Rotherham United 1 Wigan 2: Millers in mood to bounce back at the double

Rotherham's Farrend Rawson (right) comes up for a corner on his debut along with Conor Sammon (left)
Rotherham's Farrend Rawson (right) comes up for a corner on his debut along with Conor Sammon (left)
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Kirk Broadfoot believes Rotherham United have the perfect hangover cure for their Championship loss to relegation battlers Wigan Athletic.

That is a double-header this week against Nottingham Forest and neighbours Sheffield Wednesday.

The Millers travel to the City Ground on Wednesday night, before returning to the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday for a sell-out South Yorkshire derby.

How Steve Evans’s side need to pick up points quickly or risk being sucked back into the relegation mire.

Wigan’s win – courtesy of copycat free-kicks from Jermaine Pennant – slashed the gap between the visitors and Rotherham to just six points.

Matt Derbyshire headed in on the stoke of half-time, but despite having the dominant share of possession after the break, the Millers could not beat goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Rotherham's Jordan Bowery fires over when in a good position for the Millers

Rotherham's Jordan Bowery fires over when in a good position for the Millers

“We just have to move on,” said Scottish defender Broadfoot. “If our next game wasn’t until Saturday, we could maybe analyse this, but with a game at Forest on Wednesday we just need to move on. We don’t want to dwell on it, get disappointed.

“We need to get our tactics and game-plan ready (for Forest).

“It’s a big week, but every week is a big week in the Championship. There are some big teams in there and they don’t come much bigger than Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, particularly being a local derby as well.

“It’s a big week, there are not many weeks to go and we need to pick up some points.

Wigan's Jermaine Pennant (extreme left) fires the ball into the top corner of Rotherham's net to put Wigan into the lead

Wigan's Jermaine Pennant (extreme left) fires the ball into the top corner of Rotherham's net to put Wigan into the lead

“If we win four or five games we will be okay.”

While former Premier League winger Pennant executed both set-pieces to perfection, there was some controversy over the awarding of the first free-kick.

Republic of Ireland international James McClean was judged by referee James Linington to have been fouled by Broadfoot on the edge of the area on 31 minutes.

Both players were booked in the ensuing melee, with Broadfoot claiming his innocence, before Pennant slotted the ball over the wall and to Adam Collin’s right-hand side.

“It was a blatant dive, everyone can see,” fumed Broadfoot. “I jumped out of the way and he dived, there’s no more I can say about it.

“He’s cheating. That is cheating, I am nowhere near him and he’s diving. It leads to a goal and kills the game. It’s disappointing to see.”

Five minutes later, Wigan were awarded another free-kick after a foul on Marc-Antoine Fortune, wider to the left, and former Liverpool star Pennant struck again, although this time to the goalkeeper’s left.

Following the Millers’ win at Huddersfield Town, Paul Green replaced the suspended Lee Frecklington, with Kari Arnason retaining his midfield spot.

Green came close to halving the deficit after some slick Millers passing but blazed over from 10 yards out.

Rotherham grabbed a lifeline with the last move of the opening half when Ben Pringle found himself in space on the right flank and his cross was headed home by Derbyshire.

After the break, Wigan tried to break the tempo of the game, as Rotherham pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

Jack Hunt’s inviting cross found Danny Lafferty ghosting in at the far post but he steered his effort wide and Arnason headed Pringle’s corner straight at Al Habsi.

The visiting goalkeeper produced a stunning double save to deny substitute Jordan Bowery.

Lafferty’s cross picked out Bowery but his header was saved and the former Aston Villa striker was denied from the rebound too by Al Habsi.

“Its a hard one to take, I thought we were actually the better team,” reflected Broadfoot. “But two pieces of brilliance really gave them 2-0 and left us with a mountain to climb.

“But I thought we dug deep, got a goal before half-time and I fancied us in the second half. There were some great saves from their goalkeeper.

“But it’s just one of those (scenarios) where we have to lift our heads up and get ready for the next game.

“In the second half, we had a right go, their goalkeeper made some great saves and I thought we were unlucky to lose,” he said. “It gives Wigan a lift, another three points gained, but we cannot get too downhearted.

“We would have taken a six-point gap at the beginning of the season, with the amount of games to go.”

With Craig Morgan on the bench, and Arnason operating in midfield, Broadfoot and on-loan Farrend Rawson impressed at the heart of the Millers’ defence.

Rawson, 18, was playing in only his second league match after arriving from Derby County and the teenager has impressed Broadfoot, 30, who is also enjoying an extended run in the team.

“He came in last week and has done very well, and he has done well again (on Saturday),” said Broadfoot.

“I think he is a good player, everyone can see that, and he has done well in training. He’s a good addition to the squad.

“It’s comfortable, we help each other, talk on the pitch, and I think we will both get better with a run of games. I have played at this level before, I always knew I could play, I just needed a run of games and get over a few niggling injuries.

“I am enjoying it. Huddersfield was a good away result, Saturday was disappointing, but I think performances overall have been good.”