HOLLOWAY NOT GIVING UP AFTER ARNASON LATE STRIKE
But Lions louts let club down again
KARI Arnason’s last-ditch winner sparked jubilation for Rotherham – and violent scenes in the away end as Milwall’s fans shamefully let their frustrations boil over.
Behind to Marytn Woolford’s opportunist opener, the Millers equalised through Danny Ward before Arnason’s dramatic header cut the struggling Lions six points adrift of safety.
Cue mayhem in the stands as a sizeable contingent of the 1,309 Millwall supporters charged through stewards in a bid to attack rival fans.
This was no mere posturing. Punches and kicks rained down on stewards – both male and female – while police in riot gear were forced to defend themselves with truncheons as wave after wave of fans laid siege to two corners of the ground.
The violence then continued after the final whistle with running battles outside the New York Stadium and coins hurled at the ground’s windows.
Millwall’s fans may suffer unfair stereotyping but savagery like this will do their reputation no good at all and for Ian Holloway – already under immense pressure – it was the worst possible end to a bitterly disappointing day.
The Lions boss cut an unusually downbeat figure at the end and appeared to admit that his 13month tenure at the Den could be drawing to a close.
“I believe I can turn this around,” said Holloway, who claimed not to have seen the carnage in the away end. “I believe my players can do it. If other people don’t, that’s out of my control. And if a group of supporters had their finger on the button, they’d probably have pushed it.
“That’s life, I’m afraid.The pres- sure seems to be building and building in what is the hardest division of all. Some people have been sacked when they’re seventh. Some people are in the play-offs and have been told that their chairman doesn’t want them. It’s a crazy old game at the moment.
“I get on fantastically well with my chairman but even he got abused the other day when he came out of the ground. He doesn’t deserve that. If it wasn’t for him, there would not be a Millwall.
“I believe we are a great club who will stay up. But I know I’m in a results business. If I don’t get them, we’ll discuss things with the club.”
Three points behind their hosts at kick-off, this was Millwall’s biggest match of the season and for 45 minutes, neither Ollie nor their fans had cause for complaint.
With both sides nervous and error-strewn, the Lions capitalised on hesitation at the back when Gary Taylor-Fletcher cleverly nodded down for Woolford to shin a fortuitous finish beyond Adam Collin.
And Millwall should have made it two before the break, Lee Gregory latching onto Taylor-Fletcher’s deft flick only to be denied by a brilliant sprawl from Adam Collin.
Momentum lost, Rotherham emerged in far feistier mood and immediately seized a foothold. Ben Pringle’s arcing ball to the back post was knocked down by
Matt Derbyshire and Danny Ward – via a monstrous deflection – rifled home.
Already flagging, Millwall suffered a mortal blow when Taylor-Fletcher was forced off with a cut scalp, the result of a deliberate elbow from Kirk Broadfoot.
As an emboldened Rotherham pressed, Jack Hunt clattered a post and David Forde tipped over from Richie Smallwood before Arnason rose at the back post to thump home.
“At half-time, they were like a bunch of wee boys sitting in a classroom feeling sorry for themselves,” said Millers boss Steve Evans.
“They needed someone to stand up and reassure them and that’s what I did. I was very calm and measured. I just wanted them to keep playing because I thought the performance was very good.
“We were the ones who kept playing.We were the ones creating chances.”
HEAD ARN: Kari Arnason heads in Rotherham’s winner Inset: Martyn Woolford fires past Rotherham keeper Adam Collin to give Millwall a 1-0 lead
FLASHPOINT: Fans tangle with police