Category Archives: Rochdale

League Two: Weekly Round-Up 28/10

A low scoring weekend in League Two nevertheless saw some intriguing results, with second-placed Port Vale coming unstuck at Northampton, and Cheltenham stealing a march on Fleetwood Town; usurping third place.


Stanley arrested their recent disastrous slide with a narrow victory, earned by a late goal from top scorer Padraig Amond. Despite losing five of their last seven matches, Stanley found their manager poached by Chesterfield in the week, but caretaker boss Leam Richardson saw his side dominate possession though ride their luck, as goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin made a number of excellent saves. The victory consolidated Accrington’s position exactly halfway, while Rovers, who could have drawn level with their opponents had they won, now see themselves being dragged once more close to the murky depths.


Neal Ardley has not made quite the impact that Dons fans were hoping, and this result means he has won only one of his four games in charge so far. There is of course no disgrace in losing to the league leaders, but Ardley accused his players of being fearful afterwards, and lucky to lose by just one goal. That said, the home side had an equal split of chances, and hoarded more possession. The Gills’ 23rd minute winner came from midfielder Romain Vincent, who was making his first appearance on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, as he found the bottom corner from the edge of the box. This was the response of Champions, after Gillingham suffered a rare midweek defeat to Torquay.


A torrid afternoon for the Bantams ended with a late defeat, as they struggled on having lost two men to injury, and their captain to a first-half red card for violent conduct. Ravenhill was sent off after a skirmish with Lee Bell, though boss Phil Parkinson was unhappy and has suggested that they will appeal. James Hanson nodded narrowly wide for Bradford, while Albion’s Jacques Maghoma hit the crossbar. The game was only settled with ten minutes left, when Calvin Zola converted a Damien McCrory cross, lifting Albion to the periphery of the play-off zone.


Reading loanee Lawson D’Ath opened the scoring on his debut for the Robins, as they executed a convincing victory over an Exeter side who are plummeting like a stone. After an excellent start to the season, the Devon team have lost six of their last eight matches, though it is a testament to that start they still sit in eleventh. Despite shading possession, and Jamie Cureton seeing an early effort cleared off the line, the Grecians were overwhelmed by the Robins’ clinical edge. D’Ath’s goal early in the second half was added to by a tidy brace from Keith Lowe, as Cheltenham fortified their position in third.


Could the great escape really be on? Since Edgar Davids’ arrival, the Bees are buzzing, having notched two wins and a draw where all they had previously tasted was defeat. This win must have been particularly satisfying, as it came with a last minute penalty from midfielder Mark Byrne, following a foul from Drew Talbot. Barnet goalkeeper Graham Stack was particularly busy in the first half, as the Spireites strived to give new boss Paul Cook something to glean from his debut match in the hotseat. Although still bottom, Barnet are now just two points from safety.


Dean Holdsworth will feel a little better about life after a week when Aldershot finally won again, away at Southend, and drew away at Dagenham. Aside from the Daggers striking the top of the crossbar, this was a mundane match with little to separate the sides, although the Shots could have done their survival hopes no end of good had they won, as it would have put them level on points with their rivals. As it is, they still languish in the bottom two, with a resurgent Barnet now breathing down their necks.


A strange game at Spotland saw the home side dominating possession, but finding themselves unable to finish off Fleetwood, despite a red card for the Cod Army’s Alex Marrow, and a penalty, which was superbly tipped onto the post by Scott Davies. Dale were looking for back-to-back home wins, having defeated Oxford in midweek, but it was not to be. They remain outside the play-off zone, while Fleetwood are sitting pretty in fourth.


The Millers earned a third victory on the bounce after seeing off the Pilgrims at the New York Stadium. Substitute Kieran Agard made the difference when he converted Daniel Nardiello’s cross in the 73rd minute, but it was a game of many chances squandered, particularly from the home side. After losing Lionel Ainsworth to an injury in the warm-up, and Dale Tonge inside five minutes to another injury, the Millers set about peppering Argyle’s goal, and came close through Lee Frecklington, Ben Pringle, Gareth Evans, and a disallowed effort from Kari Arnason, while Argyle saw Guy Madjo botch a rare chance.


A game only a masochist would wish to see again, perhaps the only moment of genuine interest came when York’s Jason Walker headed an absolute sitter wide from six yards out.


Torquay clung on to Danny Stevens’ 30th minute goal to see off a Morecambe side who sent up goalkeeper Barry Roche in the dying minutes, to no avail. Roche had already made a fantastic save from Billy Bodin to prevent it from becoming 2-0, while Gulls’ boss Martin Ling admitted this was a ground-out, stoical display rather than anything particularly flowing, but will be delighted that Torquay are still unbeaten at home this season.


Chris Wilder once again saw off the immediate threat of the sack, as Oxford followed a hugely disappointing midweek loss to Rochdale with a comfortable victory over strugglers Wycombe. James Constable finally broke his personal drought to open the scoring on four minutes, set up by Tom Craddock, who belted in a second a minute into the second half. Just three minutes later, the home side made a game of it with a Joel Grant penalty, after Constable had dragged down Gareth Ainsworth, but just after the hour mark Sean Rigg sent in a cross that was headed home by Johnny Mullins to settle the contest.


Port Vale, despite getting seven out of eight shots on target, finished on the wrong end of a scoreline that didn’t flatter the Cobblers. They opened the scoring in bizarre fashion on 20 minutes, as Alex Nicholls pounced on a loose backpass to round the goalkeeper. Sadly, he was scythed down as he put the ball into an empty net by John McCombe, which actually broke his leg. After eleven minutes of treatment, and a red card for McCombe, play resumed, and Town put the horrific incident behind them to finish the Valiants, as Akinfenwa laid off for Louis Moult to finish just before half-time. Port Vale remain in second, while Northampton moved up to fourteenth.

League Two: Weekly Round-Up 21/10

A goal-laden League Two weekend produced some superb displays. The top two enjoyed resounding home wins, while Oxford ensured at least a stay of execution for Chris Wilder, after they destroyed Accrington 5-0 at the Kassam.


The time may have come for the Shots board to seriously contemplate a difficult decision, after they had their seventh consecutive loss inflicted on them by the Millers. This was a bruising home defeat, following goals from Lee Frecklington, a cracking Bob Harris free-kick, and Alex Revell. The more serious matter was the complete dearth of passion or urgency from the home side. Their own fans gave ironic cheers as their only shot on target came with just seven minutes left, with the game already resoundingly lost. Dean Holdsworth claimed some harsh words were exchanged in the dressing room, but it’s hard to see where he can go from here, as the Shots are now being cut adrift at the bottom.


Cometh the hour, cometh the Pitbull. Despite reports that he demands players call him ‘Mister’ or ‘Sir’, and making himself captain for his first start in nearly two years, Edgar Davids certainly proved he is worth any and all deference, as he made a tenacious debut, dominating midfield and guiding the Bees to a long, long, long-awaited first win of the season, and a sparkling one at that. Barnet fans were rubbing their eyes in disbelief as their formerly hapless players pulled together to crush the Cobblers underfoot, with second half goals from Krystian Pearce, Andrew Yiadom, John Oster and Anthony Edgar sealing a stupendous win; the last two goals coming in the last minute and stoppage time. This was not enough to lift Barnet off of the bottom, but closed the gap to a very reachable four points. The only way is up for the Bees who have finally found their wings.


Nakhi Wells grabbed a brace to see off Cheltenham, and propel Bradford up to fifth. Cheltenham had actually broken the deadlock just before the half-hour, after Jermaine McGlashan was fouled by Andrew Davies. Marlon Pack dispatched the spot-kick to give the away support something to cling to, but Wells equalised in first half injury time with a penalty of his own, following a Sido Jombadi handball. The Bantams seized the initiative in the second half, and Wells converted from close-range on 68 minutes, before left-back James Meredith made the game safe on 83 minutes. The result saw Bradford move to within a point of Cheltenham in the play-off zone.


The Pirates cut down the Gulls, despite a brave second half comeback from two down for the away side. Bolton loanee Tom Eaves chipped Rovers in front on the quarter-hour mark, and two minutes later it was two, with Matt Lund firing home a free-kick. United’s Joe Oastler was even sent off for a second bookable offence, but this did not prevent an unlikely comeback, as top scorer Rene Howe halved the arrears, and Aaron Downes headed in the equaliser six minutes later. With Torquay fans sensing a momentous comeback, they were cut down in their prime, as Wayne Brown set up Eaves again for a clinical winner.


A 32nd minute Chris Atkinson header saw the Spireites snatch another excellent win for caretaker boss Tommy Wright, who is fast accruing a record a permanent manager would be proud of. Chesterfield, having garnered just four points from their opening five matches, have now added a further fourteen points from eight, and the board must be tempted to keep Wright in limbo, such is the effect his current stewardship seems to be having. Grecians boss Paul Tisdale laid into his team after this defeat, calling the performance succinctly: ‘not good enough’.


Neal Ardley collected his first point as Wimbledon manager, as his side showed some of the former Wimbledon’s spirit to fight back from a goal down. A classy counter-attack finished by Steven Gillespie put Fleetwood into the lead, but the Dons’ Byron Harrison nodded home just after the hour to nab a much-needed point for Ardley’s army which nudged them three points clear of the drop zone, and left the Cod Army in third only by virtue of goal difference.


Another imperious display from the leaders saw off a Burton side who had previously been eight games unbeaten. Tom Flanagan rattled one into the top corner to set the tone, and his defensive colleague Matt Fish made it two before half-time. Albion’s resistance saw an early second-half inroad made, when Zander Diamond converted from close range, but Myles Weston scored a lovely individual third, and the game was finished off impeccably by a wonderful Joe Martin half-volley just after the hour mark. Albion boss Gary Rowett said afterwards that the Gills were confortably the best side they had faced all season, and he expected them to go up as champions. Hard to see who could disagree with that statement at the moment.


Morecambe boss Jim Bentley heaped superlatives on hot young striking prospect Jack Redshaw, who made the crucial difference with two minutes to go. Redshaw clinically finished for his third goal in two games, leaving Bentley to say that Redshaw looks ‘a real goal threat’, something he claimed they had been missing until his interventions. It’s back to the drawing board meanwhile for Shrimpers’ boss Paul Sturrock.


Chris Wilder lives to fight another day, after his Oxford side blew away an abject Accrington at the Kassam. Striker Tom Craddock wrote his name into the history books in the process, bagging four goals; the first Oxford striker to do so since John Durnin some twenty years ago. Craddock had his hat-trick within the first 36 minutes, adding a fourth late on, and the game was polished off by an Alfie Potter goal. As poor as Oxford’s recent run had been, this resounding victory sees them now just three points from the play-off zone.


The Pilgrims earned a third consecutive win to dispel some of the gloom that had been squatting around Home Park. The game was a tale of three penalties. Two awarded to Argyle at the beginning and end of the match, both duly converted by Guy Madjo, and one to Rochdale, which Bobby Grant saw saved by Jake Cole. Andres Gurrieri headed in Plymouth’s second three minutes after Madjo’s first penalty, and, despite the missed penalty, Dale stole a lifeline through a Dale-y, sorry, Dele Adebola. The Pilgrims did not allow any resurrection though, and the second Madjo penalty was almost on the whistle.


An early penalty from Joel Grant did see Wycombe hold a lead until the second half, though they were reduced to ten men after Jo Kuffour’s second booking. The additional man saw the Valiants put the Chairboys to the sword in the second period, with Ben Williamson tucking away an equaliser just on the hour mark. League Two’s top scorer Tom Pope then inevitably helped himself to a brace of headers, before Ashley Vincent wrapped up the scoring. Wycombe were under siege in the second half, and may feel grateful to escape with just a minor rout.


A thrilling game saw the Minstermen just edge out the Daggers at Bootham Crescent. An Ashley Chambers brace was added to by Matty Blair, cancelling out an initial equaliser from Dagenham’s defender Luke Wilkinson, who also claimed a brace in the last minute to set up a tense finale. York manager Gary Mills suggested afterwards it was a struggle to deal with the Daggers’ uncompromising style, but lauded his team’s efforts to earn the victory, after two successive draws had left them somewhat marooned in midtable. Dagenham remain six points clear of the relegation zone.

League Two: Weekly Round Up 06/10

Story by Aaron Bliss

The division is compressing after this weekend’s results, though the one constant is Barnet remaining winless!


Accrington have had a lousy week, having seen their midweek game against Rotherham called off through bad weather, and then seeing a valiant comeback thwarted at the death against an impressive Rochdale. A cracking George Donnelly 30-yarder in the first minute of the game catapulted Rochdale into the driving seat, and they nudged further ahead after Dele Adebola was fouled crudely in the box, and the marvellously-named Ashley Grimes converted the spot-kick just after the half-hour. Stanley finally rose to the challenge and halved the deficit just five minutes later when Piero Mingoia drove home. The home fans were raucous two minutes into the second period, as the comeback seemed to be complete, with Rommy Boco scoring a long-range effort that Josh Lillis won’t be proud of letting in. The goalkeeper was let off on 83 minutes though, as Dale scored a glorious winner when Jason Kennedy finished off a breakaway move.


Dean Holdsworth seems to be suffering badly from second-season-syndrome, as Aldershot’s malaise continued, and they remain second-bottom. After being on the wrong end of the most stupendous comeback of the season so far in midweek; contriving to lose 4-3 at Torquay despite taking a three-goal lead, the Shots could not rouse themselves for another poor display. Meanwhile, Chesterfield may just continue without a permanent manager indefinitely, judging by their results since Tommy Wright took the reins as caretaker. Wright lost his first match in charge in midweek to Morecambe, but they came through their test of responding instantly brilliantly. Troy Brown had already seen a header cleared off the line, but the Spireites stole the game on late on, as Chris Atkinson turned home a loose ball on 76 minutes.


The Pirates showed the Cobblers a clean pair of heels as they made off with the booty at the Memorial Stadium. Having narrowly lost to Cheltenham in midweek, it was crucial that Mark McGhee’s men continued their resurgence, and they maintained their steady climb from the League Two depths. Their cause was no doubt assisted by Northampton’s Anthony Charles getting himself sent off for dragging down Derek Riordan in the first half. Goals from Tom Eaves and Garry Kenneth put Rovers in control against the ten men just after the break, before Adebayo Akinfenwa responded on 75 minutes, but the game was well and truly put to bed by Ollie Norburn with six minutes to go.


Pandemonium ensued in the dying stages of this game, as Fleetwood stole a point at the death through Junior Brown, before Cheltenham captain Alan Bennett infuriated his manager by pushing the celebrating Jamie McGuire and getting himself sent off. Cheltenham had launched a comeback after the Cod Army opened the scoring just after the half-hour. David Ball forced the ball in after a melee, but the second half saw Cheltenham hit Fleetwood with both barrels. Jeff Goulding and Sido Jombati struck in a ten minute period that saw the game turned on its head. Both teams had ground out away wins in midweek, and both will probably accept a point after this hard-fought encounter.


Dagenham hung on for an unexpected victory over high-flying Bradford to lift themselves a little further clear of danger. The Daggers flew out of the traps, with Billy Bingham, Michael Spillane and Luke Wilkinson scoring to give them a seemingly unassailable lead. But, as Aldershot discovered in midweek, a three goal lead is not remotely safe in League Two, and just ten minutes later the arrears had been reduced to 3-2, after Nakhi Wells had fired in a great shot and converted a penalty. Everything was up for grabs as the game slipped into its denouement, but, just as Bantams fans may have been dreaming of a momentous comeback, Dagenham sealed the game through Dwight Gayle. Even then, the home team were made to sweat, as Bradford striker Alan Connell notched a third for the visitors. D&G saw out the game though, to leave their league position looking much healthier, in the shape of eighteenth.


Tom Pope continued his superb season with a brace to see off Exeter at St James’ Park. Pope is now streets ahead as the division’s top scorer with eleven league goals to his name. A first half close-range header opened the scoring, and a second-half header completed the job. Exeter, who enjoyed a narrow away win against hapless Barnet in midweek, remain in fourth, while the Valiants close gap on Gillingham to just 3 points.


A pretty uneventful goalless draw which suited the home side more than Burton, who could have really made inroads at the top end of the division, had they found a breakthrough. Morecambe will just be delighted to have endured a much better week, after ending their string of defeats with a home win over Chesterfield, and keeping a clean sheet against a dangerous Albion side.


Oxford’s rollercoaster season continued, as they ended the league leaders’ 100% away record with a clean sheet. The U’s season before this week had lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous, with three opening wins followed by six consecutive defeats, which had made manager Chris Wilder’s position a little tenuous to say the least. They finally broke the spell with a narrow midweek victory, ‘sharing’ five goals with AFC Wimbledon, before stifling the irrepressible Gills to leave the home fans roaring approval. Veteran Deon Burton was once more the biggest threat for the Gills, while Tom Craddock nearly stole the show for Oxford late on.


A bizarre climax unfolded in Devon, as Wimbledon claimed a much-needed victory at the death, when all seemed to have been lost. The still-managerless Dons opened the scoring after last season’s top scorer Jack Midsom conspired to set up Byron Harrison. This was on 13 minutes, and, toil as they might, Plymouth looked sunk, while Wimbledon were the better side, but clearly fearful after so long without a win. Their fears were realised in the 89th minute, when they conceded a penalty. Although his penalty was saved, Rhys Griffiths tucked in the rebound to leave the Dons’ support crestfallen. They’d reckoned without a buccaneering spirit that saw Wimbledon’s Rashid Yussuff squeeze home a deflected effort in injury time to claim the spoils, though.


The Bees winless season continued, though a point from Roots Hall is not to be sniffed at. The game progressed as expected at first, with Southend threatening, and striking the crossbar twice, though Barnet took a two-goal lead, with second-half goals from Ricky Holmes and Jake Hyde. If only they could have held out longer, perhaps the Bees could have been far more optimistic at their position heading into the international break. But it was just two minutes before Shrimpers’ cult hero Freddy Eastwood dispatched a penalty awarded after Barry Fuller had been penalised for handball, and then, with just six minutes to hold out, the Bees capitulated; conceding an inevitable equaliser to a scuffed Kevan Hurst effort.


Wycombe boosted their survival prospects no end with an excellent victory over a strangely subdued Torquay side. Wycombe caretaker-manager Gareth Ainsworth crossed for ex-Spurs and Norwich centre-back Gary Doherty to head Wanderers in front, before Rene Howe popped up with his eighth of the season to equalise. From there it was anyone’s game, and Wycombe seized the initiative to grab a winner on 63 minutes, through midfielder Josh Scowen.


More action-packed than the average nil-nil, York took the game to their promotion-chasing guests, testing Scott Shearer with efforts from Jason Walker and Ashley Chambers, while Walker later fired fractionally wide of the post. Lionel Ainsworth could have stolen the game for the Millers, but wasted a late chance under pressure.

League Two: Weekly Round Up 28/09

Story by Aaron Bliss

More managers coming under heavy fire as the League Two season progresses. Chris Wilder is on the managerial precipice, after his Oxford side’s sixth league defeat in a row, while Bristol Rovers fans were roaring their approval as they finally won to lift themselves a little clear of danger.


After the initial post-manager bounce last time out, Wimbledon sunk back into a familiar refrain, as Stanley picked up another excellent away day victory. The familiar figure of Padraig Amond broke the deadlock with a neat chip on 25 minutes, and Peter Murphy sealed it with a superb volley on 78 minutes. Sammy Moore scored nothing but a consolation in the last minute, and it’s back to the drawing board for the lamentable Wombles.


Dean Holdsworth is another manager who may feel the prickle of pressure on the nape of his neck, as his Aldershot side extended their barren run to one win in the last eight league matches. Craig Reid had blown a chance to fire the Shots into the lead, when his shot cannoned off the woodwork, and two goals just after half-time from the Minstermen sealed their fate. Matt Blair slid in the opener, and Jason Walker picked himself up from winning a penalty to convert it. This game ended York’s own recent four-game winless streak.


A classic backs-to-the-wall defensive performance from Micky Adams’ Valiants saw Tom Pope seize on to a mistake to seal a ground out victory at Valley Parade, ending Bradford’s perfect run of home victories abruptly. Bantams’ goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin saved well from Myrie-Williams, while at the other end Nakhi Wells and James Hanson could not convert their dominance of chances into goals. Pope’s fourth goal in three matches, pouncing on a loose back-header from Gary Jones, saw Vale climb to second place.


Ady Boothroyd described the first half as the worst since he took over at Northampton. Calvin Zola had scored inside ten minutes to give Burton the lead, and apparently the visitors suffered an ear-bashing from Boothroyd, before going 2-0 down on the hour, after an unfortunate own goal from Kelvin Langmead. The Cobblers’ manager had claimed he wished his side would ‘learn to punch before being punched’, and it was certainly true here, as the two goal deficit galvanised them into action. Within three minutes they had halved the arrears, as Langmead immediately made amends by heading in a free-kick. A scrambled equaliser from David Artell had the away following roaring their delight, but within five minutes Albion had restored their lead, with the fantastically-named Zander Diamond heading home a free-kick. All seemed lost, but once more Town rose to the challenge, despite the minimal time left, with Alex Nicholls pulling the Cobblers up by their bootstraps on 83 minutes.


Darren Carter scored at the beginning and end of the game to give Cheltenham a welcome win; in the process consigning Morecambe to their fourth game without a win. A marvellous half-volley from 25 yards broke the deadlock inside 90 seconds, and Morecambe had a mountain to climb when Kevin Ellison was red carded for headbutting Town’s Steve Elliott. The game was sealed in the last minute by a low drive from Carter once more.


Tommy Wright remains caretaker manager at Chesterfield, and he has yet to taste defeat. Both goals were scored within the six minutes after the break. Chesterfield’s Tendayi Darikwa fired across Michael Poke to put the Spireites in front, but this lead was only three minutes old when it was eliminated by who else but the prolific Rene Howe, who notched his sixth of the season for the Gulls.


Wycombe’s sacking of Gary Waddock was made to look rather foolish as Dagenham seized the chance to stake a claim for their first victory of the campaign against a listless and managerless away side. Dwight Gayle clinically dispatched a Sam Williams pass to put the Daggers ahead at the break, and a handball just before the hour mark was ruthlessly punished from the penalty spot by Michael Spillane. Wycombe had a handful of chances to work their way back into the game, but saw much less of the ball, and Billy Bingham rifled one into the top corner with a minute left to seal an impressive maiden victory for the Daggers.


The Pirates stole onto the Devon shores and plundered a first win of the season, as Exeter’s erratic season continued. David Clarkson gave the visitors a surprise lead by converting a long ball from Tom Parkes after just five minutes. Grecians boss Paul Tisdale claimed the first half display was one of the finest since he took charge, and blamed aberrant errors for the defeat. Veteran striker Jamie Cureton equalised on the stroke of half-time to level matters, but Mark McGhee’s side shivered the host’s timbers once more on 69 minutes, when Artur Krysiak let substitute Eliot Richards’ shot slide past him.


Bottom club Barnet once again tasted bitter defeat, though this time they actually took the lead, before goalkeeper Graham Stack got himself sent off, leading to a penalty equaliser and eventual defeat. Jake Hyde bundled in the opener five minutes in, and the Bees support were dreaming of seeing their demoralising run of defeats finally ended, but these hopes were extinguished when Stack was red carded and the resultant penalty dispatched by David Ball. Tom Barkhuizen headed in with ten minutes remaining to flatten the away fans, and the Cod Army also struck the woodwork from a Jamie Milligan free-kick. Barnet remain stranded at the foot of the division, and are beginning to get cut off.


Gillingham’s imperious reign at the summit was finally dented with a first defeat of the season, though they did not fall easily. An Andrew Tuttle cross-shot had put Rochdale in the driving seat, but it wasn’t until Danny Jackman was sent off for a tackle on the goalscorer that you sensed it may not be the Gills’ day. Sure enough, Dale made the man advantage count by scoring a second through Bobby Grant, and, despite a late penalty from Danny Kedwell, the away side clung on to deal out punishment untasted thus far for Martin Allen’s side.


Plymouth may well be more than pleased, despite being the home side, with this draw against a dangerous Southend side. After a goalless first half, the Pilgrims took the lead with a cute finish from Alex McDonald, but this lasted just four minutes. The prolific Britt Assombalonga turned his man expertly before running clear and finishing to get the Shrimpers on level terms. Plymouth actually came closest to a late winner, and any thoughts of a Southend winner were dispelled by a late red card for substitute Barry Corr, who fouled Darren Purse.


The Merry Millers returned to winning ways with a comprehensive slaying of a dismal Oxford, who have now lost six league games in a row, after opening the season with three wins in a row. Despite falling behind to an early goal from Sean Rigg, Rotherham soon took control and struck the woodwork twice through Ben Pringle and Lionel Ainsworth, before their giant striker Kayode Odejayi was taken down in the penalty area on the half hour. Micheal O’Connor converted the spot kick, and Rotherham never looked back. It was late on before they finally took the lead though, when O’Connor drilled in from open play. Gloss was added by a third, scored by Jason Taylor in the dying moments. The only bright spot for Oxford was the return of the injured Deane Smalley from the bench. How they need him to hit form quickly.