‘VIN­TAGE’ TOM ENDS DRY SPELL

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sam War­ley

AFTER notch­ing just a soli­tary goal in their last seven out­ings Rother­ham’s scor­ing form has been any­thing but vin­tage in re­cent weeks, so it’s no sur­prise boss Steve Evans likened Tom Lawrence’s opener in this game to a lovely bot­tle of red.

The Welsh striker pounced five min­utes be­fore the break to give the Millers the lead, with Alex Rev­ell’s header on 65 min­utes en­sur­ing a first win in the league since mid-Oc­to­ber, de­spite Ben Wat­son’s lev­eller just a minute ear­lier.

And the re­lief for Evans was pal­pa­ble, with the Rother­ham boss sin­gling out the 20-year-old for spe­cial praise.

“Against For­est and against Cardiff, I said Tom Lawrence was like a light­house in a dark ocean, and when he scores a goal and works as hard as that, he’s not just a light­house but you know there’s a bot­tle of red wine wait­ing for you when you get there,” said Evans.

“He’s a spe­cial tal­ent, but you need to get him on the ball. If we had gone and got the third out there we’d have gone and scored a lot more.

“We dom­i­nated for long spells and if it’s based on chances, Wi­gan could have scored a cou­ple out there, but if it’s based on good chances, we could have scored five or six.

“Credit to my play­ers, they’re very young in the main. We give them the free­dom to ex­press them­selves, and they’ve done that for three weeks. In the last few min­utes, thank­fully, a few of my ex­pe­ri­enced lads who were in League Two with us headed a few balls clear at the end.”

With a win­less run also dat­ing back to Oc­to­ber, Wi­gan almost opened the scor­ing after nine min­utes when Callum McMana­man’s mazy run ended in an Adam Collin save.

Wi­gan’s best chance fell to Wat­son from Shaun Maloney’s cor­ner, but he blazed the ball well wide from 12 yards with 22 min­utes gone.

Rother­ham came into the game and Em­manuel Ledesma slipped in Lawrence ten min­utes be­fore the break, but James Perch re­cov- ered bril­liantly to en­sure the scores re­mained level.

A dread­ful er­ror from An­drew Tay­lor then gifted Rother­ham the lead, his poor back pass al­low­ing Lawrence to slot home Rother­ham’s first goal in 232 min­utes.

Hav­ing been booed off at half­time, the Lat­ics re­quired a re­sponse, and in­tro­duced Mar­cAn­toine For­tune as a sec­ond striker.

It came in the 63rd minute, Wat­son ris­ing to meet James McClean’s cor­ner and bring the home side un­de­servedly level.

They were so for only a minute, as Rev­ell pro­duced an ath­letic header which looped in at the far post after Ledesma’s floated free­kick.

Wi­gan had more of the ball as Rother­ham looked to end their four-month run with­out an away win, but were still vul­ner­a­ble on the break, Jor­dan Bow­ery and Rev­ell both spurn­ing chances.

The Lat­ics might have equalised with ten min­utes left when a smart Oriol Riera touch found For­tune, but he turned and blazed over the bar.

With one minute of nor­mal time re­main­ing, another ex­cel­lent McMana­man cross found Riera, whose header crashed against the cross­bar with Collin beaten.

“When you con­cede goals like that first one, and don’t take chances like Marc-An­toine For­tune had at the end and Riera hit­ting the bar, then that is where we are at the mo­ment,” con­ceded Lat­ics boss Malky Mackay.

“We’re cre­at­ing chances, but we’re not tak­ing chances, and we’re giv­ing away even less than soft goals. Rother­ham were gifted a goal , and that’s some­thing that at this level you can’t do.

“We knew they were go­ing to be hard­work­ing. Phys­i­cally we matched them, but you have to be clin­i­cal at the other end.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

HEAD BOY: Scott Car­son looks on as Alex Rev­ell’s win­ning goal hits the back of the net

OPENER: Tom Lawrence scores for Rother­ham

STAR MAN TOM LAWRE

NCE Rotherh

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