MILLERS’ TALE OFFERS HOPE FOR REVIVAL
ROTHERHAM’S away campaign may have ended without a win all season for just the second time in the club’s history, but boss Paul Warne is pleased at the positive signs on show.
The 1-1 draw at Preston meant the Millers took just two points from their 23 games on the road in a miserable year during which they did not taste an away victory for the first time since 1932-33.
But this point at Deepdale, which came after Richie Smallwood’s early strike was cancelled out by Stevie May, ended a run of 14 successive away losses and comes a week after a morale-building win over Ipswich.
And Warne is pleased with how his side are ending the campaign.
“A few games ago I told the lads to use this as a mini-season and I think their standards in all of those games has been excellent,” he said.
“I am pretty proud of what the lads have put in and I think there are green shoots for next season so I am a proud manager.
“The lads can take confidence from this and if they finish the season like that at least the fans can see they are proud to wear the shirt.
“Everyone involved with Rotherham United should be proud of their team.
“The lads stuck to the gameplan really well, we defended resolutely to the last minute. Back to front I thought we were great.
“We were tight all over the pitch so I am happy.”
The Millers hit the ground running and surged into a ninthminute lead when Smallwood scored a superb goal, taking down a clearance from a corner and sending a low volley into the far corner from the edge of the box.
Tom Adeyemi and Richard Wood had further chances to extend the lead and those misses were costly as May brought Preston level with an even better strike just before the break.
The former Sheffield Wednesday striker made up for lost time on his first start since October 2015 as he beautifully curled a 20yard effort into the top corner.
Neither side could claim they deserved to go on and win it after the break, with Aiden McGeady going closest for Preston when he almost scored with an over-hit cross before whipping afree-kick just wide.
The draw means Preston are just the second team to fail to beat Rotherham at home this season, following Ipswich in October, and their season is ending with a whimper, coming on the back of four successive losses.
Manager Simon Grayson is proud at how their campaign has gone, though.
“We wanted to get that feelgood vibe back and put the last few results behind us,” he said. “So it wasn’t the best way to finish the home season but we can still be very proud of what we have done.
“We are very close to getting more points than last year, we’ve scored more goals, we are on course to finish higher positionally and that was always the aim given it is a much tougher league this year.”
On the game, he added: “I’m a little bit disappointed because we have had some really good performances against some good teams, we have played some freeflowing football and we wanted to produce a performance for the supporters out there.”
NO WAY OUT: Rotherham United defender Darnell Fisher tussles with Preston winger Aiden McGeady