MX23RW : Tuesday, July 27 03:40:40| >> :600:136250:136250:
Jan 1, 2019 at 3pm UK at AESSEAL New York Stadium (Rotherham, South Yorkshire)
Attendance: 9,077
RotherhamRotherham United
2-1
PrestonPreston North End
Vaulks (45'), Smith (76')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Nmecha (78')

Barker hails Rotherham spirit after beating Preston

Barker hails Rotherham spirit after beating Preston
© Reuters
The Millers had several players out through injury or suspension.

Assistant manager Richie Barker praised 'patched up' Rotherham for battling their way to a 2-1 home win over Preston.

Rotherham were ahead just before the break thanks to Will Vaulks' stunning free-kick from 25 yards.

Their lead was added to in the second half through Michael Smith only for Lukas Nmecha to strike one back two minutes later.

It made the final 10 minutes nervy for the Millers, who were missing several players through injury and suspension as well as the re-calling of Ryan Manning from parent club QPR.

Barker said: "It was a vital three points and after looking at other results it was even more important.

"The togetherness was excellent, the organisation was okay in a patched-up team. We had a few square pegs in round holes so we are obviously delighted to get the three points but we are well aware we need to improve things.

"The performance wasn't great but they don't know that they're beat. They dig in when things are not going so well. The character is excellent.

"Will's goal had no relevance on what we were going to talk about at half-time. It was a fantastic goal. The fact we were poor for 44 minutes didn't mean we could tell them they were all great because Will put one in the top corner.

"We had to change things at half-time with the shape and the personnel. We are not afraid to do that.

"Our game-management towards the end was not entertaining. A year or so ago we might have lost that game."

Preston blew a host of chances in the opening 20 minutes and manager Alex Neil blamed their lack of cutting edge as well as referee Lee Probert's decision to only yellow card Matt Palmer for fouling Tom Barkhuizen when he was racing in on goal.

He said: "I was extremely frustrated but I couldn't tell my players they hadn't played well because it wasn't true. There was real frustration and disappointment because we spurned opportunities.

"Normally Rotherham are hard to create chances against but we created six by half-time. As a coach you know when your team has played well.

"Their goalkeeper getting man of the match tells you the story of the game.

"The simple fact is we didn't take the opportunities that we created. They went in knowing that they had not played well. They knew they had something to hang on to.

"We had opportunities again in the second half. The game should have been done before half an hour.

"The second goal was a bit of quality (for the cross) and that is what we lacked.

"I don't think there are any doubts that it's a sending off because the recovering defender is too far away. If you're telling me that's not a goalscoring opportunity then I must be watching a different game.

"I am not an advocate of getting people sent off willy-nilly but I am an advocate of the rules and if you're going to have rules, then you have got to follow them."

Neil will also be busy in the transfer market this month after adding Josh Ginnelly on New Year's Day.

He added: "We have a couple of irons in the fire. We are working on a couple of things."

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Paul Warne in charge of Rotherham United on October 3, 2018
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