Port Vale 2 Rotherham United 0: Davis sees red as Vale punish 10-man Millers

Ten-man Rotherham United saw their play-off hopes dented as they finished 2013 on a low with defeat at rivals Port Vale.

The hosts had taken the lead when former Millers striker Tom Pope headed down for team-mate Louis Dodds to fire home beyond Rotherham goalkeeper Adam Collin.

United were gifted a lifeline back into the contest when James Tavernier, the right-back on loan from Newcastle United, was felled in the box by Richard Duffy to win his side a penalty.

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But Kieran Agard, one of the most impressive players in Steve Evans’s side which is pushing for back-to-back promotions, saw his penalty saved by Vale goalkeeper Sam Johnson.

Rotherham defender Claude Davis – the Jamaican was only playing after midfielder Lee Frecklington was withdrawn due to illness during the warm-up – saw red for kicking out at Pope.

And then to rub salt into Rotherham’s wounds Gavin Tomlin secured the win from 12 yards, although Millers boss Evans felt he was offside.

“I’m not going to condemn Kieran, he’s been one of our better players this afternoon, and he’s missed a penalty, but the best players in the world miss penalties,” said Evans.

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“We were still in the game though and Claude goes off but we’re still in the game at 10 versus 11, and they get the second goal which kills the game.

“A player on the pitch shouted for offside for that goal and with the benefit of the DVD it looks like the lad is off by at least two yards.”

“It was hard to take really. But we didn’t start the game well and for 15 or 20 minutes we looked like a team that wasn’t organised, we conceded a goal through some sloppy play by us, and then there’s some game-changing decisions,” he said.

“We missed a penalty, but regroup and then there’s the red card.”

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Port Vale: Johnson, Yates, Duffy, Chilvers, Dickinson, Lines, Griffith (Birchall 73), Loft, Dodds (Williamson 84), Pope, Tomlin (Shuker 78). Unused substitutes: Lloyd, Hughes, Boot, Hugill.

Rotherham United: Collin, Tavernier, Davis, Morgan, Skarz, Agard, O’Connor (Brindley 61), Arnason, Pringle, Vuckic (Tidser 59), Revell (Tubbs 84). Unused substitutes: Shearer, Mills, Worrall, Frecklington.

Referee: R Lewis (Shropshire).

Man of the match: James Tavernier.