How the first goal has decided Rotherham’s games in League One this season

There’s a trusted old cliche that “the first goal is so important”, but for Rotherham in League One this season that has been the truth.

In fact, whoever has scored the opening goal in the Millers’ game┬áhas proved more decisive to the final result than in games involving any other team.

That is because whoever has broken the deadlock has gone on to win the game 93 per cent of the time.

The positive

Paul Warne’s men have scored first nine times in their 16 league outings and they have gone on to win eight of those, drawing the other.

Only against Oxford have the Millers taken the lead and not gone on to celebrate three points.

That gives them an average of 2.78 points when scoring first, which is behind only Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth and Shrewsbury.


Rovers and Pompey have won all of their games where they have opened the scoring, but have done so only six times, while Paul Hurst’s men have won 10 of their 11 games, drawing the other.

Bradford have taken the lead most times, on 13 occasions, but have only won nine of them, while Wigan have hit the front 12 times, winning 10.

Rochdale bring up the rear, having won just two of their six games when they have bagged the opener.

Now for the negative

Rotherham have lost all seven of the games when they have conceded first, a stat that is only matched by Bradford.

The Millers, however, have done it seven times, compared to the three of Bradford.

Every other team in the division have rallied to take a point from going behind first.

Wigan, strong promotion contenders, have conceded first three times and came back to win one and draw one, giving them the best comeback ratio, ahead of Shrewsbury, who have lost just once after letting the first goal in.

The summary

So, the pattern is clear for Rotherham.

Score first and generally win, concede first and definitely lose.




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