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About this blog

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Ian, a 54 year old football fan of 40+ years standing. My club is Rotherham United FC, currently fighting against relegation from the Championship. I also regard myself as a "groundhopper" & I've been on 72 of the current 92 English League grounds. I'm a football fan first & a Millers fan second.

If I'm allowed, I'd like to use this vehicle to entertain you with my future trips up & down the country, from Blazing hot Saturdays in Mansfield to freezing cold sleet in Watford, & everything in-between. There will be an occasional series, charting the travels of a football "whore", meaning I will travel almost anywhere to take in a game if the mood takes me, regardless if it involves my club (Rotherham) or not. I've done 70 odd league clubs grounds, so today I thought I'd start to make in roads into non league territory.

Thanks,
Ian

Entries in this blog

BradtheMiller

My final final blog of this season takes me to Wembley for the League Two play Off final between Blackpool & Exeter City. I never expected to get a ticket for this one & when the opportunity presented itself, you just don't turn a trip to Wembley down, well I don't anyway.

After a long uneventful trip down on the Megabus & a half hour underground trip, I arrived at the National Stadium at around 1pm for the 3pm kick off & enjoyed the pre match atmosphere. There is no doubt in my mind that Wembley is a special venue & the tingle of excitement especially in the Exeter end where I was, was palpable.

Around 16000 fans made the trip up from the south west, about four times Exeter's average home crowd, compared to Blackpool's 6000, their turnout obviously affected by the fans boycott of anything that could help their hated owners the Oyston family in any way, especially financially. This made for the strange situation where it was like an Exeter City home game.

After an impeccably observed minutes silence for victims of the Manchester atrocity the game kicked off with Blackpool strongly out of the blocks & the Seasiders were a goal up inside two minutes with a well taken Brad Potts goal following a neat Mark Cullen lay off. It's fair to say Exeter were rattled at this early stage & it took  the Grecians a good 20 minutes to grab a foothold in the game. After some sustained Exeter pressure on the half hour however Exeter equalised when a long punt upfield was expertly controlled & lifted over the keeper by Grecians midfielder David Wheeler restoring parity. Exeter werein the ascendency for the remainder of the first half, pushing Blackpool back without really creating much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. It's safe to say though that Blackpool were the happier of the two teams to see the half time whistle.

Whatever Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer said to his troops at half time certainly had the desired effect as like the first half, Blackpool started strongly with both Neil Danns & Kyle Vassell coming close but they did not have to wait long to go back in front, top scorer Cullen prodding home after being set up by Potts. This time though Exeter's response was muted with only sub Rueben Reid coming pretty close while Blackpool had three or four opportunities to extend their lead &eventually ran out deserved winners.

Many congratulations to Blackpool on their promotion, it's just a shame that more of their true supporters weren't at Wemb(6949)_20170528_132447.jpgley to see it & I genuinely hope the club & the supporters of this brilliant club can find a way of coming back together soon.

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BradtheMiller

My 26th & final blog of the 2016/17 season took me back to NYS for my club Rotherham's final Championship match (probably for ages) v a vastly underperforming Derby side.

Cool & cloudy conditions which should have been perfect for football on this occasion wasn't. I've seen more passionate pre season friendlies with both sides going through the motions obviously on the beach mentally.

After the naffest first half I've ever seen with literally nothing going on, at least there were a couple of goals to report if not much else. The Millers took the lead in the 66thminute with a nicely taken right foot volley by skipper Lee Frecklington after a good cross by left back Joe Mattock. The rams equalised in the 83rd minute through a Thomas Ince penalty (his 4th goal in three appearances at NYS) after sub Nick Blackman was brought down by Frecklington. And that was it, thankfully for the Millers our dreadful season was at an end.

If the site mods want me to continue next season my first blog of the 2017/18 season should be at Pride Park when Derby take on German side Hoffenheim on Saturday 29th July in a PSF

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BradtheMiller

I decided the night before (Friday) to gatecrash Pompey's promotion party at their final League 2 away game at Mansfield. Already promoted Pompey still had a slight chance of lifting the title whereas Steve Evans' Stags were in with a chance of getting a place in the end of season play offs so an end of season "dead rubber" it was not.

A scrappy nervous start by both sides ensued with the first meaningful effort on goal not coming until 22minutes when Kal Naismith had a decent effort palmed wide by Mansfield keeper Jake Kean. This seemed to wake Mansfield from their slumbers as they began to get a fooithold in the game with efforts by full back Mal Benning & forward Danny Rose flashing not too far wide. In truth half time coming was a relief as the sides cancelled each other out in an uninspiring contest.

The second half started with Mansfield roaring out of the blocks & Pompey centre back Matt Clarke can count himself very very lucky to escape with only a yellow card after pulling back Danny Rose when the Stags forward was clean through on goal & Clarke was the last defender. The resulting free kick was put wide by Mansfield's Alex McDonald. Mansfield continued to do most of the pressing but were caught out on the break when a neat Pompey break ended in winger Carl Baker curling a shot past Kean after being put clear by Naismith to give Pompey an undeserved lead on the hour. Mansfield quickly made a couple of attacking substitutions & one of them Matt Green missed a one on one with Pompey keeper David Forde by putting the ball over the bar. Mansfield's McDonald missed a close range headed chance while at the other end Naismith missed an easy chance to settle the game when he skied a chance from 10 yards after being put clear by Gareth Evans.

An enjoyable second half resulting in an undeserved three points for Pompey who could still be League 2 Champions next weekend dependant on other results. The 1600 or so Pompey fans obviously enjoyed their day singing throughout creating a good atmosphere in Mansfield's biggest crowd of the season (6819)

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BradtheMiller

My team ACTUALLY won a match!!! Four weeks too late yeah, doesn't matter at all because we're already relegated but we won a bloody match. East Anglia we love you. A third of our 21 league points have been gained from East Anglian Clubs (Ipswich 4 pts, Norwich 3 pts).

We deserved to win too. In truth it was a game played at the pace of a pre season friendly in front of a very quiet 8000 crowd, the fact that Ipswich made NINE changes from the side that beat Newcastle & played four first year professionals from their youth team doesn't distract from the fact that we beat em, AND for the first time in yonks kept a clean sheet.

The first half was largely forgettable apart from our star striker Danny Ward missing a 8th minute penalty after Jon Taylor was bundled over in the box by Dominic Samuel who hit the bar later in the half when it looked easier to score.

Both managers must have reminded their teams that they were in the entertainment industry because the second half was better, mainly due to actual first teamers coming on as sub & both sides actually having a go. Freddie Sears went close for the Tractor Boys & Samuel again had a strike well saved by O'Donnell in the Millers goal. The Millers looked better going forward too, with wingers Alex Bray & Anthony Forde putting in decent crosses & from a Forde cross that the Ipswich defence didn't deal with, Rotherham's best player on the day Tom Adyemi volleyed in from 12 yards in the 79th minute. With Town pushing forward in search of a leveller, Rotherham wasted a couple of opportunities to seal the win with Taylor & late substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris the culprits, but for the first time in ages, I was able to exit NYS with a little smile on my face.

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BradtheMiller

My THIRD game in four days took me to Oakwell, home of mid table Championship side Barnsley for their clash with fellow mid table Brentford. A nice initiative by Barnsley of £10 admission across the board & including visiting fans designed to put "bums on seats" in what was a "dead rubber" tempted me this afternoon.

I was half expecting something akin to a pre season friendly with players going through the motions dreaming of their holidays but how wrong I was! This was one of thebest games I've seen all season with two evenly matched teams going hell for leather at each other, making for a very open attractive game full of attacking intent which was a great advertisement for England's second tier.

The game started slowly but soon livened up when a swift Brentford move ended with Spanish forward Jota hitting the bar from distance. Barnsley countered with a concerted spell of pressure, culminating with the game's opening goal scored by Marley Watkins from a cross from the right by Josh Scowen. The Bees soon equalised however with a superb passing move finished off with panache by Dutchman Florian Josefzoon. Chances continued to flow at both ends & only desperate defending & bad finishing kept the score down to 1-1 at the interval.

Brentford made a storming start to the second half & won a 48th minute penalty when the referee harshly penalised Barnsley defender Angus McDonald for handball, unfortunately for Brentford, Barnsley keeper Adam Davies comfortably saved Jota's spot kick.

Chances came & went at both ends Brentford's Canos & Barnsley's Moncur rattled the bar & Bonham, Brentford's debutant keeper produced a fantastic save to thwart another Moncur thunderbolt.

A superb game of football which was a credit to both teams, a 13000+ crowd all at £10 a pop, thoroughly enjoyed by yours truly.

 

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BradtheMiller

I like my all too infrequent visits to grassroots football. Today, Easter Saturday I visited Muglet Lane home of Maltby Main FC for their North Counties East League Premier Division (9th tier of the English pyramid) clash with Retford United.

Maltby have had a reasonable season & lie mid table while their opponents unfortunately sit next to bottom of the table & look very likely to be relegated to NCEL Division 1.

Retford started the brighter & unexpectedly took the lead through left winger Jake Ashton with a free header following a free kick. The home side responded with a couple of efforts from distance & from one of them, top scorer Steven Hopewell hit the bar.

Maltby continued to press after the interval, & just when it looked like they would run out of time,, midfielder Reese Wesley equalised in the 86th minute. Maltby weren't settling for a point & continued to press & were rewarded in injury time when following a speedy break, forward Josh Nodder expertly netted from the edge of the box to give Maltby a welcome three points.

I would recommend any fan of any club to connect to their local non league outfit where you are sure to get 100% effort & commitment from players who perform for the love of the game rather than the financial rewards in the pro game.

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BradtheMiller

At New York Stadium today to witness already relegated Rotherham take on Gianfranco Zola's underperforming Birmingham City side in the Skybet Championship.

Paul Warne's Millers were on a club record ten successive defeats while Zola's Blues had only tasted victory three times since the Italian took charge last December.

The first half was typically drab in keeping with the awful form of the two teams, the only two moves of note were a decent long range effort from Blues Craig Gardner that produced a good save from Millers keeper Richard O'Donnell & a shot from distance from Millers loanee Carlton Morris which was a fraction wide with the keeper beaten.

Warnes half time team talk seemed to fire up the Millers as they started the second period on the front foot with decent efforts from Tom Adeyemi & Danny Ward bringing the best out of ex Man United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak. Then on 73 minutes Blues took the lead against the run of play with a 25 yard free kick converted by Kerim Frei. An 11th successive defeat looked on the cards for the Millers until striker Ward scored his twelfth Championship goal of the season from just outside the box on 85 minutes for a deserved Rotherham point. There was even time for Millers substitute Jerry Yates to miss an open goal in the fifth minute of time added on.

Apoint each was probably the right result but it was oh so close to Rotherham's fifth league win of the most dreadful season in their history.

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BradtheMiller

Staying in the North West & sticking to the theme of the League One promotion race I made a visit to the Macron Stadium, home of second place Bolton for their home game with the relegation threatened Spirites who started the game second bottom.

After a trouble free train journey which took me around two hours from my Rotherham home, I arrived at Horwich Parkway station which is just outside the ground at around 1.15pm & had a pleasant lunch at one of the eateries (no advertising) at the adjoining shopping mall before walking back to the stadium & buying a programme (an excellent read BTW). The turnstiles opened around 2pm & I was impressed at the site of the inside of the stadium, nice & modern with nice seats & plenty of legroom affording unrestricted views of the action.

The game started with the visiting Spirites in the ascendancy, going close on several occasions through midfielders Jon Nolan & Dan Gardner & striker Kristian Dennis, whilst home side Wanderers looked nervous & tentative in front of over 23000 fans, the Trotters biggest crowd of the season.

Bolton came much more into the game in the second period, with good efforts from Jay Spearing & striker Adam Le Fondre. Chesterfield still looked quite dangerous on the break though which made for a much better game. Chesterfield's Nolan was unluckily dismissed in injury time for a second bookable offence, which I thought was a fair challenge. Bolton then poured forward in the five extra minutes with close range efforts from Bolton's Wheater, Le Fondre & Beevers being heroically blocked by the Chesterfield defence.

A decent(ish) game in which Bolton weren't at their best & League 2 bound Chesterfield thoroughly deserved at least a point from.

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BradtheMiller

Up to the north west today to visit Bury's Gigg Lane ground that I haven't visited since the 1970's. Bury have improved considerably under new boss Lee Clark but are still too close to the bottom four League One relegation places for comfort. Fleetwood however are having a great season sitting third in the table & still harbouring hopes of grabbing one of the top two promotion places.

The game surprisingly started at quite a pedestrian pace with the home side doing most of the pressing but in truth, they were just giving heading practice to giant Fleetwood centre backs Cian Bolger & Godswill Epkolo. A rare mistake however let in Bury top scorer James Vaughan in but its shot was well saved by Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns. Fleetwood improved towards the end of the first half & were unlucky when midfielder Kyle Dempsey hit the post with a rasping drive from the edge of the area in the 45th minute.

The second half was more even with Jacob Mellis & Greg Leigh coming close for Bury while at the other end Bolger & striker David Ball missed half chances but overall the game was disappointing but I'm guessing Bury will be happier with the point than Fleetwood.

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BradtheMiller

After last weeks visit to League Two's Champions elect Doncaster, I visited League One top dogs the Blades for their vital game v underperforming Charlton at Bramall Lane.

A good haul of seven points from three straight away games should have seen a confident Blades side dominate but it was the Addicks that made the more positive start, coming close on a couple of occasions before a delightful Ricky Holmes free kick put them in front in only the third minute. Surprisingly Charlton continued to press & after Blades keeper Simon Moore had saved well from Holmes again, ex Celtic Striker Tony Watt hit the bar with an overhead kick, the Blades were clearly wobbling at this point. Then from their first real attack, United equalised after a good right wing cross by Duffy was glanced in from close range by CB Jack O'Donnell. The rest of the half was an even contest, with half chances for Billy Sharp for United & Holmes (again) & CB Ezri Konza going close.

United roared out of the blocks in the second half however, defender Lafferty nudging the ball home from close range after his initial effort was saved by Declan Rudd in the Addicks goal.

The Blades continued to pour forward &made attacking substitutions with forwards Samir Carruthers & Caolan Lavery entering the fray whilst Leeds loanee Jordan Botaka came on for Addicks. Carruthers' tricky wing play was creating problems for Charlton but Sharp & defender Chris Basham were unable to convert the chances he created. Charlton were reduced to just the odd attacking foray, but from one of these Botaka was very close to a Charlton equaliser.

To sum up, a deserved Sheffield United win in a difficult game for them but Addicks manager Karl Robinson shouldn't be too downhearted as there was plenty of positives to take from this narrow defeat.

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BradtheMiller

First of all, I'm not a Cheltenham fan, even though this is the THIRD blog on one of their games this season, following on from the games at Mansfield & Notts County, sheer coincidence honest.

After a late Friday night, I woke up too late to make the match I was intending to attend so looking for a local game I happened across L2 leaders home game v the Robins at the Keepmoat Stadium.

A decent crowd of 5k+ were in good voice as the teams entered the field on a fairly cloudy but mild afternoon.

The opening exchanges were pretty even but I always thought Rovers had that extra quality & that turned out to be the case as a quick free kick from Coppinger caught out Cheltenham allowing CB Butler to stab home from close range on the half hour. Rovers should have increased their lead before the break as Coppinger had a goalbound effort cleared off the line by Cheltenham defender Will Boyle.

The second half started as the first ended with Rovers in the ascendancy & it seemed only a matter of time before the second goal arrived & this seemed more likely when Cheltenham's Boyle received his second Yellow card & was dismissed for a silly off the ball challenge on Rovers winger Alfie May. May then created the chance for Rovers top scorer John Marquis to double Rovers lead on 81 minutes. Further chances for Marquis & sub Andy Williams were well saved by Brown in the Cheltenham goal before the final whistle went for a comfortable win for the league leaders.

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BradtheMiller

The latest instalment of the Millers "seasonus horriblus" ended with yet another defeat, this time at the hands of a distinctly average Villa side at NYS this afternoon.

The 2,500+ Villa fans in the ground helped create something of an atmosphere as the home end was a little like a morgue, with we Millers fans being resigned to our fate long ago (can't wait till August).

Villa started strongly & should have had a penalty after 40 seconds, Millers CB Ajayi wrestling Villa's Kodjia to the ground but the referee saw nothing wrong. Millers keeper Lewis Price was kept busy with decent saves from long range efforts from Adomah & Lansbury as Villa dominated. The best the beliguered Millers could muster was a headed effort from defender Belaid that was headed off the line by Villa's Kodjia.  HT 0-0

The second half started scrappily with neither side really threatening. A raft of substitutions pepped things up however & Villa were the ones to take advantage with Rotherham's Vaulks turning a Conor Hourihane cross into his own net to give Villa a 68th minute lead. To give Rotherham credit, after they went behind they seemed to push Villa back, they won a few corners & winger Anthony Forde had a goalbound effort well saved by Villa keeper Johnstone. Villa sealed the game though on 87 min when Kodjia scored after a lightningly quick Villa break....game over..............0-2.

I really cannot wait for this s**tty mess of a season to end, only Brighton at home on Tuesday.....easy!!!!

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BradtheMiller

After last weekends visit to Chesterfield, the east midlands feel continues with the battle to remain in the EFL with this vital Meadow Lane clash between stugglers  Notts County & Cheltenham.

A £12 across the board ticketing incentive brought a very healthy 7900+ crowd in on a filthy freezing cold afternoon with periods of sleet & drizzle.

The Notts line up included players that have performed well at a much higher level than L2 (Ameobi, Stead, Collin, O'Connor, Yeates etc) & on paper they should be much higher up the table but they have suffered both managerial & ownership upheaval in the past couple of seasons & the uncertainty seems to have transferred itself to the onfield performances. However they have a new owner, transfer embargo lifted, a few new signings, a young, hungry manager with a good pedigree (Kevin Nolan) & after speaking to some Notts fans, a good degree of optimism emanating from the club.

On to the game itself & Notts started the game very well & attacked at every opportunity. New man Mark Yeates was unlucky early doors when his long range effort hit the bar but they eventually did take the lead when a good passing move ended with Jon Stead firing home from just inside the area. Number two arrived soon after when CB Richard Duffy headed in from a corner & in truth a two goal lead was the least Notts deserved after a commanding display.

Cheltenham started the second half positively but despite more possession didn't really trouble the Notts goal, in fact it was still County who had the better chances & the woodwork was struck again through Notts sub Forte. The visitors did get on the score sheet on 86 minutes through a tap in by debutant Onariase & despite late Cheltenham pressure, County heldon comfortably to take the vital three points.

Notts should survive, I want Notts to survive as IMO they're a proper well established EFL club with brilliant fans, but this particular relegation fight will go right to the wire with several clubs involved.

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BradtheMiller

Proact Stadium Chesterfield this time for me, a short hop from my Rotherham base, only taking around 50 minutes by train but a good half hour walk from the station to the ground but as the Sun was out today, really quite pleasant.

Two of L1's bottom three were doing battle for the three points, as a draw would be very little use to either side given their precarious league positions.

As you may have expected a scrappy game ensued, plenty of effort but short on quality. Oldham were the better side in the first half & they also had the better chances with Chris Taylor, Ryan Flynn & full back McLaughlin having half chances with only Ched Evans' miskick in front of goal counting as any kind of Spirites chance.

Apparantly something must have happened in the tunnel at half time as Oldham's Anthony Gerrard didn't come out after the break, seemingly sent off, so Oldham had to play theentire second half with ten men, cue change in tactics.

Chesterfield quickly took over the lions share of possession in the second half, loads of possession but not really troubling Connor Ripley in the Latics goal. This game had boring 0-0 written all over it until Spirites midfielder Dan Gardner gave away possession after a set piece, a decent cross came over & veteran Oldham defender Clarke nodded the ball home in the third of SEVEN minutes added time, ironically mostly made up of time added on because of Oldham's timewasting. Football's funny like that sometimes.

Judging by the 90 minutes I've just seen, both sides look like relegation fodder & I would tip both teams to be meeting each other next season in L2.

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BradtheMiller

As Rotherham United's worst season in living memory stumbles from one disaster to another with five first-team players jumping ship in the last few days, the remainder of the worst squad in English professional football (statistically anyway) embarked on their annual FA Cup "adventure" with a home game against League One mid-table outfit Oxford United.

Anyone who thought an Oxford win would be an upset obviously hasn't had the dubious pleasure of watching the Millers this season, as the first half of this game showed.

After Millers striker Danny Ward missed a one-on-one with the U's keeper after only 90 seconds, Oxford bossed the majority of the first half, creating plenty of chances.

They "only" went into the break 1-0 up, courtesy of a Ryan Taylor goal and of course, he's an ex Millers player. Chris Maguire, another ex-Rotherham player, kindly missed a penalty during the first period.

Caretaker manager Paul Warne obviously tore into his beleaguered troops at half time as the resurgent Millers came back strongly at their opponents in the first 20 minutes of the second half and equalised through Ward and forced the U's onto the back foot, unfortunately missing several presentable scoring chances along the way.

Gradually though, Oxford rode the storm and started to create chances of their own as Rotherham tired, culminating in a free header from Edwards from a corner putting them back in front on 70 minutes.

This lead was increased by U's sub Hemmings, finishing off an incisive break on 88 mins and although the Millers reduced the arrears immediately through their best player on the day, Tom Adeyemi, Oxford ran the additional four minutes out comfortably to progress to round four.

Rotherham United Football Club is an extremely difficult club to support, especially this season. Is it May yet?

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BradtheMiller

Back to the Championship and a visit to the New York Stadium for a vital clash between Rotherham United, who look like relegation certainties already, and fellow strugglers Burton Albion, who have lost their last four league games.

As a Millers fan, I have endured a torrid season so far with only three league wins out of 23 games, three managers, a poor quality playing squad thanks to previous manager Alan Stubbs' recruitment and the inability to use the short term loan market as in previous seasons.

In short, we have to make do with what we've got until at least January - which isn't a lot.

This was a game which Rotherham dominated for the most part, both in possession and chances, but a combination of poor finishing and inept defending cost us dear again with Burton returning to Staffordshire with an undeserved 2-1 victory, their first away from home this season.

It is going to be a long old end to the season and I personally can't wait until we take our League One place in August 2017 where we at least playing clubs which are of our level financially as economics dictate that we have absolutely no chance of effectively competing with the Newcastle, Villa, Leeds of this division.

The mere fact that we have survived THREE seasons in the fifth biggest league in Europe is a remarkable achievement for a club the size of RUFC - but all good things eh?

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BradtheMiller

National League North this time on my travels & a visit to Northolme, home of mid table Gainsborough Trinity who were facing fourth place Chorley.

A pretty uneventful hour & a quarter train journey from Rotherham landed me to Gainsborough Lea Road station. I had researched that it was a fair walk from the station to the ground but I didn't envisage that it was over TWO miles so I soldiered on & was knackered when I eventually got to the ground (I am in my mid fifties).

No bar code turnstiles here, I just payed the £12 admission & I was in, & a very pleasing little ground was found. Just one little seated stand around the halfway line, two pleasant covered terraced areas, one behind one goal, the other running the length of the opposite side of the grandstand with just a shallow uncovered terrace behind the other goal. One unusual but nice feature was the amount of litter bins every few yards along the terracing throughout the ground complete with polite notices to dispose of rubbish responsibly & to keep the ground tidy ready for your next visit.

The Gainsborough fans couldn't have made me feel any more welcome. I explained to them that I was a neutral but a Rotherham fan & they mentioned that they liked us (Rotherham) as we have provided them with quite a few players over the years mostly loanees who have done well for Trinity so I was immediately in their good books. In fact during one of these conversations at half time one of the guys was a director of the club & I was whisked of for some hot soup in the hospitality area. Where else would you get a reaction & welcome like that? I was very grateful & mentioned to the guys about me blogging for FM & gave them the website address & suggested they take a look at my blog from this particular game.

On to the game itself & on this occasion the League table didn't lie. After an even first half with few chances, Chorley's more clinical finishing told in the end, with them running out 2-0 winners moving them up to third place in National League North.

I honestly can't remember enjoying a day out at the footy as a neutral as much thanks to the lovely staff & supporters of Gainsborough Trinity FC.

Quite a few photographs from this game so humour me.

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BradtheMiller

My first game for four weeks as I'm continuing to recover from a rather nasty Shoulder fracture saw "the toon" come to Rotherham for the first time in 23 years.

Bottom of the table Millers might have thought a hiding was in the offing as the in form Toon came to town but rather than being Starstruck with Newcastle's international packed side, they matched them all the way & were unfortunate not to come away with what would have been a deserved point.

After a fairly quiet opening, Toon had the first chance of note when Gouffran's goalbound shot was spectacularly cleared off the line by Millers centre back Dominic Ball.

At the other end, Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow made two great saves from long range strikes from Jon Taylor & Joe Newell.

The games defining moment came on 41 minutes when Newcastle's Christian Atsu was given too much space to cut inside from the right & curl a lovely shot past Camp in the Millers goal.

The second half started with the Millers trying to force the pace but leaving themselves vulnerable on the break with both Jonjo Shelvey & Dwight Gayle missing presentable chances.

Against the odds, back came Rotherham & twice almost forced a point as they hit the post following a goalmouth scramble & Ball had a header cleared off the line.

A great game played in front of a NYS full house with a great atmosphere generated by both sets of fans...very enjoyable.

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BradtheMiller

Rotherham had no game this weekend due to internationals (don't laugh) so I was looking forward to visiting the magnificent Meadow Lane stadium and two in form clubs, namely Notts County and Grimsby Town. Unfortunately due to my internet being down during the day and me making a snap decision to go, I couldn't meet up with Joe, my site buddy (not ignoring you, honest).

With more Millers connections than a lego set (Adam Collin, Scott Loach, Rob Milsom, Michael O'Connor and Jonathan Forte for Notts; Mariners boss Paul Hurst (record RUFC appearances as a player) and ex keeper Andy Warrington on the Grimsby bench) it was a game that I couldn't not go to.

The first half belonged to the Mariners - their striker Shaun Tuton had already missed a sitter before they deservedly took the lead through centre-back Shaun Pearson, who headed home unmarked from a set piece and, apart from a couple of Notts half chances which were regulation saves for Mariners keeper James McKeown, held the lead comfortably going into the break.

Notts looked more comfortable in the first part of the second half, going close on a couple of occasions, when disaster struck through a woefully short Stanley Aborah backpass which was seized upon by Omar Bogle, the Mariners striker... they were now two goals up.

Game over? Err... no!!

Notts boss John Sheridan had seen enough and made all three subs immediately. Off came the ineffective Jon Stead, Aborah and Adam Campbell, and in their place came Thierry Audel and recent signings Vadaine Oliver and Aaron Collins.

After a relatively quiet 10 minutes Forte reduced the arrears in a goalmouth scramble, then a minute later, the referee spotted a push in the area and there was a chance for Notts to equalise but unfortunately for them, O'Connor could only hit the post with the spot kick.

Notts continued to knock at the door and deservedly levelled with a fine finish from debutant Collins and could even have won the game as Oliver had a goalbound header saved but, in my opinion, the draw was about the right result in a pulsating game played in heavy rain for the most part.

Great atmosphere in a good League Two crowd of over 6800 with 2300 away fans...

Here are some pics...

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BradtheMiller

Couldn't resist getting away from the piggin transfer deadline day news (or lack of it in the Millers case) on  BBC football & twitter so I decided to go along & lend a bit of support to my local NCEL side Maltby in their home game v Liversedge this evening.

There was a gathering of 95 fans at Maltby's Muglet Lane ground to see Liversedge win at a cantor, partly due to the home side's left back getting a straight red card after only 18 minutes for taking a player out when he was clean through.

piccys.....enjoy

 

 

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BradtheMiller

This weekend took me to Bramall Lane, home of the Red half of Sheffield, who had made a frankly awful start to their L1 campaign, with only a single point to show for their efforts so far, despite being arguably the biggest club in L1.

Over 19000 hardy souls braved the pouring rain & the famous greasy chip buttie song rung out at kick off but it was the newly promoted U's who called the early shots & deservedly took the lead when Scottish forward Hemmings converted after Blades keeper Moore could only parry an effort from distance & at half time were good value for their narrow lead over a nervous Blades side who were lacking in confidence.

Whatever Blades manager Chris Wilder said at the interval had the desired effect as the Blades gradually began to wrestle control of the game away from Oxford with the Blades midfielders Duffy & Scougall looking particularly lively. The equaliser duly arrived on 65 minutes, a typical poachers goal by Billy Sharp, then eight minutes later came the winner, a bullet header by Centre Back James Wilson from a Duffy free kick.

All in all, an enjoyable game & a stirring fightback from the Blades!!!

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BradtheMiller

Due to a freebie (season ticket holder on holiday) from a mate of a mate, I found myself at the One Call Stadium (Field Mill) for the L2 encounter between the stags & the robins.

A really decent encounter with genuine quality actually surprised me. A draw was about right on the balance of play with chances galore at both ends. The fact that the game ended 1-1 was largely down to the efforts of the two keepers, Mansfield's Scott Shearer & Cheltenham's Russell Griffifths, both of whom had fine games. Of the outfield players, I have chosen two players from either side who had good games & could be worth keeping an eye on this season, firstly Mansfield pair Mitchell Rose who is developing into a really good central midfielder & striker Matt Green who was a real handful for the Cheltenham defence, & for the Robins, I was impressed by Harry Pell, a big strong midfielder who is good in the tackle & young CentreBack Daniel O'Shaunessy who scored his first goal in senior football with a 30 yarder & was also commanding at the back.

I enjoyed this game far more than I thought I would & think both sides will have decent seasons based on todays performance.DSCF0692.JPG

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BradtheMiller

The friendlies have been played, most of the newbies have been signed & the gloriously warm South Yorkshire weather greeted a near full house at the NYS so all this means just one thing, League Football is back.......yay!!!

Both Wolves & the Millers attacked each other at every opportunity in an exciting 2-2 curtain raiser which raised both positives & worries for the two sets of fans today, but neither side lost & have a point on the board.

As a Millers fan, I was pleased to see that new manager Alan Stubbs has placed more emphasis of playing to feet from the back, being more confident in possession, using wide men & getting crosses in, at times, especially in the first half it was a joy to watch.

I'm obviously disappointed to have only drawn the game after being 2-0 up, but Wolves deserved their point after a spirited second half display.

Goals;

10 minutes.. Millers 1 Wolves 0   free header from Danny Ward following a corner

20 minutes Millers 2 Wolves 0  cracking 30 yarder from new midfielder Will Voulks

39 minutes Millers 2 Wolves 1 Good finish from Saville rounding the keeper & scoring after defensive uncertainty

63 minutes Millers 2 Wolves 2 Incisive move by Wolves culminating in a good finish from Icelandic Euro hero Bogdarsson

 

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BradtheMiller

Today took me to Sincil Bank, home of National League side Lincoln City, who were playing newly relegated Crewe, who will be playing in League 2 when the season starts next weekend.

I know you're not supposed to read anything into the results & performances in these games as they're there to get players match fit & to try out formations etc but if I were an Alex fan, I'd be worried.

Lincoln were a goal up in the first minute, courtesy of a scrappy effort from the impressive Marriott, two goals up on 15 minutes with a well worked team goal finished off by Right Winger Muldoon, & when Marriott poached his second & Lincoln's third goal on the half hour, it was effectively game over. Crewe were poor throughout, & a combination of Lincoln taking their foot off the gas, decent keeping from Crewe's Garratt & a plethora of substitutions kept the score at three.

Lincoln is a beautiful city to visit, & Sincil Bank stadium is a nice ground full of character which would not look out of place in the Football League, which has to be the clubs aim, & on the evidence of today's performance, City won't be too far away after an impressive performance.

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BradtheMiller

The Millers were edged out 2-1 today against a very strong Sunderland side that included all their PL Quality players ( Mannone, Rodwell, Lens, Kone, Defoe, Borini etc).

Sunderland were on the front foot straight away with a couple of presentable chances & it was a bit of a surprise that it took until the half hour mark to take the lead with a powerful shot from the edge of the box by Borini after a good long ball by Van Aanholt & the Black Cats comfortably held the advantage going into half time.

HT Rotherham 0 Sunderland 1

Whatever new Millers manager Alan Stubbs said to his side at half time worked as they were level on 49 minutes with a good turn & shot by academy graduate Jerry Yates beating Mannone from around 15 yards. Rotherham continued to threaten with new boys Forster Caskey & Forde having very useful home debuts but were stung in the 84th minute by a Mackems breakaway goal by trialist & ex Newcastle & Villa winger NZogbia.

All in all I came away entertained & as a Millers fan encouraged, definitely the best of the three friendlies so far. Next weekend ?????? Dunno, but It'll be somewhere.

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