During the pre-match warm-up for their Carabao Cup clash at Huddersfield, there was a hint of what was to come for Rotherham.
The Millers were practising their shooting and striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, during a routine drill, sent an effort way off target from around 15 yards.
Fast-forward a couple of hours later and, at the same end, something similar happened. But this time it wasn’t practice and it was far more embarrassing as he somehow blazed wide from just seven yards with the goal at his mercy.
So bad was the miss that the striker felt compelled to apologise to both his team-mates and the fans. It really was a howler, and every time you watch the replay, you are convinced he will score.
As well as leaving himself red faced, Clarke-Harris most importantly wasted the chance to send the second-round tie to extra-time, which was the least the Millers deserved after a valiant effort against the Premier League new boys.
Sorry to all off the fans that had to witness that terrible miss once again feels like iv let everyone down😞
— jonson clarke-harris (@ClarkeHarris) August 23, 2017
Despite making eight changes from the side that performed well at Peterborough at the weekend, the Millers went toe-to-toe with Huddersfield, who will be breathing a sigh of relief they scraped through.
Helped by taking a lead with the game barely a minute old, through Semi Ajayi’s header, Paul Warne’s men set about the Terriers, harassing them, matching them physically and providing them plenty of problems going forward.
It was only a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half that undid them. Phillip Billing levelled from the spot after some shirt-pulling from Dominic Ball and then two minutes later Joe Lolley swept home a nice move to put David Wagner’s men in front.
After that, it was only going to be Rotherham that scored again. Clarke-Harris recreated his earlier practice miss when he skied a volley from 16 yards, while Moore should have made it five goals in five games this season when he slid in at the far post, but goalkeeper Joel Coleman somehow blocked it.
The final 10 minutes was sustained away pressure as Will Vaulks had a goal disallowed before Clarke-Harris’ moment came.
Instead of applying a controlled finish, he went into Clarke-Harris mode, blasting the ball as hard as he could. Much like for most of his Millers career, it didn’t go his way.
From the notebook
– If Clarke-Harris is wanting to leave or if Warne is wanting to ship him out, they can both take solace that any scouts watching will have left by the time his miss came around.
– Rotherham might need a new goalkeeper. Richard O’Donnell has let in eight goals this season and for all-but two of them there are question marks of differing degrees over him. Huddersfield’s second was the latest as Lolley’s shot, albeit coming through a crowd of bodies, went underneath his arm.
– Warne made eight changes to his side and most of them put their hand up for a starting place against Charlton. Richard Wood, Shaun Cummings, Jon Taylor and Anthony Forde particularly stood out.
– Huddersfield defender Michael Hefele might come up against the likes of Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane this season, but ask him in May who his toughest opponent was and he may well say Jamie Proctor. The Millers number 9 gave the German a torrid time
– Away days really aren’t much fun. That’s 28 without victory in all competitions now, while the Millers have not won away in the League Cup since beating Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in 2008. You have to go back to 2002 for they last time they did it in 90 minutes.