Last Saturdays game against Brentford was arguably the biggest Rotherham United have faced this season and they could not afford to fall to their third consecutive defeat, which may have left them cut adrift in the bottom three.
Brentford on the other hand, were looking to kick on from their 3-0 victory over Wolves in midweek, which put to an end a run of 4 games without a win.
In the end though, the Millers picked up all three points, closing the gap between them and their nearest rivals, Mk Dons, to just 3 points.
Rotherham were the better side overall and their work in the first half paid off when they took the lead on the 29th minute through Matt Derbyshire.
Leon Best applied pressure to the young centre back, Jack O’Connell, which allowed the striker to lay the ball off to the advancing Lee Frecklington. The midfielder found Derbyshire on his second attempt and the forward made no mistake and finished nicely into the bottom corner.
It seemed that United were going to go in at half-time 1-0 up. But, just before the break, Brentford were given an opportunity to equalise as they were incorrectly awarded a penalty.
The referee thought that Frecklington had fouled Sergi Canos in the area, Alan Judge’s penalty was well saved by Lee Camp but the ball fell to Judge again, who was able to tap home to make it 1-1 at half time.
Brentford manager, Dean Smith, felt his side were lucky to have been awarded a penalty:
— leon wobschall (@LeonWobYP) February 27, 2016
The feeling of injustice seemed to fire up the Millers players, who carried on from where they left off in the first half, by asking by questions of the Brentford back line.
The South Yorkshire outfit went 2-1 up through Danny Ward.
A corner from Joe Mattock eventually fell to Lee Frecklington, who battled well to win the second ball. His efforts paid off as the ball fell to Danny Ward, who left David Button no chance, as he finished well into the bottom corner.
All of Rotherhams hard work nearly came undone in the end, as it took a superb goal line block from Frazer Richardson and a last minute save from Lee Camp to keep the score at 2-1.
The Millers come up against local rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, on Saturday. Neil Warnock will be looking forward to renew his love-hate relationship with Wednesday and he will be hoping to get one over his old foes.
After this defeat, Brentford find themselves placed 14th in the table. They are only a couple points away from securing their Championship status for next season. Therefore, Dean Smith and the Brentford board will be planning for next season, which they hope, can see them push on and move up the league next season.
In my opinion, there was one player who stood out above the rest in this encounter and that man is Lee Frecklington. He is a player who has struggled with injuries throughout this season. Neil Warnock confirmed after the game that the midfielder was not due to be passed fit for another 10 days when he started the game on Saturday:
— Paul Davis (@paulm_davis) February 27, 2016
The Millers faithful did not become aware of how much Frecklington is missed until he was introduced back into the side. He adds so much to Rotherhams armoury.
He gives the Millers energy in midfield, which has been lacking during his absence. As well as this, he adds an attacking threat and he is able to bite into his tackles, meaning he really does lead from the front.
The fact that he has returned to action 10 days early, really does typify the type of player Frecklington is, He has always shown his desire and professionalism throughout his career.
This victory really does give Rotherham United a fighting chance of staying up.
The win will give the squad a much needed boost going into their tough run of fixtures in March, as they face tough trips to Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as home games against Derby and Middlesbrough.