PATIENCE A VIRTUE FOR FREEDMAN
NOTTINGHAM FOREST boss Dougie Freedman says the fans’ patience was rewarded after overturning an early deficit to register a first win of the season – leaving Rotherham propping up the Championship table.
The home side struggled early on conceding to old boy Danny Collins before levelling deep in first-half stoppage time through new boy Matt Mills.
Then Michail Antonio slammed the ball home from close range for the crucial goal as he took advantage of the confusion in the visitors’ goal.
Rotherham keeper Kelle Roos hesitated and allowed Chris Burke’s cross to rebound off the bar to Antonio.
Freedman said: “I’m really pleased for the fans, they stuck with us.
“After a good start once we had a setback but we played a style of play I like to adopt.
“We kept on passing the ball, we kept on probing eventually the outcome was the right result.
“There were two good things about the performance.
“Firstly the crowd stuck with us when we were building up patiently they understood what we were trying to do.
“Secondly the players performed at crucial times on the pitch.
“The attitude of the players responding to a setback and the quality we showed was great.
“There are going to be risks in the way we play but there are rewards there too.”
The scores were level at the break after Forest centre-half Mills, who followed Freedman to the City Ground from Bolton in the summer, equalised with the final act of the first half.
The defender stayed up front when United failed to clear a corner and got his reward as he rose head and shoulders above the defence to head home from Jamie Ward’s cross.
The goal came deep into first-half stoppage time, much to the chagrin of the combustible Millers boss Steve Evans.
Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor had spent much of the match hectoring both the match officials and opposition – Raynor even going so far as to physically block Ward as the Forest attacker tried to retrieve the ball for a quick throw-in.
Even Rotherham’s early dominance, during which they took the lead, was not enough to appease the managerial duo. Aside from Ward’s first-minute effort, which Rotherham keeper Roos dealt with at the second attempt, the visitors started much the better.
And they took the lead after 13 minutes when Forest allowed Collins the freedom of the six-yard box.The centre-half powering a header home from Joe Newell’s corner.
Forest gradually began to get a grip on the match and thought they had equalised when Tyler Walker turned in Burke’s pass only to be flagged offside. Antonio then tested Roos when he let fly from distance as the Millers hung on.
The visitors had a good shout for a penalty turned down after the restart when Jordan Bowery’s shot appeared to strike Eric Lichaj’s hand on the line and Evans was not critical of his side.
“Our performance was excellent all over the pitch lots of energy and the players giving some outstanding performances. We were harshly let down by the officials but we can’t give that as a reason,” he said.
“They’ve taken two chances and perhaps we could’ve defended better on the second goal.
“The first goal came from a corner after they knocked it out of play and the assistant referee 90 yards away gives it.
“It’s disappointing when you put so much into an afternoon to be let down like that but if we play like that most weeks we’ll win a lot of points in the Championship, that’s for sure.”
SIDE-FOOT: Nottingham Forest's Michail Antonio scores
STAR MAN MICHA