Redfearn: We must toughen up
ROTHERHAM manager Neil Redfearn says his side lack resilience after they conceded a last-gasp winner against Preston with virtually the last action of the game.
Jonson Clarke-Harris headed into his own goal after three minutes of injury time to seal a comeback win for the hosts.
Tony Andreu had opened the scoring for the Millers before Eoin Doyle drew Preston level in the second half.
Rotherham remain above the relegation zone on goal difference despite losing their 16th game of the season and Redfearn believes they need to toughen up.
“We’ve got to be tougher,” he said. “You’re looking for more resilience. At 1-1 when the winner goes in, you’re talking about seconds – it’s cruel.
“The added time is at the referee’s jurisdiction but it was a bit harsh. It doesn’t seem to be going for us at this moment in time.
“The lads are disappointed because they know they’ve done enough to get a point and come away with nothing. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and go again and we’ve got to make sure we pick up enough points to stay in this division.
“The performances have been good of late and we’ve got to make sure that results mirror that.”
Rotherham created the first opening after nine minutes when Danny Ward burst into the box before rounding Sam Johnstone only to be denied by a superb goalline clearance by Bailey Wright.
The Deepdale drummer was showing more signs of life than the hosts and Rotherham made them pay after 36 minutes. Andreu released Ward down the left before sprinting forward to get on the end of his pinpoint cross and nod home from six yards.
Sparked into life, Preston almost hit back immediately but Paul Green blocked Joe Garner’s strike from eight yards and Kirk Broadfoot slid in to deny Adam Reach.
Preston brought Sam Johnstone back to the club this week on an emergency loan from Manchester United and the keeper made a crucial save on the hour mark to tip Ward’s 25-yard strike over.
The hosts were dominating the second half and their pressure paid in the 64th minute. Paul Gallagher’s free-kick was eventually headed across goal by Paul Huntington to Doyle who poked in the equaliser from three yards.
It was now one-way traffic and somehow Preston failed to take the lead in the 68th minute as Doyle’s header from six yards was saved by Camp and Garner’s follow-up effort was blocked.
Their momentum seemed to have stalled until the final minute of added time when Marnick Vermijl’s long throw was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Clarke-Harris to give Preston a dramatic win. Their boss Simon Grayson was delighted with the late winner and is eyeing another successful year.
“People wake up in the morning and see that we’ve won another game, it doesn’t matter how late you score,” Grayson said.
“When you score that late on everyone deserves a celebration. First half, we were half a yard off the game. The players knew we weren’t firing on all cylinders.
“We said we had to put more balls into their box and move the ball quicker. It’s a fantastic result for us.We were due a late goal.
“We need to keep improving and bettering ourselves week in, week out. 2015 was a good year and hopefully we can have an equally successful year in 2016.”
LEVELLER: Preston North End’s Eoin Doyle scores his side’s equaliser before the late drama