Rotheram United 0
Port Vale 1
Boos rang round Don Valley stadium at the final whistle on Saturday as Rotherham lost 1-0 at home to Port Vale.
A 57th minute ‘stonewall’ penalty scored by visiting captain Marc Richards was enough to take all three points as both teams battled against strong winds.
The defeat is the Millers’ second at home in a week and a win looked unlikely throughout.
Reflecting on the supporters’ feelings, Millers’ boss Andy Scott said: “I can understand their frustrations. I’d boo, that was poor.”
“They pay their money and they are entitled to voice their displeasure. We know that we’re better than that and they know that as well.”
“The Rotherham public have had a lot to contend with over the last few years and they want to see light at the end of the tunnel. I want to be the one to give them that hope and if they stick with us, we’re going through a spell where we’re nearly getting there but we’re not quite getting there.”
In a match that was greatly influenced by strong gusting wind there was never going to be many goals, or moments of slick passing football and most of the game was spent in midfield with chances few and far between.
Lewis Grabban started up front for the home team after the move of striker Chris Holroyd to Preston North End for an undisclosed fee.
Top scorer Grabban had the best chance of the first half and should have score after 22 minutes when he capitalized on a slip from defender Adam Yates.
He pounced on the ball at the edge of the penalty but blasted over when Stuart Tomlinson in the Vale goal stumbled off the line.
Rotherham’s Rhys Taylor was called into action a minute later to tip a low 30-yard drive round the post.
Midway through the second half Doug Loft made a surging run on the left hand side, breaking into the penalty area, only to be taken down by a mis-timed lunging tackle from Dale Tonge.
Richards confidently stepped up and fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner beyond the reach of Taylor.
“It was an absolutely stonewall penalty, we didn’t have enough pressure on the ball in the first place.”
“He was allowed to get past, we were too deep, a rash challenge, unnecessary, going no where penalty lost the game,” said Scott.
Defender Scott Griffiths made his debut for the home team after signing on loan from Peterborough until the end of the season.
Boos from the fans began when Griffiths, who put in a solid performance linking up well with Sam Wood and Grabban, was substituted after 65 minutes.
Scott said it was planned to take him off at this time before the match started.
Millers’ players and fans all thought they had equalised in the 85th minute when the third of three late corners looked like it had been headed over the line.
The Johnny Mullins’ appeared to cross the line before it was headed away by defenders, but no goal was given.
After the match Scott said he felt the players didn’t get enough balls in the penalty area for strikers to attack.
“I’m very upset, disappointed, we had the opportunity to have a go at this Port Vale team and we’ve passed this opportunity really,” said Scott.
Port Vale manager Micky Adam’s said: “I think it was a fantastic performance by all the lads really, we got it spot on in terms of play with the conditions.”
“I thought it was a terrific performance, we not only defended well but played some good football as well.”
The defeat leaves Rotherham United in 13th position five points away from the play-off places.
Next weekend they face a must win away trip to second from bottom Dagenham and Redbridge.
Rotherham United: R. Taylor, D. Tonge, M. Raynes, J. Mullins (Captain), S. Griffiths (T. Newey 64), S. Wood (D. Harrison 76), M. Marshall (B. Williams 60), J. Taylor, D. Schofield, A. Revell, L. Grabban.
Unused: A. Warrington, R. Naylor.
Port Vale: S. Tomlinson, A. Yates, R. Taylor (K. James 85), A. Griffith, J. McCombe, D. Loft, M. Richards (Captain), S. Rigg, S. Morsy, B. Williamson (L. Dodds 80), C. McDonald.
Unused: C. Martin, P. Roe, J. Davis.
Goals: M. Richards 57.
Yellow Cards: D. Loft 83.
Referee: D. Mohareb.
Assistants: L. Metcalfe, T. Peart, D. Ford (4th official)
Attendance: 3189 (187 away)