This fixture stood out as the most important game that each of the sides have played in the league so far.
Rotherham were looking to continue their recent good form at home, after they managed to pick up 3 wins in their last 4 games at the New York Stadium. In doing so, a win would mean that they would extend the gap between them and Charlton to 7 points and potentially extend the gap between them and Bristol City to 4 points, depending on the result of their game against Birmingham.
Charlton on the other hand, were aiming to put an end their dreadful run away from home. They have lost their last 2 away games, conceding 11 in the process, as well as failing to score themselves. On top of this, the Addicks have failed to pick up a win since their 3-1 victory against play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday. A win for Charlton would mean they close the gap between them and the in demand 21st position, which is currently occupied by rivals and today’s opponents Rotherham United.
In the end, Charlton picked up a 4-1 victory.
The Millers put in an uninspiring performance, which lacked fight and quality. This would have disappointed their supporters given the enormity of the fixture and the impact it had on their season.
Even though the Millers did put in an extremely lacklustre performance, Charlton do deserve a lot of credit.
They did not perform brilliantly themselves, showing frailties at the back at times. But, this was made up for by their fight and passion. The Addicks outfought Rotherham and certainly wanted it more than the Millers who looked disinterested throughout the afternoon. Charlton were worthy of the three points and the scoreline did not flatter them.
Charlton opened the scoring after just 3 minutes. Rotherham were caught on the counter as Simon Makienok flicked the ball onto his teammate Zakarya Bergdich on the half way line, Bergdich then sprinted towards the penalty area, before he pulled the ball back to Makienok. He then smashed the ball into the bottom corner from just inside the 18 yard box.
Despite this, Rotherham found an equaliser just 7 minutes later. Danny Ward got the ball just outside the penalty area, where he set up Chris Burke. He finished off the move by placing the ball through Stephen Henderson’s legs to score on his home debut for his new side.
An issue for Rotherham this season has been conceding just before half time. The Millers have conceded between the 40th to the 45th minute 8 times this season before this encounter.
The Addicks increased this stat to 9 when Charlton’s goalkeeper, Henderson, quickly released the ball to Jordan Cousins, who advanced up the field before he set up Johann Berg Gudmundsson. He ran past Kirk Broadfoot, who failed in his attempts to bring Gudmundsson down, before he squared the ball Igor Vetokele, who tapped in from close range.
Charlton extended their lead on the 64th minute, Simon Makienok lost his man when the ball came into the box from a corner, leaving him with the simple task of heading home from short range to score his second of the game.
The Millers were given a chance to get back in game after earning a penalty when Jonson Clarke Harris was brought down by Jorge Teixeira. The striker took the penalty himself, but his poor effort went high over the bar and into the Charlton away end.
Charlton made it 4 in added time, Gudmundsson received the ball in midfield before he set clear Lookman who beat the offside trap to finish nicely into the bottom corner.
Rotherham United manager, Neil Redfearn, was not happy with the performance of his side today, in his interview with the Sheffield Star reporter, Paul Davis, he stated that:
— Paul Davis (@paulm_davis) January 30, 2016
The Rotherham fans were disappointed with the today’s showing, one supporter said that:
Fans have been let down today by the manager and the players, wrong formation, inept performances and outmuscled all over the pitch #rufc
— Dave Sayner (@dave4jaz) January 30, 2016
Although, Charlton manager, Jose Riga, was encouraged by his sides performance:
It’s a good win because any time you play against a direct opponent playing for the same (against relegation) it’s important, we had a plan before the game and we were respecting it. Everybody did their job in a very good way.
The win for Charlton meant they closed the gap between them and Rotherham to 1 point, improving their goal difference in the process.
The Millers managed to stay out of the relegation zone after today’s defeat, as Bristol City only managed to draw against their opponents Birmingham City. In doing so, Bristol moved onto the same number of points as Rotherham, but they stay below them because of Rotherham’s superior goal difference.
After this important win, Charlton will be looking to kick on by going on a good run of form. Next up, they come up against relegation rivals Bristol City, which is a fixture that could play a clear factor come the end of the season. The Addicks could move out of the relegation zone with a win, which some Charlton fans may have not thought would have been possible after consecutive heavy away defeats to Huddersfield and Hull, which was just two weeks prior to this key victory. This just goes to show how quickly things can change in this league and how unpredictable it is.
Rotherham will be looking to move on from this defeat as soon as possible. Their next game is against Bolton, another side fighting for survival. This is now a must win game for the Millers, who cannot afford to fall to two consecutive defeats against their rivals.
This coming Saturday, is a vitally important day in the fight for survival in the Championship. Whoever manages to pick up all three points in their game, could go onto stay up in May as a result of a boost in confidence and belief that would come with a victory.