Big-match verdict: Restored Ryan Williams making up for lost time with Rotherham United

Game over: Rotherham's Jerry Yates makes it 5-1 against Oldham. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Ryan Williams is hoping to prove the doubters wrong after his torrid time at Barnsley.

The Australian midfielder admits he endured a “bad time” at Oakwell as he struggled with injury.

The 23-year-old made six appearances in 2015-16, then 17 last term, before moving across to neighbours Rotherham United.

Williams has hardly missed a game with his new employers and caught the eye in this demolition of Oldham Athletic.

It was the sort of individual display that prompted him to leave Perth seven years ago, without his family, to try his luck in English football.

The pony-tailed maestro failed to score, but created three of Rotherham’s five goals and was a constant threat.

“I had a bit of a bad time at Barnsley,” he told The Yorkshire Post. “It is just proving to people that I can play.

“It’s been a year and a half that I haven’t been able to play week-in, week-out, which is what I am doing at the moment.

“It was just one misdiagnosed injury that just needed time to settle down, and it did. I am fine. It was misdiagnosed and treated for something that it wasn’t.

“It was pubic instability, and I just needed time out of the game. Thanks to Hecky (manager Paul Heckingbottom) at Barnsley, he gave me that time, to go away and get it right. Since that point, I haven’t been injured since.

“Each game, I’m getting stronger and fitter. I’m getting more adapted to playing every week.

“My injury troubles are behind me. I’ve been fit for 18 months now. I’m enjoying playing, enjoying running about, enjoying winning.”

Millers chief Paul Warne’s strong ethos on fitness has helped Williams, who endured a tough summer’s training and said: “I have not had a pre-season for a few years because of my injury.

“I always knew if I had a pre-season I would be fine. I am doing all the work possible to stay fit and healthy.

“You enjoy pre-season when it’s finished, but, during it, it’s the worst thing ever. But it was good everybody went through it together, three sessions a day – it was chaos.

“But you have seen how fit we are compared to others, and, hopefully, we can maintain that throughout the season. If you are fitter than the opposition, you stand a chance.”

Against Oldham, a disjointed first half saw the Millers pegged back at 1-1.

Left-back Ben Purrington – standing in for the suspended Joe Mattock – forced Oldham goalkeeper John Ruddy into a super save, and, from the resulting corner, Williams’s cross picked out Millers’ top scorer Kieffer Moore, who headed against the bar and Michael Ihiekwe prodded home the rebound.

Lee Frecklington blasted over after more fine work from Williams and the miss proved costly as the visitors equalised from a corner, Jack Byrne’s low cross flicked home by Craig Davies.

Striker Tope Obadeyi should have put John Sheridan’s side in front, but he dragged his effort wide of Marek Rodak’s goal.

Warne’s words of encouragement at half-time – telling his players their superior fitness would eventually prevail – came to fruition.

Moore saw his header cleared off the line and just failed to connect with a low cross from Jon Taylor, who had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside.

On 73 minutes, the Millers finally took control.

Again, Williams was the instigator, cutting in from the right flank only to see Ruddy deny him with a sprawling save.

The ball dropped for the lurking Moore, who netted his seventh goal of the season, and his eighth arrived five minutes later when he headed substitute Joe Newell’s cross into the roof of the net.

The best goal saw Newell produce some sublime trickery, beating four players before setting up fellow substitute Anthony Forde to stroke the ball home.

Jerry Yates – Rotherham’s third substitute – capped a whirlwind 20 minutes, drilling home after another teasing cross from Williams.

“As soon as the second goal went in, I knew there would be at least one or two more,” said Williams.

“When we do score, we just keep going and run over the top of people.

“I should have scored the second goal myself, but Kieffer was on hand to poke it home so I’m happy with that.”

Rotherham climbed to eighth with victory, a fourth win in five outings, and are League One’s top scorers with 20 goals in nine games.

It was the third time in five home games the Millers had netted five goals.

“Momentum is building,” said Williams. “Four wins in five. We didn’t deserve to lose at Bradford last week.

“We’re not looking too far ahead. We’re enjoying ourselves, but working really hard at the same time.”

Moore netted twice and could easily have bagged a hat-trick, but Warne revealed the on-loan striker is still nursing a groin problem and could be rested for tomorrow’s trip to Blackburn Rovers.

Rotherham United: Rodak, Vaulks, Wood, Frecklington, Taylor (Newell 62), Potter, Towell (Forde 81), Purrington, Ihiekwe, Williams, Moore (Yates 84). Unused substitutes: O’Donnell, Ajayi, Clarke-Harris, Cummings.

Oldham Athletic: Ruddy, Gerrard, Gardner (Omrani 63), Davies, McLaughlin (Dummigan 33), Edmundson, Clarke, Nepomuceno, Byrne, Obadeyi (Menig 62), Bryan. Unused substitutes: Placide, Banks, Menig, Hunt, Fane.

Referee: J Brooks (Leics).

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