5 things from Rotherham’s 3-3 draw at Oxford

Rotherham finally drew a League One game as their trip to Oxford finished 3-3.

Another away defeat looked on the cards when they trailed 3-1 but goals from Ryan Williams and Kieffer Moore, in addition to Joe Newell’s opener, earned a point.

 

Here’s 5 things from the game.

There’s that bouncebackability

After just 40 minutes the post-mortems will have been beginning at the Kassam Stadium as trailing 3-1 and looking like they would concede every time Oxford came forward, the game seemed done and dusted, especially given Rotherham’s record of losing games when going behind this season. But Paul Warne’s men put that right by mounting an impressive comeback that seemed out of reach. Williams’ goal before half-time was crucial and then a much better second-half showing was capped off by Moore’s leveller. It was the first point recovered from a losing position this season and from the situation they were in, they deserve big credit for that.

No defence for the shoddy defence

The fact that such a comeback was necessary, however, was due to a simply inept first-half defensive showing. With Josh Emmanuel and Semi Ajayi coming into the side in place of Shaun Cummings and Richard Wood, making it the back four that started the season, the Millers were all at sea at the back, particularly in a 19-minute period in the first half which saw them ship three goals and give a penalty away. Oxford repeatedly cut them open, were given too much space and the lack of a commanding Craig Moran type centre-back was painfully obvious. Both Ajayi and Emmanuel have failed to reach the heights they hit during pre-season and Warne will surely revert to the back four which recently kept three clean sheets in a row while also counting down the days until the January transfer window.

Rodak solidifies his position

If Warne had any question marks over who his number one goalkeeper is, then Marek Rodak went some way to solidifying his position. Recalled after losing his spot during the international break, the Slovakian was one of the stand-out performers, despite shipping three goals. He saved an albeit poor penalty in the midst of Oxford’s dominant spell and kept it from going to 4-1 when he raced out to claim after a heavy touch from Wes Thomas, who was clean through. But his best moment came in the final 10 minutes when he ensured Rotherham’s comeback was not for nothing as he brilliantly denied Joe Rothwell’s effort.

Missing Darren Potter

The biggest miss of the last week, which has seen the Millers ship six goals in two away games, has been Darren Potter. The wily midfielder is so important for the side, especially away from home, with his ability to keep the ball, not panic when under pressure and provide a shield for the back four, while also allowing Richie Towell and Lee Frecklington to push forward. Too many times, the Millers seemed rushed in possession and needlessly gave the ball away in dangerous areas. The quicker that heel injury recovers, the better.

From the notebook

– We’ve been waiting for Joe Newell to perform from the off and having been rewarded with a start, he came up with the goods. He scored his second goal on the bounce with a cool finish and was Rotherham’s most creative player. His ball through to Williams, which set up the equaliser, was brilliant.

– So finally the Millers draw a game – but it wouldn’t be right if it wasn’t a six-goal thriller. With the way they are at both ends, there won’t be many 0-0s this season.

– Up until Saturday the Millers had failed to match the goalscoring threat that they achieve at home. But here they scored three goals on the road for the first time since April 2014.

– Good to have Jon Taylor back. Although his end product is still inconsistent, his pace and ability to get up the pitch is a threat in this division.

 

 

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