ROTHERHAM United picked up their first win in five games with a 1-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, writes Matt Burgess.
A second half penalty converted by Lewis Grabban was the difference between the two teams in an unremarkable match.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the first half as the game was influenced by blustery winds.
Grabban converted from the spot after 70 minutes when Gareth Evans was brought down in the box by Darren Purse.
Rotherham boss Andy Scott said: “It’s a win. That’s all that counts at this stage of the season. We could have been a lot more comfortable. The last two or three minutes of the game we make it hairy scary for ourselves.”
“We defended very, very well throughout the whole game we had numerous chances or opportunities to seal it and didn’t take it. So your heart’s in your mouth for the last few minutes.”
The home side’s first chance of the match fell to Alex Revell who headed just a yard wide after 20 minutes from Sam Wood’s cross.
An uneventful first half ensued as both teams failed to create any chances although both being in the opposition’s half.
The visitors were denied the lead two minutes into stoppage time in the first half when Nick Chadwick shot was deflected up into the wind.
A scrambling Rhys Taylor managed to changed direction and tip the ball over the bar.
With the change of ends at half-time and the wind now in their favour the Millers began to dominate the second half with five corners in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
No meaningful chances were created in the first 15 minutes despite Rotherham’s superiority and the Pilgrims hardly being to be able to break out of their own half.
Boos rang round Don Valley Stadium as Shaun Harrad replaced Ben Pringle, Andy Scott bolstering his team’s attacking options.
Gareth Evans, who was bought on at half-time, capitalised on a bouncing ball played up field and stepped into the penalty area only to be brought down by Darren Purse.
Top goal scorer Grabban stepped confidently up to the spot and put the ball firmly into the right hand side of Jake Cole’s net, sending him the wrong way.
Holes opened up in the Plymouth defence in the last 10 minutes as they pushed forward trying to find an equaliser and avoid slipping into the relegation zone as other results went against them.
Grabban and Harrad squandered chances when they found themselves in space, with Grabban failing to spot the support of two unmarked players in the penalty area and Harrad fired over from 16 yards.
Unbelievably Evans missed a chance to seal the game for the Millers after he rounded goalkeeper Cole who had come 25 yards off his line. Evans, trying to place his finish, put the ball high above the bar.
The defeat means Plymouth slip into the relegation zone as the Millers stay in 11th place in the league, six points away from the playoffs.
Rotherham face Torquay United at home on Tuesday.
Rotherham: R. Taylor, M. Bradley, M. Raynes, J. Mullins, S. Wood, L. Grabban (D. Tonge 85), D. Harrison (Captain), J. Taylor, B. Pringle (S. Harrad 66), D. Schofield (G. Evans, 45), A. Revell.
Unused: K. Cadogan, A. Warrington.
Plymouth Argyle: J. Cole, D. Purse, M. Blanchard, O. Bhasera, D. Berry, P. Wotton, S. Walton (captain), R. Williams (J. Lennox, 72), N. Chadwick, A. MacDonald (A. Hemmings 79), L. Young (W. Feeney 60)
Unused: R. Larrieu, C. Hourihane.
Goals: Rotherham: Lewis Grabban (70).