Rotherham relegated as Fulham’s victory moves them into the play-offs

Sone Aluko’s 66th minute goal saw Fulham edge out Rotherham to condemn the latter to relegation as they become the first English football league team to be relegated this season.

The Championship’s bottom side started well and should have been ahead after just two minutes. The ball was whipped into the box by Joe Newell towards the out of form Danny Ward but his header from close range missed the target.

Rotherham mustered up another good chance after 17 minutes. They kept the ball alive on the edge of the box before Lee Frecklington’s shot from 25 yards out was superbly saved by Fulham’s ‘keeper David Button.

Fulham struggled to get going in the first half and were far from their best. Despite the away side dominating possession, it was in fact Rotherham who had the two best chances in the first period and if it was not for their lack of quality in attacking areas, they would have been ahead going into the break.

The visitor’s first gilt edge chance of the game fell to their top scorer Chris Martin at the beginning of the second half. Martin was clear in the middle of the penalty area but he could not get on the end of Tom Cairney’s square ball to finish off their swift counter attack.

After 66 minutes, Rotherham succumbed to Fulham’s persistent pressure as the play-off hopefuls grabbed the all-important goal to go ahead. After a couple of blocked chances, Sone Aluko reacted first to knock the ball home from a couple of yards out.

Yesterday will be remembered as one of the dark days in Rotherham’s history in a season that has been an unforgettable one for all of the wrong reasons.

The inevitable was made official as Rotherham were relegated and they look likely to finish with the lowest points total in Championship history, with the record currently standing at 26 points.

Rotherham’s interim manager Paul Warne gave his thoughts on his sides performance and subsequent relegation after the game:

I knew if we could get chances we’d hurt them and we created enough chances in the game to win it. We had as many chances as them, if not better, but we didn’t take them. The lads are licking their wounds in there. They know they’re relegated now and it’s a sad day for the players, the staff and everybody at the Club
Meanwhile, Fulham’s head coach Slaviša Jokanović offered praise to his players after their vital victory over Rotherham:
It’s a great step for us, after a very tough game. We knew we’d have to concentrate to score the goal and finish the game without making too many mistakes. We scored one goal and finished the game with a clean sheet.
 After being on the cusps of the play-off places for much of this season, Fulham moved above Sheffield Wednesday yesterday. The South Yorkshire outfit are without a win in four games and are struggling for form at the most important point of the season as Fulham now look the favourites to finish in the final play-off place.
Rotherham meanwhile must have the sole priority of preparing for next season to give them the best chance of reacting well to this disastrous campaign. The Millers look set to make an announcement detailing their plans for next season on Wednesday. 



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