Rotherham have gone an entire season without winning away from home for just the second time in their history after a miserable year on the road ended in a 1-1 draw at Preston.
The Millers, whose relegation was confirmed at the start of the month, did at least double their points tally as Richie Smallwood’s early goal, which was cancelled out by Stevie May’s effort, helped them to just a second draw.
They end their away campaign with 21 defeats, the most in the club’s history and the joint-highest in the Football League, level with Leyton Orient in 1994-95.
Preston are eyeing up a top-half finish and earned the point thanks to May’s brilliant effort from 20 yards on his first start since October 2015.
Rotherham’s hopes of avoiding that unwanted record were raised as they took a ninth-minute lead.
A corner was cleared to Smallwood on the edge of the box, his first touch was good to get the ball under control but his next was even better to send a looping volley into the far corner.
The Millers had chances to further their lead but Tom Adeyemi curled an effort inches wide from 16 yards and then Richard Wood headed straight at Chris Maxwell after finding space in the box.
It was not the start Preston were expecting but they showed signs of finding their groove when Aiden McGeady’s shot straight at Richard O’Donnell before Jordan Hugill dragged a shot wide from a good position.
They eventually drew level four minutes before the break with a special moment for May. Making his first start following a terrible knee injury, the striker bended a beauty into the top corner from 20 yards.
For all that, they were still lucky to go in at half-time on level terms as Rotherham missed a golden chance to retake the lead. A neat move ended with Jonson Clarke-Harris heading down for Adeyemi but the midfielder blazed embarrassingly over.
Rotherham did not allow that set back to deter them and they began the second half well and Adeyemi had another chance just 25 seconds after the restart but Maxwell made a good save low down.
They continued to boss possession and territory but wasted good opportunities to create chances as their final ball often let them down.
McGeady remained Preston’s main threat and he almost scored with an overhit cross that had O’Donnell back-peddling before sending a 25-yard free-kick just wide.
North End wanted to finish on a high in front of their own fans and ramped it up in the final 10 minutes, with Simon Makinok having a header cleared off the line while McGeady sent another effort over.
The Millers were able to hold on for just their second point on the road, ending a run of 14 successive losses on the road, going back to October.
Rotherham manager Paul Warne can see the green shoots of recovery.
“The lads stuck to the game plan really well, we defended resolutely to the last minute,” he said.
“Back to front I thought we were great. We got on top with a great goal from Richie and their goal was a wonder strike and that is what it has taken to get past us.
“We were tight all over the pitch, so I am happy. A few games ago I told the lads to use this as a mini-season and I think their standards in all of those games has been excellent.
“I am pretty proud of what the lads have put in and I think there are green shoots for next season, so I am a proud manager.
“The lads can take confidence from this and if they finish the season like that at least the fans can see they are proud to wear the shirt. Everyone involved with Rotherham United should be proud of their team tonight.”