adapted their style really well. It was just one or two touches and knock it in behind Shrewsbury. The front two (Smith and David Ball) worked their socks off, as usual, and caused them all kinds of problems.”
Wood’s goal came from a cleared corner which winger Anthony Forde played back into the Shrewsbury penalty area.
“We’re strong at set-pieces and long throws,” the centre-half said. “We were causing havoc in their box really. We were maintaining the pressure and it was good to get the goal. We saw the job out in the second half. I was comfortable at 1-0.”