Rotherham United 3 - West Bromwich Albion 1

Date: Friday 7th April 2023 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(4-3-3) Johansson, Harding, Humphreys, Wright (Blackett, 26), Hjelde, Lindsay (Odoffin, 87), Coventry, Fosu-Henry, Ogbene, Hugill, Ferguson (Rathbone, 65)
Unused subs: Vickers, Bramall, Eaves, Kelly
(3-4-1-2) Griffiths 5.8, Furlong 2.7 (Rogic, 58 2.8), Ajayi 2.6 (Bartley, 58 3.8), Pieters 3.4, Gardner-Hickman 4.8, Swift 3.5 (Albrighton, 58 2.7), Chalobah 2.3, Townsend 5.8, Wallace 3.7, Dike 3.2, Thomas-Asante 3.8 (Grant, 74 2.3)
Unused subs: Palmer, Malcolm, Andrews
Manager: Carlos Corberán  3.5
Scorers: Hugill (42, 50), Fosu-Henry (76); Swift (32 pen)
Referee: Tim Robinson 5.2
Attendance: 11,098   Home Fans 5.2   Away Fans 6.8

Brendan Clegg:

Well we picked our biggest game of the season to turn out our worst performance under Corberan and anything as bad as Bruce’s poorest.

We already knew Okay was out but when the team was announced Reach was also missing - for the season we learned later, another training injury - I was surprised that Livermore wasn’t even in the squad given he’s still being paid. We had BTA and Dike starting and the question was whether BTA would be left wing or up top in a 4-4-2.

From kickoff it was obvious he was up there with Dike and, in my view, we were very lucky early on not to concede. Despite the two up we didn’t get it forward early and continued to play our slow build up game, with players who can’t do it, with one fewer man in the centre and with Swift offering no pace on the left.

Rotherham pressed us aggressively and we were getting overrun until CC switched BTA out to the left, soon after he combined with Townsend to win the penalty and Swift put it away.

We were still laboured and got away with more sloppiness before we let Hugill score from a soft corner - to me it looked like Dike and Chalobah were terribly weak and the keeper wasn’t strong either.

We somehow survived another corner with a bar/goal line block and limped to half time.

Most fans would’ve got Bartley on at HT. I’d have hooked Pieters even though he was marginally better than Ajayi because we needed pace and an attacking threat.

No change came and almost immediately after HT Hugill got another gift, again with Dike and possibly others doing nowhere near enough.

It prompted CC into a triple sub with Ajayi, Furlong and Swift making way for Albrighton, Rogic and Bartley.

If anything that was a bit too much together too soon and we looked a disjointed mess. Rotherham scored a 3rd and we didn’t look like creating anything.

Our last throw of the dice was to get Grant on for BTA and I think he managed about 4 touches in 15 minutes, his first touch being loose control that resulted in him getting a yellow card. We haven’t missed him.

In the end this could’ve been 5 or 6. A lot of the players played like they’d been just been told by their agents that we’re a club in massive financial trouble and they might not be getting paid over the summer - such was our inability to win any 50-50 or second balls. There might be some truth in that but it really was a pathetic showing.

A poor and limited Rotherham with players on a fraction of our wages dominated us. Corberan is starting to look short on ideas or emotionally reactive, accepting our injury list has killed us.

A word on Hugill who, for 25 minutes, looked like we were still paying him with missed sitters and the penalty. He showed character and fight. He also showed Dike how to play up front despite being inferior to our man in natural gifts of height, power and running. He got his body between our defenders and the ball, he read situations better, he held it up simply or won flick ons. He was miles better than Dike today, and good luck to him.

  • Griffiths - 6 Did okay but Palmer is fit now. Time to get him out for the rest of the season I think. Didn’t stop anything that Palmer wouldn’t and kicks/corners/set plays still a worry.
  • Furlong - 4 Looks lost and Wallace is never there for an easy ball.
  • Ajayi - 4 Too many errors. Hasn’t got the qualities to play the way he’s being asked but, I maintain, would probably be a bigger threat up front than our other options.
  • Pieters - 4 Looked weak and slow.
  • Townsend - 6 One of the few who actually contributed.
  • Wallace - 4 form has dropped off a cliff. Doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing anymore.
  • Chalobah - 3 So casual and not strong enough
  • TGH - 5 At least covered ground and passed it okay although too weak at right back.
  • Swift - 4 Strolled about. Good penalty. Hard to work out whether our style limits his options by the time he gets it or he’s just phoning it in.
  • BTA - 4 Busy but poor decisions and little service.
  • Dike - 3 Miles off it. Didn’t win a flick on all game. Had one okay effort. There was a break when Swift eventually got fouled because Dike’s running was so poor he couldn’t release it.
  • Bartley- 5 A bit more solid but the petty attitude tightrope was there being walked. One pathetic swing when we needed leadership.
  • Rogic - 5 At least wanted the ball but do we trust him to start? Probably not.
  • Albrighton - 4 What was he doing for the third goal? Think he knows he’ll be working on his golf come the summer.
  • Grant - 3 I’d forgotten how bad he is. We need to offload him somehow.

And yet, the results went as favourably as they could have… like the footballing gods are goading us into hope. No thanks.