Millwall 0-1 Rotherham ~ Pitchside Ponderings

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After the last gasp shenanigans at Sheffield mid-week we had the visit of newly promoted Rotherham to contend with at the Den to see if we could push our unbeaten run even further.

It is fair to say that most of us felt, despite the fact that we should know better, saw this as chance to enhance our points total without too many issues.
The Rotherham team are a hard working side with no frills and no bells and whistles but they have been moulded into a decent side by their gargantuan Manager, Steve Evans.

Boy is he a size. I can speak from experience as a former 20 stoner that carrying that sort of excess baggage around with you is a huge handicap and he is doing well just by managing to get his carcass out of his wank pit each morning, let alone managing a football team. He looks like the character from the Austin Powers movie, a big fat Scottish bloke with bigger tits than Chesty Morgan and a penchant for baby back ribs.

Rotherham fans however, are like the forgotten tribe from Yorkshire. They are not as inbred as, say Leeds fans but they are edging towards a severe case of redneckness that needs to be controlled before they fall into the trap of believing “keep it in the family” is a way of life instead of a game show with affable Bradley Walsh in charge
They have taken to the normal Yorkshire trait of chanting the county name at any given opportunity but because of their, to put it kindly, village dialect, it comes out as “Yerkshire”. They epitomise the stereotypical cross eyed, banjo playing retards that the rest of civilisation presume they are and you feel that they are all just one chromosome away from a serious mental health issue.

The fact that some 400 odd actually made it to South London to see the game is a testament to the kindly nature of care in the community workers.
A measly 10,000 odd crowd assembled for this one, I expected a bit more considering our current form but there is no accounting for the missing 45,000 as we well know.

Mr Holloway tweaked the side that drew with Sheffield Wednesday making just a couple of changes so we lined up as follows: Forde in goal, Malone, Dunne, Beevers and Edwards at the back, Woolford, Wright, McDonald, Williams and Martin as the five man midfield with Fuller as the lone front man.

The ref got us going as the sun beat down on the Den and the opening exchanges were dominated by the Lions. Alan Dunne, strutting his stuff now like a rooster in a hen house, swept a glorious cross field diagonal pass to Martin who then controlled it expertly and fired over a cross that was flicked on by McDonald but just beyond the lurking figure of Fuller.

After about five minutes of pressure I thought we were getting a penalty as Beevers looked to be blocked as he went for a McDonald cross but the ref was having none of it and pointed for a corner instead. Even from the corner we had a chance to get ahead but Beevers was a bit slow to react to the ball and it was cleared as he pondered what to do with it.

It looked promising though as we clearly looked the more capable footballing side, easily dealing with their basic tactic of hitting the ball to their big man up front (who actually looked quite useful but he wasn’t helped by any support),

Fuller was then guilty of an appalling miss, considering his pedigree, it was a cross into the box that he met at the far post about four yards out and with the goal at his mercy he headed past the wrong side of the post, much to our dismay and amazement.

.Josh Wright fired in a speculative volley that failed to disturb Collin in the Millers goal as well and a slightly familiar feeling began creeping over us as we watched from the stands.

We tried a training ground routine for a free kick that ticked most of the boxes as Martin and Woolford combined to set up McDonald but again the end product failed to trouble the Miller’s ‘keeper.

The sucker punch that was hiding behind all our fears nearly came about during a rare forage into our half by Rotherham. Taylor drove a fierce shot towards goal and Forde did well to parry it but it fell straight into the path of Revell who somehow contrived to miss an open goal from close range with no Millwall player anywhere near him.

This brought a huge sigh of relief from us but a stark warning of how wasting chances can bite you on your arse.

We still had plenty of the ball in midfield, we were still working it out through the back four but the final third was a no go zone when it came to action.

The half finished with a wasteful shot by Malone who had more time than perhaps he thought, his effort sailing hopelessly over the bar.

The second half saw no changes as Mr Holloway appeared to be satisfied with the profligate tactics but with half just a few minutes old disaster well and truly struck. Taylor found room on the left and popped a simple ball across the box which seemed to elude every Millwall player and the unmarked Pringle managed to shin the ball into our net.0-1. Oh fuck, this wasn’t part of the script, was it?

In the time honoured fashion of basic football management, the knee jerk reaction is to make an immediate change that this time seemed not required two minutes earlier…

Gueye came on for the ineffective Wright which sort of pushed Woolford back deeper into defence.
Of course, the change brought about the customary half chance, Martin got tapped racing through and although the ref gave the free kick there was no yellow card which in this day and age is almost obligatory but the free kick that followed was exactly what we expected, it came to nothing.

Rotherham sensed our inability to hit the target might actually be a bonus for them and they started to play a bit. Pringle almost added a second but for a smart save by Forde, keeping out the fizzing shot with some aplomb.

We tried, we really did, but our efforts were about as sad to watch as beautiful butterfly caught hopelessly entangled in a spiders web. Fuller missed another sitter, clearly his heading ability is not his forte and the Martin had a goal attempt that failed to find even a glimpse of the actual goal.

Our only shot on target actually throughout this whole sorry affair came for Williams who hit a lowish drive that Collin had no trouble collecting.

I think we realised just after they scored that we were going to draws a blank today. Easter replacing Martin instead of the weary Fuller was a surprise to all and sundry but it made no odds. We were beginning to huff and puff and dare I say it, almost looking like a Lomas side at times.

Mr Holloway for reasons only he will know brought on Gregory with about four minutes left to do Gods know what, he replaced the now almost catatonic Fuller but I don’t think he even touched the ball

At the final whistle the were some boos ringing out, again showing the fickleness of the Millwall fan, the unbeaten run was gone and already the moaning commenced.

It was not a vintage performance, far from it. No energy, no end result, no clue (at times) and no happy bank holiday week end for us.

Rotherham did a well worked number on us and even if the lads might be fatigued from playing on Tuesday night there is no real excuse for the lacklustre performance we witnessed.

We have been spoilt. We fell into the trap of getting used to not losing. We have now been dragged back into the world of shit that losing a game can bring with it. And we don’t like it.

Mr Holloway has a problem now. How he deals with it will define a lot of fans opinion on how we are going to cope this season. Even the least discerning fan can see we have no fire power. Fuller needs to step up to the plate if he is going to be are front man. So far he hasn’t really shown us that he knows where the goal is. He can’t rely on the history books, living in the past at Millwall will only bring him a whole world of pain.

The 4-5-1 formation (don’t kid yourselves it is anything but that) is fine for certain games but not at home and not when you are on a roll.

Mr Holloway clearly has a game plan and he will do his utmost to put it in place. Patience is a virtue and we need to give him time but as sure as eggs is eggs, it better happen soon because we are about the most unforgiving bunch of fuckers that ever watched a game of football.

The reality though is something else. The reality is we lost a game. Just the one, no more no less. We are playing football, we are getting better but it is goals that win you games and at the moment you would be hard pressed to see where our goals will come from.

The game on Tuesday night versus the Saints in the cup is a mere distraction. I am pretty certain Mr Holloway will rest his key men for this one so I will not be too worried about the outcome; the real litmus test will be to see what we do against Blackpool at home next Saturday.

We need to start our unbeaten run again somewhere so why not start there if the Southampton game goes tits up.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives. Oscar Wilde
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    Yes two strikers at home V the mediocores please Mr Holloway.