STEVE EVANS revealed that he turned a deaf ear to last-gasp goal hero Daniel Nardiello’s protestations to come off late on in Tuesday night’s draw with York City – and he is mighty glad he did.
Rotherham United’s top-scorer felt a niggle in his groin 10 minutes from the end of the derby at the New York Stadium and signalled to the bench that he was struggling.
But with the Millers having used all three substitutes, manager Evans told him to play through the pain barrier.
Nardiello’s ailment was pushed to the back of his mind when he netted his 15th goal of the campaign deep in stoppage-time to earn the promotion-seeking hosts a point in a 1-1 League Two draw.
Evans, who says Nardiello should be fine for this weekend’s trip to Southend, said: “I told him he had as much chance of coming off as my missus – none. I shouted across to him, ‘You are not coming off; every time we get on the ball, get in the box’.
“I have such a belief in Daniel at the minute. For two months, he really has been fantastic.”
Adamant the point could prove a massive one come the season’s end, Evans added: “At my previous club (Crawley), I remember we got a couple of late draws at this stage of the season and the owners and fans were a bit disappointed.
“But when you go up, you look at the great days and they are not necessarily the ones where you beat the Chesterfields or Bradfords. You remember the days when you have scored in the 93rd minute to save a point or got a last-minute winner.”
While Evans’s aims are firmly set on promotion, York’s mission is one of safety, with the Millers chief confident Gary Mills’s side will achieve that, admitting they proved supremely difficult to break down.
He added: “I think York will stay up because that was as near you can get to getting a bricklayer to put a brick in front of goal. I saw the same when they played at Oxford and I spoke to Martin Allen and he said when they played Gillingham it was almost as if they had two brickies laying the cement in front of goal.
“Everyone has to manage their team as they see fit. York also have some good players.”