WITH the transfer window sliding shut, Rotherham United manager Paul Warne is hoping an injury to striker Jamie Proctor does not prove as serious as it looked.
Proctor crumbled to the ground clutching his knee following a collision with Charlton captain Chris Solly in midfield and was carried off by stretcher and taken to hospital.
It was very much as tough a test as we expected. We were disappointed in our performance, but credit to Charlton. They came and did a job on us and controlled the game from start to finish.Richard O’Donnell
To add insult to injury, referee Trevor Kettle, who looked like blowing his whistle to stop play, waved the game on, Ricky Holmes crossed from the right and Josh Magennis headed in at the far post to make it 2-0 in the 66th minute.
“I don’t think it was a foul,” said Warne of the incident before adding: “If you see a player in that amount of pain, you have to get the medical team on quick.”
The goal meant it was game over despite Ahmed Kashi heading off the line from Joe Newell and nine minutes of stoppage time being played, for Charlton had been by far the more impressive side.
Central defenders Patrick Bauer and Jason Pearce went toe-to-toe with the Millers’ towering strikers of Proctor and Kieffer Moore and generally came out on top and goalkeeper Ben Amos showed impressive handling to thwart late pressure.
German Bauer was also allowed to head home in the 16th minute as Semi Ajayi failed to make a worthwhile challenge at a corner and the Millers left the post where the ball crossed the line unguarded.
Ajayi’s day went from bad to worse as he headed wide from four yards when in front of goal. Proctor had also scuffed a six-yard effort wide and then stood exasperated after the break as Moore elected to shoot instead of pass him through on goal.
In truth, though, Charlton dominated the key areas and it was no surprise that Rotherham’s dressing-room inquest was longer than the stoppage-time played.
Before heading to hospital to see his injured player, Warne said: “I am disappointed with the way we played. We are better than that. I don’t know if we showed them too much respect though I think they will be one of the automatic promotion teams.”
Though hoping for a better prognosis on Proctor than he believes likely this morning, the Rotherham chief said ahead of the transfer window closing on Thursday night: “I have the opportunity to bring in players, but he is going to be a hard player to replace and it will be a hard ask with four or five days left.”
Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell, who pulled off the save of the game going full length to his left to keep out a curling attempt from the outstanding Holmes before the break, was as frustrated as his manager by the Millers’ display.
“I said before the game that we have to make this place a fortress, but one home defeat doesn’t mean we can’t do that,” said the goalkeeper.
“It was very much as tough a test as we expected. We were disappointed in our performance, but credit to Charlton. They came and did a job on us and controlled the game from start to finish.
“With us being the home team, that is the most disappointing thing. We did not react well to going 1-0 down. Ultimately we missed a couple of good chances and it cost us. We did not put our game into them and did not show what we are about.
“It is important that we do not get too disheartened with (Saturday) because performances generally have been good.
“We have had a tough start in terms of the teams we have played because they are all going to be up and around there, but the performances we have put in should have brought more points than they have. We have played four and lost three and that is not somewhere we wanted to be.
“We pride ourselves on not conceding goals from set-pieces so, hopefully, that is a one-off.
“We move on and for the first time this season we will have a full week of training ahead of Sunday (at Portsmouth). That will be good for us, getting full sessions in. We have not been brilliant away so it is a great chance to put that right.”
Visiting manager Karl Robinson played down his side’s dominance, saying: “This was a very difficult game. You can’t say we were conclusively better. We will not get carried away with our performance, but I was so happy for our goalkeeper and two centre-backs who were immense.
“I hope Proctor is not too serious, I really do. You never want to see a player sustain a long-term injury against your team. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
Of the incident that led to Charlton’s second goal, Robinson said: “It was definitely not a foul. You could see once we scored I was more worried about the player who was injured – I don’t think you see me celebrate. At the same time, you can’t expect Ricky (Holmes) to put the ball out of play. He shouldn’t have to kick it out, my players have to win a game of football.”
Rotherham United: O’Donnell, Emmanuel (Vauks 59), Ajayi, Ihiekwe, Mattock; Williams (Taylor 46), Frecklington, Potter, Newell; Proctor (Clarke-Harris 70), Moore. Unused substitutes: Bilboe, Forde, Purrington, Cummings.
Charlton Athletic: Amos, Solly, Bauer, Pearce, Dasilva; Kashi, Forster-Caskey; Fosu (Ahearne-Grant 85), Clarke (Novak 85), Holmes (Konsa 89); Magennis. Unused substitutes: Phillips, Jackson, Crofts, Sarr.
Referee: T Kettle (Berkshire).