ANGRY EVANS LETS RIP AT REF – AND BBC
FURIOUS Steve Evans blasted everyone from referee Dean Whitestone to the BBC as Rotherham lurched to within four points of the drop zone.
Matt Derbyshire replied to first-half goals from Robert Tesche and Clayton Donaldson but it was another incident involving the Millers striker that the outraged boss highlighted.
“It was the worst refereeing decision I’ve ever seen,” he said, of the non-award of a spot-kick when Derbyshire clashed with defender Rob Kiernan near the hour. “You might as well get a 12year-old who has blue blood in his veins to come and referee.
“Gary Rowett agreed with me and they know it could have been a red card as well.
“We’ll question the referee but get the usual nonsense in reply.
“They don’t want Rotherham to win here – that’s what we’ve been up against all season.
“I hope the BBC highlights this – they don’t want us in this division either.
“We were disjointed in the first half and I reminded a few people how much this means at the break.We tore them apart in the second half but didn’t get anything.”
Rotherham began the afternoon with neat passing football although the half-chances fell Birmingham’s way with Craig Morgan blocking a Dave Cotterill shot and Damian Martinez parrying a 25-yarder from the same player.
Already looking the side with more genuine attacking ideas, the Blues took complete first-half command after edging ahead in the 27th minute.
A poor defensive header from Danny Lafferty put the Millers in trouble and Donaldson’s neat lay-off was tucked into the bottom corner without fuss by Tesche.
Andrew Shinnie nodded Cotterill’s cross over the bar before the near inevitable second goal arrived close to the break. Cotterill’s 30yard free-kick was fiercely hit but Martinez was at fault in parrying his effort straight onto the head of Donaldson.
The Millers looked more purposeful on the resumption and got a quick goal back when Darren Randolph and Jonathan Grounds struggled to deal with Lee Frecklington’s surge into the box and Derbyshire tapped in.
The penalty incident looked far less clear cut than Evans’ claim with the ball bouncing off Derbyshire and into the arms of Randolph.
Full-back Jack Hunt all but wriggled through and Derbyshire sent a dangerous far post header inches off target before the Blues began to ride the storm.
They always had the game’s chief threat in Donaldson, who linked up the attacking play well and was twice close to adding to his tally in the second half.
A third Blues goal was more likely than an equaliser as Rotherham threw more and more men forward.
Donaldson carved out two clear-cut chances in injury time, but Martinez partly made up for his gaffe with two excellent oneon-one saves from Tesche.
Blues boss Gary Rowett didn’t share Evans’ view of the penalty incident although he did have some sympathy with the opposing manager.
“I’ve watched it back three or four times and I don’t think it was a penalty,” he said. “There’s a tangle of legs and no clear foul as far as I’m concerned although I can understand Steve’s view. He’s a passionate man and I’d probably be saying the same thing if I was in his shoes.
“The last half-hour of the first half was as good as we’ve played since I’ve been here.
“The players should be proud of how we’ve turned it around at home. It was one win in 26 when I took over, now we’ve won seven, drawn four and lost two.
“We’re not finished yet. I’d love to see us make it ten wins by the end of the season.”
TAKE A BOW: Clayton Donaldson celebrates his goal, which turned out to be the winner Inset: Matt Derbyshire scores