Rotherham United maintain pursuit of play-offs by stifling leaders Wigan

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ROTHERHAM United remain seven points clear of seventh-placed Portsmouth with four matches to go.

A change in formation helped Paul Warne’s side hold title-chasers Wigan and keep themselves firmly in the play-off positions.

Michael Smith played as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation, which helped stifle the table-toppers.

The Millers started and finished the stronger, however, with Smith and Ryan Williams going close early on and Williams striking the bar near the end.

“I didn’t go gung-ho. It was a hard job for Smudge (Smith), but we tried to get people in support every chance we could,” said Warne.

“We asked the lads to play brave when we were in possession and frustrate them when we didn’t have the ball.

We asked the lads to play brave when we were in possession and frustrate them when we didn’t have the ball.

Rotherham boss, Paul Warne

“I thought we started the game well and could have gone one or two up in the first five minutes.

“We weathered the storm a little bit after that and at the start of the second half and I thought Wigan were excellent. They are champions-elect and possibly the best team in the league by a country mile, but I thought we defended pretty well. We rode the storm.

“In the last 20 minutes we were by far the better team and I’m really pleased with the lads. I think we got the tactics spot on and on another day we may have nicked it. I’m proud of the lads. It’s a good day at the office.”

The frustrated hosts could still have won it late on when substitute James Vaughan headed over from close in when it looked easier to score.

Wigan Athletic: Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder, Morsy, Power, Jacobs, Powell (Roberts 46), Massey (Vaughan 72), Grigg (Colclough 83). Unused substitutes: Perkins, Walker, Bruce, Jones.

Rotherham United: Rodak, Emmanuel, Wood, Ihiekwe, Purrington, Towell (Forde 78), Vaulks, Palmer, Taylor, Smith, Williams. Unused substitutes: Ajayi, Ball, Price, Yates, Cummings, Lavery.

Referee: C Sarginson (Staffordshire).