Under Neil Warnock, Rotherham United have fought until the very last second in each game and this paid dividends once again against Derby. The Millers came back from 3-0 down, to draw 3-3 after they scored three times in the final eight minutes of the encounter.
Up until the last ten minutes, Derby put in a masterful display to take apart their opponents. They would have scored more than three goals if it was not for the intervention of Lee Camp, who on numerous occasions saved his side.
Their display for 80 minutes, showed exactly why the Rams should be fighting towards the automatic promotion places, as some of their players clearly have the ability to play at a higher level.
The goals for Derby came in a space of ten second half minutes.
The first came from Tom Ince, after Rotherham centre back, Danny Collins, failed to clear. The ball fell nicely for Ince, who made no mistake as he finished well into the bottom corner.
The visitors doubled their lead just eight minutes later through talisman Chris Martin. Derby full back, Cyrus Christie, pulled the ball back to Jeff Hendrick. His scuffed shot fell to Martin, who was able to tap home from close range.
Derby made it three straight from the kick off, as a poor back pass from Danny Collins fell short, Martin pressured Camp, which allowed Ince to score his second of the game.
But, their display in the last ten minutes typifies why they have been underachieving this season. A mixture of the players being mentally frail as well as poor game management from their manager, Darren Wassall, gave Rotherham a chance to come back from the brink of defeat.
The manager showed his inexperience as a manager when he decided to bring on Nick Blackman and Darren Bent, when his side were 3-0 up, 76 minutes into the game.
All credit should go to Rotherham. A side who were chasing shadows for most of the game, kept trying to create chances and their persistence paid off as they scored, what should have been a consolation, after 83 minutes.
A defensive lapse allowed Grant Ward to set up his namesake, Danny. He was in acres of space and he finished calmly to make it 3-1, with 7 minutes left to go.
Then, a corner from Joe Newell, eventually fell to Leon best, who managed to get the ball over the line to pull another goal back for the home side.
The unbelievable comeback was complete in the first minute of added time. Danny Ward sent in a brilliant cross towards Leon Best. The striker wanted it more than the defender, as he headed home to make it 3-3, to send the Rotherham crowd into delirium.
Rotherham manager, Neil Warnock, was delighted with his sides comeback:
I can’t think of another comeback as good as that, but I forget. It’s the sweetest because we were playing against a very good team and the players they have got and that’s why I am enjoying the challenge. They will be going home thinking they have lost the game, you shouldn’t concede three goals in the final 10 minutes. This is the result of the season, never mind the day. I don’t think there will be another one like this.
On the other hand, Darren Wassall was lost for words after witnessing his side fall apart in the final moments of the game:
Derby will need to show their mental toughness by responding to this demoralising result. If they do not manage to do so, they face the impending possibility of falling outside of the play-off places.
There is no better time for them to pick up a win to lift spirits in the camp than next Saturday, as they face arch rivals Nottingham Forest. A win in this game could be the springboard to put a good run together to maintainn their promotion push.
Rotherham will go into their game away at Ipswich next Saturday with no fear. A free week will be welcome news for the Millers squad, after having three games in a week against three top teams in Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesborough and Derby. The effect of this schedule was evident in the encounter against Derby, as there were a few tired legs in the side.
United’s recent run of form has been magnificent, as they have picked up ten points out of a possible twelve in their last four games. This will be leaving teams above them looking over their shoulders with fear and with Neil Warnock as manager, Rotherham will always have a chance of escaping from trouble.