Red­fearn hails his back­line in vic­tory

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Mark Wil­liams

AJUBILANT Neil Red­fearn says he is more pleased with his side’s dogged clean sheet than a rare flurry of goals as Rother­ham United chalked up only their sec­ond home win of the cam­paign.

Two goals from a su­perb Jon­son Clarke-Har­ris and a fine sec­ond half fin­ish from cap­tain Lee Freck­ling­ton guided the hosts to a de­served sec­ond straight vic­tory against a dis­ap­point­ing Bris­tol City out­fit.

It was the first time this sea­son the Millers scored three goals but it was the res­o­lute per­for­mance at the back that pleased Red­fearn most.

He said: “I am more pleased with keep­ing a clean sheet if I am hon­est.

“To nil Bris­tol City, who had got some de­cent re­sults re­cently, is no mean feat. I thought we looked really solid.

“That is a couple of wins now but I am not go­ing to get car­ried away be­cause I know how tough this league is.The signs are good.

“We pressed and played. We had a good shape. It was good.

“Stay­ing in this di­vi­sion will still be a tough task but we want to get into that mid­dle bit if we can.”

Lee Camp had to be alert early on when he tipped over a first­time strike from Jonathan Kod­jia fol­low­ing a bright run from wing­back Der­rick Wil­liams.

The hosts needed a spark to get go­ing and they got just that on 10 min­utes. There seemed lit­tle dan­ger when Clarke-Har­ris picked the ball up wide on the right but af­ter skip­ping in­side he un­leashed a beau­ti­ful, curl­ing ef­fort into the far cor­ner.

City had an im­me­di­ate chance to re­spond but Camp saved from a clean-through Kieran Agard.

The Millers were look­ing a hand­ful on the break and Frankie Field­ing had to be at full stretch to deny an au­da­cious long-range strike by Clarke-Har­ris again.

But the hosts did not have long to wait be­fore their ad­van­tage was dou­bled. Kirk Broad­foot, up for a set-piece, was hauled down in the box by Kod­jia - and Clarke-Har­ris’ spot-kick was as em­phatic as they come on 27 min­utes.

The Robins spurned a glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity to get one back when Agard headed inches wide af­ter 29 min­utes.

Field­ing made a su­perb save to deny Clarke-Har­ris a late first half hat-trick. Lee Freck­ling­ton did well to de­liver a deep cross and the striker’s fierce vol­ley was thwarted by the City cus­to­dian.

The Robins were brighter af­ter the break and cen­tre-back Aden Flint should have done bet­ter with a free-header af­ter 52 min­utes in­stead it drifted harm­lessly wide.

The game de­scended into a scrappy af­fair as Rother­ham were con­tent to sit back and soak up City’s pres­sure - and they did so in com­fort­able fash­ion.

Flint wasted an­other good op­por­tu­nity on 71 min­utes. Mar­lon Pack floated in an invit­ing free-kick but the un­marked cen­tre-back could only direct his vol­ley well wide of goal.

The points were sealed in the 75th minute when an­other quick break re­sulted in Freck­ling­ton ex­pertly con­vert­ing a Danny Ward cut-back from just in­side the box.

Steve Cot­ter­ill’s charges huffed and puffed late to lit­tle ef­fect but the boss re­mains con­fi­dent his side will avoid the drop.

“We will be okay this sea­son but we have to learn from this and cut out silly mis­takes,” he said

“Once we went two goals down, we thought we had to score with ev­ery at­tack. It was tempo, tempo, tempo. But there was no pa­tience.

“We must do bet­ter if we go a goal down - it has dis­ap­pointed me.We had an em­bar­rass­ment of space in the first half and we utilised it well. There were chances but we didn’t take them.”

PIC­TURES: Pro Sport

THREAT: Rother­ham United mid­fielder Grant Ward fires an ef­fort at goal

GIVE ME A HUG: Rother­ham striker Matt Der­byshire and Lee Freck­ling­ton cel­e­brate

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