WILY WARNOCK’S DERBY DAY JOY
TACTICAL nous won the day, according to Neil Warnock, after watching Rotherham bag another three precious points with victory over South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
Wednesday were without top scorer Fernando Forestieri after his controversial dismissal at Hull last week, and were unable to cancel out Matt Derbyshire’s first-half strike despite seeing a goal of their own disallowed and dominating after the break.
Former Sheffield United boss Warnock could not disguise his delight as Rotherham got one over the Owls and made it two wins from two.
“You don’t overcome your rivals every day of the week. So it is special, because they’re not a bad side, which makes it better for me. Tactically we got it spot on,” he said.
“Other than when they hit the bar, I can’t remember anything too clear-cut for Lee Camp to deal with, whereas we had three or four great chances to increase the lead with just a little bit more quality.”
The visitors went ahead on 20 minutes when a quick exchange of passes between Frazer Richardson and Lee Frecklington ended with the latter sending an inviting ball across the sixyard box. Wednesday’s back line failed to clear, leaving Derbyshire with the simple task of sliding the ball home at the far post.
The Owls thought they had levelled a quarter of an hour later when Aiden McGeady’s shot deflected off Michael Turner on the line and into the back of the net. Hillsborough roared only for the linesman to flag Turner offside, prompting referee Chris Kavanagh to rule the goal out.
Danny Ward should have extended the Millers’ lead six minutes before the break when he arrived at the near post to meet a delivery from his namesake Grant Ward, but flashed his finish wide.
And Wednesday came within inches of an equaliser shortly after, when Jack Hunt advanced onto a lay-off from Ross Wallace to strike the ball first time, firing narrowly past the far post.
The second half proved to be oneway traffic as the hosts took control. Ross Wallace saw a sweetly struck 20yard effort fly up off the bar five minutes after the restart, while half-time substitute Lucas Joao should have done better with a volley shortly after the hour.
Atdhe Nuhiu headed just wide at a corner shortly after Joao’s miss, and Wallace went close again 16 minutes from time when Camp was wrongfooted from a low free-kick that took a deflection off the wall. The Millers keeper managed to block the shot with an outstretched leg, and did well again ten minutes later when smothering the ball as Gary Hooper looked to round him.
The visitors held on for just their third away win of the season while promotion hopefuls Wednesday are now without a win in four games.
They retained their place in the top six on goal difference however, and head coach Carlos Carvalhal was determined not to fault his players.
“It’s a game that was a little strange,” Carvalhal reflected. “I’m disappointed with the score, but I’m not disappointed with my players, because from the first second to the last they fought to try to win the game.”
But the Portuguese coach bemoaned the decision to disallow McGeady’s first-half strike.
“I saw the disallowed goal back, and it was not offside. Turner was on the line along with the defender,” he added.
“I don’t want to talk too much about the referees. I prefer to talk about football, but in the last four games I have been talking too much about the referees.”
MATT FINISH: Matt Derbyshire is congratulated after scoring the winner
STAR MAN GRANT WARD Rotherh