Evans tells his play­ers a few home truths

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Owens

DE­JECTED Rother­ham boss Steve Evans took his de­fend­ers to task af­ter his side suc­cumbed to a home de­feat at the hands of Ful­ham.

Both teams went into this game look­ing for their first vic­tory of the Cham­pi­onship sea­son, but the Millers soon found them­selves with a moun­tain to climb, as the Cot­tagers took full ad­van­tage of their de­fen­sive hor­ror show in the early stages.

For­mer Miller Ben Pringle put Ful­ham ahead just seven min­utes into his first trip back to the New York Sta­dium, open­ing his ac­count for the Lon­don­ers with a far-post tap in when Adam Collin could only parry Moussa Dem­bele’s header.

It was only a su­perb save from Collin that pre­vented Kit Sy­mons’ visi­tors from lead­ing 2-0 in­side ten min­utes; the Rother­ham stop­per us­ing a leg to deny Ful­ham skip­per Ross McCor­mack.

But McCor­mack was given the chance to make amends af­ter a quar­ter of an hour, when James Hus­band drove past Lewis Bux­ton into the area, only to be scythed down by Greg Hal­ford. The Scot­land in­ter­na­tional made no mis­take from the spot, driv­ing his penalty past Collin to the goal­keeper’s left, and leav­ing Evans to count the cost.

Evans ad­mit­ted: “Their first goal is a cross into our box. That will al­ways hap­pen, but for my two cen­tre-backs to al­low some­body in be­tween them is shock­ing, and for my goal­keeper to parry it there is shock­ing. Then, for Lewis Bux­ton to switch off and watch Ben Pringle tap it in from a yard isn’t good de­fend­ing.

“For the penalty, ob­vi­ously ev­ery­one will rightly look at Greg Hal­ford, be­cause it’s a rash chal­lenge, but Lewis lets their player come into the box.”

The hosts were of­fered a way back into the game nine min­utes af­ter half-time, when Jazz Richards brought Paul Green down in the area. Matt Der­byshire stepped up, but saw his penalty well saved by Andy Lon­er­gan.

Rother­ham did even­tu­ally pull one back with 18 min­utes left, when Green ha­rassed a clumsy Dan Burn off the ball and squared for Jon­son Clarke-Harris, who bent a fine 20-yard ef­fort into the bot­tom cor­ner.

But the visi­tors re­stored their two-goal mar­gin in stop­page time, when the ex­cel­lent Jamie O’Hara cen­tred for sub­sti­tute Cauley Woodrow to sweep the ball home.

“I thought it was a poor per­for­mance from us, and we can’t say any dif­fer­ent,” Evans ad­mit­ted.

“There were quiet words af­ter­wards. Peo­ple got a few home truths, but in a quiet, or­derly fash­ion. Peo­ple know if you’re shout­ing and balling some­times, it’s pas­sion, and you get very se­ri­ous. Then you calm it down and tell peo­ple very perti­nently.”

“But we have to say we were well beaten by a good Ful­ham side, who played par­tic­u­larly well on the day,” the Millers boss added.

Ful­ham had failed to win in their open­ing four Cham­pi­onship matches, only man­ag­ing draws with Cardiff City and Hud­der­s­field Town.

Kit Sy­mons ad­mit­ted he was a ner­vous spec­ta­tor on the touch­line as the Cot­tagers de­fended their lead, but was re­lieved to see his side pick up the im­por­tant win af­ter a slow start to the cam­paign.

“We’ve played some quite good stuff, and maybe been a bit un­for­tu­nate, but also not helped our­selves in pre­vi­ous games, so we were sit­ting on only two points. So it was im­por­tant that we put in a de­cent per­for­mance and got three points on the board,” Sy­mons re­flected. “We made it a lit­tle bit hard work for our­selves con­ced­ing a penalty, and giv­ing away a stupid goal, but over­all I’m very pleased with the per­for­mance.

“Un­til you get that third goal, it’s never quite com­fort­able. In football, the third goal in the game is al­ways cru­cial.

“I was very pleased ob­vi­ously when we scored our third late on. At 2-1, although we de­fended quite well, it just takes one thing to drop for some­one, some­one to lose their marker, and sud­denly you come away with a point rather than the three, which was what we des­per­ately needed.”

STAR MAN JAMIE O’HARA

Ful­ham

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