6 times Rotherham were heroic after having men sent off

The most successful Rotherham sides are known for their spirit and battling qualities, especially when the odds are against them.

Often some of their best displays have come when they have had a numerical disadvantage.

Here are five of the most heroic performances when they have had men sent off in matches.

 

Northampton 0 Rotherham 1 – 2000-01

Rotherham were in the early part of something special when they visited Northampton in the 2000-01 Division Two season and arrived in fourth position and on a five-game unbeaten run. That came under severe threat in just the 15th minute when Guy Branston was sent off for a second yellow card after upending Marco Gabbiadini.

Striker Mark Robins was sacrificed for defender Chris Beech and the resolute Millers went on to put in one of their most famous performances of Ronnie Moore’s first spell in charge. After weathering an immediate storm, Stewart Talbot gave them a precious lead when he drilled home from the edge of the area and then came one of the great backs-to-the-wall displays as the Millers repelled everything Northampton had to throw at them and saw it out to earn a memorable three points.

Wrexham 0 Rotherham 1 – 2000-01

A familiar theme was developing as just three games after the Northampton match, the Millers again found themselves up against it after Branston had been sent off midway through the second half. This time it was an FA Cup visit to Wrexham and they were already in front, having taken the lead through Alan Lee’s goal just before half-time.

Wrexham, who were struggling in the same division as the Millers, had around 25 minutes to try and force a leveller that would earn a replay but again Moore’s men kept their opponents at bay and held out for the win, kicking off a cup run which would end at Liverpool in the third round.

 

Rotherham 4 Norwich 4 – 2003-04

Another Branston red card, another amazing performance by his team-mates. Three days after Rotherham were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by Northampton with Manchester United waiting in the next round, they welcomed league leaders Norwich to Millmoor and one of the greatest games of Moore’s spell ensued.

A frantic first 45 minutes meant it was 2-2 going into first-half stoppage time and then Darren Huckerby took a theatrical tumble in the penalty area and converted the penalty, much to the chagrin of Branston, who was dismissed in the tunnel at half-time for fighting with Leon McKenzie. Boss Moore was also dismissed for his part in the scuffle and the Millers were staring down the barrel in the second half.

But they again tore up the script and in a display for the ages they drew level at 3-3 as Martin Butler completed a perfect hat-trick. It then got even better in the 75th minute when John Mullin slammed home a loose ball to give Rotherham a 4-3 lead and send Millmoor wild. The footballing gods were set against Rotherham winning, though, and Damian Francis earned Norwich, who went on to win promotion, a point in heartbreaking fashion, when he slammed home in the 89th minute.

Rotherham 2 Leeds 1 – 2015-16

Rotherham had the wood over Leeds, having been unbeaten in their last five league games against them. The Whites’ visit to the AESSEAL New York Stadium in April 2016 was enhanced by a host of sub-plots that included a first return for Steve Evans, Neil Warnock coming up against his former club and the Millers being in the midst of their great escape from relegation.

Warnock had worked miracles and his side had won four of their last five games and looked good against Leeds following a 27th-minute Lee Frecklington goal. But they had the rug pulled from under their feet just after the hour when Matt Derbyshire was dismissed and the writing looked on the wall soon after when Leeds levelled through Luke Murphy’s fortuitous goal.

However, the Millers weathered an Evans-inspired storm and in the final minute of normal time, produced a counter-attack that saw Frecklington fouled in the area and Greg Halford slotted home the penalty to set off amazing scenes.

Shrewsbury 2 Rotherham 1 – 1997-98

Although this game ended in defeat for Rotherham, it is noteworthy due to the utterly unbelievable string of events. In Ronnie Moore’s first season in charge, they lost goalkeeper Bobby Mimms to a head injury in only the second minute. In the days of just three substitutes, defender Neil Richardson had to go in net – not an ideal start. Shrewsbury took advantage soon after when Devon White put them ahead before both men were reduced to 10 men in the 21st minute when Vance Warner and Lee Steele were dismissed for scrapping.

Things got worse for the Millers in the 45th minute when Lee Glover also saw red for a flying arm and the Millers were really up against it. They kept Shrewsbury at bay until more drama in the 83rd minute as Richardson was sent off for a foul which saw midfielder Steve Thompson go in goal and the hosts double their lead from the spot. With the Millers down to eight men they somehow found a way back into the game with a fine solo goal from Jason White but they could not produce a leveller.

Barnsley 1 Rotherham 1 – 2005-06

Rotherham were almost able to overcome one of the most rage-inducing refereeing performances of all time and claim three points in a South Yorkshire derby, but instead had to settle for one.

Writing about it remains too painful, even 12 years on, so we’re going to direct you to the last time we did by urging you to click here.

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