5 talking points from Rotherham’s 3-2 defeat at MK Dons

Rotherham suffered back-to-back defeats as they lost 3-2 to MK Dons on Tuesday.

It was a desperately disappointing showing despite taking an early lead through Semi Ajayi as Robbie Muirhead’s double and a Peter Pawlett effort gave the hosts the win, with Jon Taylor notching a late effort.

Here’s five talking points from the game.

A blip can’t become a slump

When Joe Newell stuck home the last gasp penalty to beat Doncaster in thrilling fashion, not many people would have thought talk of a slump would have been possible just two games later. But two defeats to teams in the bottom four have brought the Millers back down to earth. This was another disappointing display against the Dons as Paul Warne’s men failed to recreate the level they reached during their unbeaten run. Some sort of dip was always going to come after such a brilliant period and no one’s reaching for the panic button yet, but as we saw earlier in the campaign this Millers team are capable of getting on a poor run and that is something they can’t allow to happen. The sooner a positive result is achieved the better.

A return to the dark days

During the 14-game run, the Millers’ defensive record was among the best in the league and a settled back four saw the ridiculous errors that blighted them pre-Christmas eradicated. But the defensive showing at MK was a throwback to the darker days, with all three goals coming from slapdash defending. The Millers back four struggled to cope with Chuks Aneke and they were repeatedly cut open.

Cummings and goings

Two of the goals came down the Millers’ right and that draws attention to Warne’s decision to drop Josh Emmanuel in favour of Shaun Cummings. Warne was unhappy with Emmanuel’s display against Rochdale and felt he needed a rest. So in came Cummings for a first appearance since Blackpool in mid-December and the right-back struggled to impress. Both of Robbie Muirhead’s goals came from his side and he looked second best throughout. Emmanuel will surely be back in the team at Northampton.

Things could have been different

There were two moments in the game where if the Millers had really taken it by the scruff of the neck then things would have been different. Firstly after scoring so early, against a team that had not won this year, if they had shown some quality and game management they could have easily put MK out of the game. Instead there was an air of complacency about them. Then when Jon Taylor had given his side hope with 15 minutes to go the Dons should have been on the ropes, but the Millers were not good enough to pen their hosts in and it was in fact them that looked like conceding again.

From the notebook

– There were simply too many players having off days for the Millers to have any chance of winning. In fact, when the discussion of who might be man of the match came up in the press box there was no obvious answer

– For so much of the last few weeks the focus has been on a possible bid for the top two. Now after two defeats and two wins for Peterborough the Millers are looking over their shoulder to teams chasing the top six.

– MK Dons without a win since December 30. Manager Dan Micciche taken two points in his first eight games. Here come Rotherham to help out. Classic.

– As poor as the Millers were they still had chances to take something out of the game. We still haven’t worked out how Lee Nicholls managed to tip Semi Ajayi’s header on to the crossbar while Michael Smith out a similar chance over and Nicholls also saved from Joe Newell.



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