Brentford 2 Rotherham United 1 - Losing start for Redfearn with Millers

New Rotherham Utd manager Neil Redfearn
New Rotherham Utd manager Neil Redfearn
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Alan Judge goals either side of the break secured Brentford their first win in nine games as they clung on to beat fellow Sky Bet Championship strugglers Rotherham 2-1.

Neil Redfearn’s start as Millers boss got off to the worst possible start when the livewire Bees midfielder fired his side ahead after just 67 seconds.

Joe Mattock hit back for the visitors within seconds of the restart with a 25-yard shot, but Judge clinched the points with a rare headed effort just before the hour.

The Irishman’s first was a textbook strike, as he latched onto a headed clearance from Nico Yennaris’ cross to volley into the roof of the net, giving Lee Camp no chance.

But Rotherham were always dangerous against a nervous home defence and could have been level at the break.

Bees keeper David Button tipped Jonson Clarke-Harris’ headed effort wide of the post and Chris Maguire’s swerving drive flashed inched past the far post.

At the other end Marco Djuricin, largely starved of any decent service, saw a low drive deflected just wide to safety as Brentford looked to add to their slender advantage.

But any team talk from Brentford coach Lee Carsley went out of the window within a minute of the re-start when Mattock strode forward unchallenged to fire a rising drive into the top corner.

There was little quality on show from either side in a game that neither team wanted to lose, but when the quality finally came it led to the winning goal.

Brentford skipper Jake Bidwell arrived deep at the far post to cross back for the onrushing Judge to steer a deft header past the full stretch Camp.

Paul Green almost levelled for the Yorkshiremen when he rose unmarked to power a downward header towards goal, but Button was equal to it and tipped it wide.

Richard Smallwood had the home fans’ hearts in their mouths minutes later with a swerving drive which veered away from the far post as Rotherham committed more men forward.

Judge almost made sure with a decisive hat-trick goal with 10 minutes remaining but his low drive, after good work from Yennaris, was saved low to the keeper’s left.

This was a clash short on quality, but that will not have worried Carsley who is looking to steady the Brentford ship.

Bees loanees Sergi Canos and John Swift, from Liverpool and Chelsea, asked questions of the visitors, but in reality both sides looked short on confidence in front of goal.

New Rotherham boss Redfearn was keen to take the positives, saying: “We looked fragile and unsure but I felt we did enough to get something from the game. We showed a lot of spirit but I was disappointed with the goals.

“We looked good going forward and created chances but this is only the start of a process. I was pleased with the performance but we have to do more about the goals against and make ourselves harder to beat.

“We also need to be more clinical in front of goal but these are things that have been happening all season and I am still in the process of looking at the players. If some need help we may have to help them.”

Brentford coach Lee Carsley said: “The result was the main thing for us today. We started well and won the ball straight back from the kick off, but we started the second half poorly so we’ll talk about that.

“We had a great reaction to the equaliser and to be honest over the 90 minutes. It would be easy to start to have doubts at 1-1 but we knuckled down, got on with it and got our reward for a lot of hard work this week.”

Carsley admitted his side looked nervous and struggled to retain the ball at times, but added: “I thought we only did that well for 20 of the 90 minutes - at times we looked a little jittery and nervous - but as your confidence grows you can increase that each game.

“We put a bit more energy in the side today and it showed. Im delighted to have picked up my first win as coach but you don’t have long to think about it because I was already thinking about the Wolves game as we walked off the pitch.”