‘Bittersweet’ result for Rotherham United boss Warne

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne.
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne.
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Rotherham United boss Paul Warne felt his side should have claimed all three points, despite coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Stoke.

Second-half goals from Michael Smith and Matt Crooks earned the Millers a share of the spoils after Sam Vokes and Sam Clucas had given Stoke a two-goal half-time lead in the Championship clash at the bet365 Stadium.

The result means Rotherham trail Millwall and Wigan – and safety – by two points.

But, while he was proud of his players for their fightback, Warne was still left with a feeling of what might have been.

He said: “It is a little bit bitter-sweet, I feel it was a good opportunity to win a game, we came to win. I thought we were the better team. I’m biased I know, but for the first 25 minutes we were excellent and the goal was definitely against the run of play.

“Our goalkeeper has made one save I think the whole day and obviously (Stoke keeper Jack) Butland has made a few more and the fact that he got man of the match against us, I think that sums it up.

“I felt that our lads were excellent, they kept going and tried desperately to get the win that we need, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be for us.

“I was tearing my hair out at 2-0 because I thought that the lads had lost belief that we could have got anything from the game. I thought we started the game really well, I just thought there were missed chances, but I couldn’t ask more of this team, I love these guys.”

Nathan Jones’s men led after 27 minutes when Ashley Williams’s cross from the right was met by Vokes’s header which he guided into the bottom right-corner past goalkeeper Marek Rodak.

And they doubled their advantage two minutes later when James McClean’s low ball from the left was helped on by Vokes into the path of Clucas, who drove left-footed high beyond Rodak. The visitors pulled one back after 59 minutes as Anthony Forde’s corner from the right was met by forward Smith, who headed across goal, beating Butland to find the top left-corner.

And Warne’s men earned a point with 73 minutes gone when Will Vaulks’s long-throw was flicked on by Semi Ajayi, with Crooks on hand to steer the ball beyond Butland.

Stoke: Butland, Williams, Shawcross, Batth, Martins Indi (Verlinden 87), McClean, Allen, Etebo, Clucas, Krkic (Afobe 62), Vokes (Adam 87). Unused substitutes: Bauer, Diouf, Federici, Woods.

Rotherham: Rodak, Vyner, Ihiekwe, Robertson, Mattock, Ajayi, Taylor (Williams 68), Vaulks, Towell (Crooks 58), Forde (Newell 69), Smith. Unused substitutes: Wood, Price, Vassell, Wiles.

Referee: A Woolmer (Northamptonshire).