Given our recent record against Rotherham at home, something of a bogey team for us, I should have expected a 1-1 draw, but I am left feeling hard done by. They are a poor side and we were clearly a class above them in football terms. But we were insufficiently clinical in finding the back of the net.
Their tactics were clearly to defend in depth and hit us on the counter attack. We played possession football and made some nice moves, but there was a lack of urgency as we probed the Rotherham defence. The inevitable happened and Rotherham went ahead just before half time after a soft free kick led to a corner disputed by the Covered End, justifiably so given that Lee Frecklington put the ball out. We didn't defend the corner well and we were 0-1 behind.
Patrick Bauer squared the score for us, with Big Mak providing the assist, and we continued to play well, but the goal eluded us. Indeed, it needed two superb saves by Nick Pope to keep us in the game. Even in five minutes added on, Rotherham could have scored as easily as us.
Possession was 64-36 in our favour and we had nine shots on target to their four. By my estimation most of them came from midfielders.
A bit ironic that the reproduction programme showed a wealth of extra trains after the match whereas what we got was a half hourly service and no special.
Pope delivered two superb saves, but he could have been more alert for the corner. He seemed to be immobile as the tap in came in. Everyone I have heard from thinks Diarra was man of the match. A stalwart in defence, he also got the ball forward well, and showed some moments of sublime skill. Bauer seized the opportunity to score and I wouldn't fault his defensive work. Solly was involved, but seemed a little off the pace at times. He was perhaps unsettled by the yellow card for dissent. Fox has come in for some criticism, his distribution sometimes let him down.
Kashi tried a speculative shot from distance, but this wasn't Peterborough. He looks comfortable with the ball. Cousins had two shots on goal early on. Gudmundsson had a number of near misses, one from a set piece. More involved in the second half. Ba has had better games.
The problem with the forwards was that they didn't link up very well. Vetokele was poor and rarely involved, I doubt whether he is fully fit. Watt made some good runs which unsettled the Rotherham defence and showed real skill, but sometimes he needs not to do it all himself.
Matienok made a difference when he came on, controlling the ball well for the assist for the goal. Bergdich wasn't on for long, but didn't make much of an impact.