Ward on tar­get to lift merry Millers

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Brook

HAV­ING scored their first goal in five games, gut­ted Charl­ton head coach Guy Lu­zon ad­mits it was a blow to see his side let victory slip on his home de­but.

The Ad­dicks have not won since Novem­ber 8, but that run seemed des­tined to end when Jor­dan Cousins stabbed home with seven min­utes left.

How­ever, Danny Ward’s late equaliser en­sured a share of the points for Rother­ham – who re­main just above the drop zone.

Lu­zon said: “When you lead the game five min­utes from the end, of course we are dis­ap­pointed.

“We or­gan­ised well un­til the last minute. Af­ter two months with­out a win we sat too deep and in the last min­utes they had chances to score af­ter not hav­ing the ball all game.

“When we lead games we need to keep main­tain­ing the same po­si­tions and don’t go too deep.

“We’ve been well or­gan­ised in de­fence in the last two games.We knew the op­po­nent would play a lot of long balls and we were ready for the sec­ond balls. In attack we need to be more ef­fi­cient and cre­ate more chances to score.

“Of course we are lack­ing in con­fi­dence at the mo­ment, es­pe­cially in attack be­cause we didn’t score a lot of goals in the last ten or 11 games.

“I hope we will re­cruit an­other two play­ers, but we will see if we have the time. In foot­ball un­til it’s done it is noth­ing.”

Both sides hit the post in­side the first 20 min­utes, but oth­er­wise strong de­fend­ing, es­pe­cially the ex­cel­lent Craig Mor­gan, negated at­tack­ing play in the first half.

Rother­ham struck the wood­work when Conor New­ton’s scuffed half-vol­ley rooted Marko Dmitro­vic. Jo­hann Gud­munds­son went sim­i­larly close fol­low­ing a counter-attack.

Charl­ton be­gan the sec­ond half much more sprightly. Cal­lum Har­riott ex­ploited the space be­tween Frazer Richard­son and Kari Ár­na­son, and Cousins oc­cu­pied this area too.

Although Charl­ton were soon to take the lead, the half’s mo­men­tum grad­u­ally shifted with Rother­ham’s in­tro­duc­tion of three Jan­uary sign­ings – Jack Hunt, Ward and Adam Ham­mill.

First Hunt, a right-back by trade, helped Richard­son counter Har­riott and Cousins’ dou­blethreat, then Ward and Ham­mill de­fib­ril­lated Rother­ham’s attack.

Matt Der­byshire had a goal dis­al­lowed for off­side af­ter Ward’s pass and Ward forced Dmitro­vic’s first save.

It was some­what against the run of play there­fore when Cousins scored. Gud­munds­son’s shot was blocked in the box, debu­tant Christophe Le­point scram­bled the ball to Cousins, who stabbed it past the static Adam Collin.

But Rother­ham con­tin­ued their resur­gence. Dmitro­vic bril­liantly saved Paul Green’s header and Ham­mill shot nar­rowly wide.

Even­tu­ally the de­served equaliser came as Ham­mill’s per­fect cross was turned in by Ward, who shook off Rhoys Wig­gins’ weak mark­ing. Ar­na­son and Mor­gan also de­serve credit for mov­ing the other de­fend­ers out of po­si­tion.

Millers as­sis­tant-manager Paul Raynor said: “Charl­ton cre­ated some op­por­tu­ni­ties and they looked danger­ous on the break, but we felt as though we dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings.

“We looked danger­ous our­selves and as the game went on we cre­ated a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties. We’re slightly dis­ap­pointed we’re not talk­ing about three points in­stead of one.

“We’re down in the nitty-gritty part of the ta­ble, but we feel as though we’re much stronger in the last two or three weeks.We’ve added some real qual­ity. We looked be­hind us and there’s Adam Ham­mill, Danny Ward, Jack Barmby.We can bring real qual­ity onto the pitch.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

SWERVE: Charl­ton’s Tony Watt evades Rother­ham’s Kari Ar­na­son LEV­ELLER: Danny Ward cel­e­brates scor­ing his side’s equaliser with Richard Small­wood and Craig Mor­gan

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