MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 1 Cheltenham Town 0

Winning start: New Millers manager Steve Evans watches on from the stands at Don Valley      Pictures: Steve parkin
Winning start: New Millers manager Steve Evans watches on from the stands at Don Valley Pictures: Steve parkin

IN front of their new manager, Rotherham United produced a rousing finale and a much deserved winner in the third minute of stoppage time to make it three wins on the bounce.

It was central defender Ryan Cresswell who rose above a ruck of players to meet a Ben Pringle corner and head high into the far corner and bring joy to Don Valley.

Ryan Cresswell heads home the winner    Pictures: Steve parkin

Ryan Cresswell heads home the winner Pictures: Steve parkin

They had produced a splendid, attacking first half display - which included a missed penalty by Lewis Grabban - and then plugged away against well organised opposition who simply said “break us down”.

It looked as if the Millers, for all their tireless efforts, were going to run out of time until the last ditch goal that keeps alive their slim hopes of making the Play-offs after all.

Of course, there was much attention off the field too and this was ramped up with the game four minutes old.

That was the point at which new boss Steve Evans appeared, walking into the Directors Box.

He will have been heartened by the reaction as plenty of Millers fans broke into applause, others joining them when they realised what was happening. But in the interests of fairness, it has to be said that plenty appeared to be sitting on their hands.

They will be the ones uncertain or, at this stage, unsure about the appointment.

The welcome lasted long enough for Evans to realise it and to briefly return the applause. There was even a rendition from the back of the stand of Stevie Evans Red and White Army just to add to the welcome.

The overall reaction on this wet Easter Monday afternoon was not universally 100 per cent and lots were saying “Give him a chance” whilst there will always be doubters.

It is fair to say Evans - one of football’s more controversial figures - has some winning over to do.

The best way to do that, of course, is by winning, something he has had considerable success at in his rather chequered managerial career.

He will certainly have liked what he saw from the start as Rotherham, still with those faint Play-off hopes, took the game to Cheltenham as caretaker-manager Darren Patterson said they would do.

It was the final game in charge for Patterson, a role he has filled with professionalism, and in a dignified manner and his record is four wins from five games to revive things and at least kept the season alive albeit only just.

Well, the Millers certainly did start well and kept it going throughout the first half. They had Cheltenham at full stretch and only the visitors noted teamwork and defensive capabilities kept them in things at half-time.

Plus, of course, the penalty save by Butland from Grabban.

Revell volleyed over after an Evans cross was half-cleared and the visitors certainly had their work cut out in repelling Rotherham’s constant foraging.

The breakthrough was on after 28 minutes when , after good work by Pringle, Grabban was toppled by Bennett inside the area.

Goal No 20 beckoned but it was to be the first miss of Grabban’s penalty-taking for the Millers, the giant Butland - on loan from Birmingham and tipped to be a future international - dived to his right to clutch the spot kick.

Minutes later, Mullins headed a corner back into the danger area and Bennett bravely headed away.

Pringle, after his goal at Wimbledon, tried his luck again from 30 yards and as the ball zipped across the rain-sodden turf, Butland was equal to it.

There was even the sight of Cresswell overlapping deep on the right for a centre that beat Butland but just too far for anyone else.

Then came a great chance. Grabban’s cross was only partially cleared, it fell to Taylor but he blazed it over the bar from around 12 yards.

Cheltenham had simply not been able to get into the game as an attacking force and when Pringle wriggled through to the edge of the area, the ball was nudged away, Evans pounced and his snap shot was superbly turned away by Butland.

It was asking a lot to expect Rotherham to maintain such constant attacking. Cheltenham had to threaten themselves after the break and did so early on.

Mohamed put a close range header wide and then sub Low, perfectly set up by Mohamed, fired over from 12 yards.

Cheltenham, so quick to retreat and pull everyone back in a display of defensive organisation, were now presenting a blue shirted barrier that proved difficult to penetrate.

Pringle’s angled effort forced a save from Butland and then when Revell glanced on into the area, Evans drove in but Cheltenham again showed their defensive quality with a last ditch rescuing of the situation by Elliott and Lowe inside the six yard area.

Rotherham plugged away and it looked to be in vain until Cresswell’s late, late intervention brought an outburst of joy to DVS.

ROTHERHAM UTD: R Taylor; Tonge, Cresswell, Mullins, Wood; Schofield, J Taylor, Pringle; Grabban, Revell (Cadogan 79), Evans (Hoskins 71). Subs: Newey, Harrison,Warrington.

CHELTENHAM: Butland; Lowe, Bennett, Elliott, Garbutt; McGlashan (Low 60), Penn, Summerfield, Mohammed; Spencer (Duffy 79), Burgess (Smikle ht). Subs: Hooman, MacLean.

Referee: Colin Webster (Tyne and Wear).

Att.3,066.

Goal: Cresswell (90+3).