Rotherham produced arguably their best performance of the season on Saturday as they beat play-off chasing Norwich 2-1.
Goals from Jerry Yates and Tom Adeyemi did the trick for Paul Warne’s men in the first game since he became boss until the end of the season.
Here’s five things we learned from the game.
Dreams can come true
Jerry Yates has been on the scene for a while now, but on his first league start the 20-year-old needed only seven minutes to make a name for himself with a cool finish. Not only that but, thrown in at the deep end, he also caused an experienced back four trouble all afternoon in a lone position up front. All less than 24 hours after his granddad died too.
Mixed emotions this weekend, losing my grandad on the Friday but today we dug deep and got the 3 points the boys deserve❤
— Jerry yates (@yates_jerry) January 14, 2017
There were many baffling decisions made during Alan Stubbs’ ill-fated reign, but none more so than allowing Richie Smallwood to leave – proved by his comeback display against Norwich. He did not do anything we haven’t seen countless times before, but he provided some solidity to the midfield that has been missing for most of the season. Welcome home.
Upsetting the odds
Not many people will have given the Millers any chance of three points, especially after seeing the team line-up that was shorn of Danny Ward and Lee Frecklington. But, maybe helped by things going wrong for Norwich, Warne’s men defied the odds and produced a result that surprised many. Warne was involved in countless wins like that as a player and if he can harness a similar sort of spirit in the final 20 games, who knows what could happen.
Warne has turned Rotherham into a very strong home team in his short spell so far, winning three out of four home games, which probably should have been four out of four. He has set the team up to be all-action, athletic, mobile and committed and it has certainly been exciting to watch. If the seemingly impossible is going to be possible, ‘It’s up to you New York, New York’ has never been more applicable and Warne seems to have found a blueprint for success.
The new Frecklington?
In the absence of Frecklington, the Millers have struggled in recent years but Tom Adeyemi showed that there is a new kid on the block. Adeyemi is getting better every week and showcased against Norwich that he can fill the Freck role. He has the energy to get from box-to-box, the speed to join in attack, the physicality to win his challenges and the knack of getting into the box at just the right time. He was deserving of scoring the winning goal and will be a key player from now until the end of the season.
Bits and bobs
– That was the quintessential Rotherham United in the Championship performance. Full of blood and guts, heart, desire and knocking the opposition off their game.
– What is it with Norwich strikers and getting violent at New York? First Lewis Grabban and now Nelson Oliveira. Keep it up lads.
– There’s something comforting about having Kirk Broadfoot and Richard Wood back together in central defence. Makes you shudder at the thought of Kelvin Wilson, Dael Fry and Dominic Ball.
– Nobody works harder than Anthony Forde, but he desperately needs to improve his final touch. And if Darnell Fisher can learn to kick the ball in key areas, the Millers might have a player on their hands.
– Alex Neil moaned that the referee gave every decision to Rotherham in the first half. Welcome to our world.
– Allowing Burton to take six points off them is likely to be what kills Rotherham this season. Wins like this only enhance that sense of regret.