Rotherham 0 Fulham 1: 5 things we learned

Rotherham’s 30th league defeat of the season meant that their drop from the Sky Bet Championship was confirmed.

Sone Aluko’s goal in the second half gave Fulham a 1-0 win at New York Stadium, though this game will hardly live long in the memory.

However, here is five things we learned from a disappointing day.

Relief of relegation

Rotherham were on death row for weeks, probably since their home defeat to Burton in December and definitely since they failed to sufficiently strengthen their squad in January, so relegation being confirmed is hardly a shock. It’s not nice to be the first team in the country to be relegated this season but there is a sense of relief about it. It has been hanging over the club like a dark cloud and subconsciously might have been affecting the players. Now, they can play with freedom and we might just see an upturn in results. Might.

Paul Warne got it wrong

The debate into whether Paul Warne is suited to the manager’s job on a permanent basis will rage on, especially if Wednesday’s announcement goes in his favour – we’re not getting into that here. But one thing Warne is definitely not in the right about is his assertion that he is responsible for the relegation. Whatever limitations he may have as a manager or no matter how bad results have been under him, this mess started a long time ago and the root cause runs a lot deeper than his caretaker stay. He might be the subject of plenty of angst in the next few days so the least he should do is go easy on himself.

 

Danny Ward doing his best to play in League One next season

Those early-season days of Danny Ward banging the goals in seem a long time ago as his barren run of form continues and he is so bad in front of goal at the minute that you expect him to miss rather than score. Ward had a glaring chance to put the Millers in front after just two minutes but he planted a free header from six yards wide while he also had two quickfire opportunities in the second half. The header, as with his double miss at Wolves three weeks ago, proved costly. Ward has had 35 shots since his last league goal against Wigan on Boxing Day. On this evidence, the Millers are going to get nowhere near the £5million they priced him at in January.

The season in a nutshell

It is perhaps fitting that a defeat like this was the one to condemn the Millers to the drop as it was a game that we have seen countless times this season. They were entirely competitive throughout, but missed chances at key times and then were picked off and unable to get back into it. It’s been one of the themes of this miserable campaign.

 

From the notebook

– We’ve all become desensitised to defeat this season but this one was made even easier to take by the fact that it hinders a certain local club’s promotion hunt. Time to do more damage on Tuesday.

–  Talking of which, given the drop has been on the cards for most of the season, isn’t it nice to get it out of the way before the Sky TV cameras come for the visit of the Owls?

– So, a midfielder played at right-back to cover a right-back who played at left-back while a left-back that cost £300,000 was on the bench!

– Say what you want about Darnell Fisher, and there is plenty to be said, but one thing he excels at is his ability to make the most of challenges and win a free-kick. The rest should take note.

– It was impossible for referee Tim Robinson to be as bad as last time we saw him at Hillsborough and given he didn’t give two match-defining decisions against the Millers, his performance has to be considered an improvement. Still, we’re not exactly counting down the days until we meet this picky whistle-happy official again.

– Will Lee Frecklington ever be able to go more than five matches without getting injured again?

– The fans had the entertainment of a pitch invader to cheer in the second half. The jaunt from the home end to in front of the away goal means he has covered more yards than Dexter Blackstock this season.

 

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