Rotherham United 4-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 27, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/1fc94

After their heroic performance at Liverpool on Saturday, Bolton were brought back down to Earth after losing 4-2 to Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Three days after keeping a clean sheet in their FA Cup fourth round tie at Anfield, Wanderers fell apart on their return to Championship duty as goals from Ben Pringle, Conor Sammon and Paul Green sent the Millers in at the break with a 3-0 lead.

Matt Derbyshire added a fourth within 12 minutes of the restart, as Steve Evans' side claimed only a second win in 16 outings - despite late goals from Liam Trotter and Matt Mills threatening to produce a tense finish.

Wanderers started the game with three changes to the side that began at Anfield on Saturday. Andy Lonergan was recalled at the expense of the unfortunate Adam Bogdan, who dropped down to the bench, while Conor Wilkinson and Andy Kellett, making his first start for the club, took the places of Dean Moxey and the injured Emile Heskey.

In his pre-match press conference on Monday morning, Lennon raised his doubts over whether his players would be able to raise their game to the same level as the weekend. His answer was a definitive no, as Rotherham went ahead inside the opening two minutes as Pringle ghosted into the box unmarked to volley past a helpless Lonergan.

Green and Matt Derbyshire both drilled long-range efforts wide of the target soon after, before a weaving run from Eidur Gudjohnsen was halted at the death by the Millers defence.

Despite being comfortable with their one-goal advantage, Rotherham doubled their lead at the midway point of the half when Derbyshire's harmless strike was parried back into the danger zone by Lonergan. Charged with the simple task of slotting the ball into the empty net, Sammon obliged by netting his first goal since joining on loan from Derby County earlier in the month.

That prompted a change in formation for Wanderers, with Lennon ditching a 3-5-2 set-up for the previously favoured 4-2-3-1 - as Josh Vela slotted in at right-back.

Bolton's first attempt of the game arrived just after the half-hour, as Darren Pratley sliced wide from 30 yards, shortly before Neil Danns fired just over the top of the crossbar from similar range.

Gudjohnsen side-footed wide from a Tim Ream cross with five minutes of the half remaining, before the visitors saw strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Vela went to ground inside the Rotherham area.

Darren Drysdale's decision not to point to the spot sparked fury from the Bolton boss, who was left seething less than a minute later when the hosts added a third to put the game beyond doubt - with Green glancing a cross from Derbyshire beyond Lonergan.

The half-time whistle was met by a chorus of boos from the visiting supporters, who aimed their displeasure towards the match officials, while Lennon waited in the tunnel to ensure he had his say on the events of the opening 45 minutes.

After giving his players a half-time grilling back in the dressing room, Lennon made no changes to his side's personnel at the start of the second period. But a disappointing opening to the half meant he didn't wait too much longer to make his first substitution, with Trotter taking the place of Kellett.

Wilkinson and Liam Feeney were the forward pairing for Wanderers at this stage, but it was Rotherham who continued to look the most like goalscorers and, indeed, they added a fourth just before the hour.

Moments after Lonergan had got down well to deny Derbyshire, the former Blackburn Rovers forward won back possession and this time sent an unstoppable strike beyond the reach of the Bolton stopper to put some gloss on the victory.

Feeney had a shot blocked as Wanderers looked to respond at the other end, before a tactical switch from Lennon saw him bring David Wheater on for Wilkinson. The ex-Middlesbrough man slotted in at central defence, with Mills assuming the role of emergency forward.

Jay Spearing replaced Gudjohnsen shortly afterwards, an action which was preceeded by Feeney seeing a goalbound volley charged down after a neat knockdown from Pratley.

In what was arguably their worst performance since Lennon's arrival as manager in October, Bolton then came up with a quickfire double to spark life into a game that had looked beyond them since the opening minute.

Trotter was the first to bulge the Rotherham net, as he gambled on a flick from Mills to fire past Adam Collin, before the latter netted his fifth goal of the campaign by heading home from close range just two minutes later.

After seeing penalty appeals rejected late in the first half, Bolton were left to rue their luck again with three minutes to go as Pratley went down inside the United box. Drysdale immediately blew his whistle, but, much to the bemusement of the majority inside the stadium, he awarded a free-kick to the home side.

Five minutes of added time passed by without incident, as Rotherham saw out time to claim a deserved victory over a Bolton side who remain without an away win over the Millers since August 1966.

Wanderers return to action on Saturday, when they face the difficult task of welcoming promotion-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers to Macron Stadium - just four days prior to their FA Cup fourth-round replay against Liverpool.

Rotherham United: Collin, Richardson, Morgan, Arnason, Fryers, Newton, Green, Smallwood, Pringle (Hammill 90), Sammon (Wood 90), Derbyshire (Bowery 84)
Subs Not Used: Brindley, Ward, Barmby, Thompson
Booked: Pringle
Goals: Pringle 2, Sammon 23, Green 44, Derbyshire 57

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Dervite, Mills, Ream, Feeney, Vela, Danns, Pratley, Kellett (Trotter 51), Gudjohnsen (Spearing 74), Wilkinson (Wheater 66)
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Moxey, Odelusi, Walker
Booked: Spearing
Goals: Trotter 77, Mills 79

Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 8,780

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Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Rotherham United 22 22
21 Reading 22 19
22 Millwall 22 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 22 18
24 Ipswich Town 22 14
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2017/18 Player of the Year?
53.85% Ben Alnwick
13.11% Sammy Ameobi
10.49% Karl Henry
8.39% Antonee Robinson
4.98% David Wheater
3.41% Mark Beevers
2.1% Mark Little
1.84% Josh Vela
1.57% Darren Pratley
0.26% Reece Burke