Rotherham ended a tumultuous week in familiar fashion as they were beaten 2-1 at Burton in the Sky Bet Championship.
The Millers’ season was plunged into further turmoil on Monday after Kenny Jackett resigned after just five games in charge to leave the club looking for their third manager of a dismal campaign and sixth since September 2015.
And it was normal service resumed at the Pirelli Stadium as under the caretaker stewardship of Paul Warne, the Millers slipped to a 15th game without a win - a horror run that leaves them 13 points adrift of safety and almost certain for relegation.
For Burton, Rotherham’s visit could not have come at a better time as goals from Jackson Irvine and Matty Palmer gave them just a second win in eight games, with Tom Adeyemi notching a late consolation.
Fired up by Warne, who had threatened to substitute anyone who was not pulling their weight after 20 minutes, Rotherham started well and had two identical chances to take the lead as Jon Taylor was played in on the right but on both occasions he saw shots blocked.
But then a familiar story unfolded as their defensive weaknesses were exploited and Burton stole a 15th-minute lead through Irvine.
Chris O’Grady was sent through on goal and was allowed to muscle Dominic Ball off the ball, with his blocked shot falling perfectly for Irvine to slot home from 12 yards.
That stunted Rotherham’s momentum, though they had the perfect chance to level midway through the first half but Izzy Brown glanced a header wide from six yards following a fine ball in from Danny Ward.
But it was all Burton from there as they dominated the rest of the opening period, with Jamie Ward twice hitting efforts from distance with the dangerous O’Grady also fizzing an effort over the top.
And a golden opportunity came to double the lead 11 minutes after the restart when some more criminally poor defending from Ball saw O’Grady dispossess him and square to Irvine, who blazed over from inside the area with the goal gaping.
But that did not prove costly as the second did come just after the hour and it was a picture-book effort from Palmer.
Rotherham failed to clear a set-piece, with the ball falling to the midfielder 20 yards out and arrowed an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
There was no way back for the hapless visitors after that and they could do nothing to stop a 14th defeat of the season with their fans venting their anger towards the end of the game.
Proceedings had to be stopped as two flares were thrown on the pitch, while angry fans chanted against former manager Alan Stubbs.
They scored a consolation with the last meaningful action of the game as Adeyemi converted Joe Mattock’s cross but it changed nothing.
Caretaker boss Warne said: “It’s difficult, I gave everything I could today, and I am sorry that it’s not enough, it’s hard to take.
“I did every single thing I could and I am disappointed because we didn’t give the fans anything.”