Rotherham enjoyed a rare away-day success as they beat Rochdale 1-0 at Spotland, to wrack up a sixth win out of eight games.
Richard Wood scored his first goal of the season as the Millers put in an impressive display in horrific conditions in Lancashire.
Here’s five things from the game.
Learning how to win ugly
The Millers have been accused this season of not being able to grind it out away from home, but they put that right at Rochdale. In testing conditions, Paul Warne’s men produced a gritty display to nullify their hosts, yet also finding a way to win against a side determined to make the game scrappy. It was a brilliant defensive performance, full of bravery and spirit, and they carried the usual threat going forward. Whatever happens at the end of this season, this game won’t be remembered as fondly as the five-fors at home, but it could be just as important.
Something about Spotland
The three points – and the nature of them – could be a good omen as Rotherham have history of grinding it out in Rochdale and going on to win promotion. In 1999-00, Jason White scored the scrappiest of goals in a 1-0 backs-against-the-wall win on the way to Division Three success under Ronnie Moore and then on the Millers’ most recent visit in 2013, Steve Evans’ side won it with a last-gasp goal from Courtney Cameron. Promotion was won that season also so, will it be third time lucky?
— Jonathan Veal (@jonathandveal83) October 7, 2017
Richard O’Donnell showed some character
Having lost his place to Marek Rodak earlier in the season after some unconvincing moments, Richard O’Donnell bounced back to produce arguably his most commanding performance for the Millers. In the most horrific of conditions, the type to make any keeper nervous, O’Donnell was confident, assured and safe throughout. While he only had one real save to make, a brilliant punch to deny Ian Henderson, the rest of his work was exemplary, commanding his area well, strong kicking and safe handling. Rodak may well come back into the team next week, but O’Donnell at least gave Paul Warne something to think about.
Great win away from home…ground out the win at a tough place. Love it @w00dy16 ????
— Richard O'Donnell (@RichODonnell23) October 7, 2017
Darren Potter and the Prince of passing
Kieffer Moore is getting all of the headlines, but Darren Potter is probably emerging as the real signing of the summer so far. The midfielder is a cool and collected customer and it has such a soothing effect on the rest of his team. He was in his element at Spotland, often playing the Millers out of trouble with a slick pass or brilliant touch, while also getting stuck in with some important tackles. He was a clear man of the match.
From the notebook
– Lee Frecklington looked visibly distraught as he limped off in the second minute with an injury. He’s had a tough time of it in the last two years, fingers crossed this isn’t serious.
– Rochdale were a cynical team, hell bent on stopping Rotherham play and using fouls to do it. They gave away 20 free-kicks over the course of the game and referee David Coote probably overlooked just as many.
– Tactics like that had helped Rochdale go 523 minutes without conceding a goal and you can see why. Richard Wood ended that run, though, and had the Millers been more clinical, there could have been more on the break.
– There were 1,221 Rotherham boys making all the noise at Spotland. A more deserving set of fans to see an away win you could not wish for.
– It was a nice moment for Wood to get the winner. He’s fought his way back into the side (again) and has helped steel the Millers up at the back. He doesn’t always get it right in the opposition box, but he produced a brilliant stooping header to win this one.
– One for the anoraks… In that 1999-00 game at Spotland, Keith Hill played for Rochdale and Paul Warne played for the Millers.
– The excellent defensive means that not only did the Millers claim just their second away win since April 2016, it is also the first time they have recorded back-to-back clean sheets since then as well, when they beat MK Dons 4-0 and then drew 0-0 against Nottingham Forest.
– Just a word for Keith Hill, who was wearing a beanie hat, puffer jacket and jeans. He looked like he’d gone out shopping with his wife and ended up in the Rochdale dugout.
– Kudos to the man in charge of playing the pre-match songs. He busted out some belters including Oasis, Coldplay, the Courteeners, Stone Roses, the Sex Pistols and the Kinks. Any chance you can send the playlist to the AESSEAL New York Stadium?