Rotherham United: Steve Evans wants end to Millers ref controversies

Kirk Broadfoot gets in a header against Birmingham
Kirk Broadfoot gets in a header against Birmingham

Boss Steve Evans heads into today’s crucial Easter-Monday showdown with Brighton praying the refereeing controversies that have blighted Rotherham United’s season are finally over.

The Millers manager again suggested that some people don’t want to see the club in the Championship after they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City on Friday.

He was convinced his team, four points above the drop zone with six games to play, should have had a second-half penalty when striker Matt Derbyshire tumbled under the challenge of Rob Kiernan, but referee Dean Whitestone said ‘no’.

“We need to regroup and get ready for Brighton, but if we’re on the end of more decisions like that I really fear for us,” he said.

“Every other club in the Championship would get that decision. We’ve said it before, some people don’t want us there. That decision was indicative of that. We asked the fourth official at the time and the fourth official was embarrassed, to be fair.”

Evans first mooted the idea of anti-Millers feeling after the 2-1 defeat at Blackburn in February, and he has been criticial of a number of major decisions by officials since the Millers started out in the second tier last August after back to back promotions.

Incidents include spot-kicks not being given home and way against Charlton, a Derbyshire goal at the Addicks being ruled out for offside, a spot-kick not being awarded at home to Wolves and striker Jordan Bowery being sent off against Middlesbrough, a decision which was later rescinded on appeal.

After a poor first half at St Andrew’s, Rotherham had fought back to 2-1 and were dominating the Blues when Whitestone’s verdict ruled out the opportunity to make it 2-2.

Evans blasted: “It was absolutely the worst refereeing decision I’ve ever seen. It’s a penalty and a red card. The referee has had an absolute shocker. I’ll mark him accordingly, which is as low as he can get.”

The Millers had started out at Birmingham with Derbyshire as the sole striker, but Evans switched Conor Sammon from a role on the right to up front and went 4-4-2 before the interval.

Brighton arrive at AESSEAL New York Stadium still with work to do to secure their own safety after losing 1-0 at home to Norwich on Friday.

Evans said: “They brought in a good man in (manager) Chris Hughton. They’ve been allowed to open the chequebook a little bit, signing the boy, Beram Kayal, from Celtic. He’s a top player.

“They’ve also signed the boy from Middlesbrough, Mustapha Carayol, who we’d enquired about. We just couldn’t get there on that one. It’s a good team that’s coming to New York.”

Third-from-bottom Millwall next play on Saturday at home to Watford, while Wigan, five points behind Rotherham in 23rd spot, are at home to Derby today.