Rotherham 1 Wolves 2: Frecklington and Millers show spirit to prove they are ready for fight

Rotherham United striker Jonson Clarke-Harris is challenged by Wolverhampton Wanderers central defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell at the New York Stadium (Picture: Simon Hulme).
Rotherham United striker Jonson Clarke-Harris is challenged by Wolverhampton Wanderers central defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell at the New York Stadium (Picture: Simon Hulme).
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CAPTAin Lee Frecklington believes the Championship has never been tighter and that it can only be a good thing for Rotherham United in their battle to beat the drop.

They failed to record a third successive victory, which would have lifted them out of the bottom three, but certainly matched Wolverhampton.

The visitors, however, possessed the quality which is lacking in the Millers’ camp and which manager Neil Redfearn believes will be provided by former Republic of Ireland duo, central defender Stephen Kelly (calf strain) and striker Leon Best (suspended), when they return.

Central midfield man Frecklington is making his way back from a 10-match absence after twice suffering a slight calf tear and had his volley not been deflected inches wide with the score 1-1, it could have been a different story.

After a third successive comeback game, Frecklington admitted: “It was very frustrating, I think that’s the best way to describe how we’re feeling.

“We’ve come off the back of two great results and I think we feel we’ve let ourselves down a little bit. It was a great opportunity to add to the points tally.

“I’d been very pleased with my own performance in those two wins, but I’m a little bit more disappointed (against Wolves). I thought I was sloppy at times, although I have been out for a long time and I’m going to have games where I’m not at the level I want to be.

“I spent numerous days with Paul Warne doing triple sessions. I know it doesn’t replicate a match. You can do as much training and swimming as you want, but it will never be the same as it is on the pitch. I’ve played three games now. I feel fine, I feel fit.”

He is certainly ready for Friday’s trip to mid-table Blackburn Rovers and continued: “The gaffer summed it up in there. He said even if we’d got three points, we’d still have to go to Blackburn and get something there. So nothing has changed from our point of view.

“We’ve got to put this defeat to bed as quickly as we can. We’re disappointed but you can’t get too disheartened. The games come thick and fast at this time of year so we’ve got to move on.”

Of future challenges, Frecklington remarked: “I’ve been watching from the sidelines and I’d say it’s tough out there.

“There are a lot of decent teams and when I was at Peterborough there were a few more of the bigger teams in it like Newcastle and West Brom and you knew who was going to be at the top end of the league.

“But the last two seasons we’ve had here, I don’t think you’ve been able to call it, and that does prove it’s tighter and makes it a lot better.”

Rotherham were sunk on Saturday by goals from James Henry and Danny Batth, which had sandwiched a first-half equaliser from Joe Newell.

But Redfearn’s problems had begun beforehand when Farrend Rawson withdrew after having a minor groin operation, having replaced Kelly shortly before half-time in victory over Bristol City.

Danny Collins moved into central defence and Harry Toffolo took over at left-back, Joe Mattock only being deemed fit enough to take a place on the bench after hamstring trouble.

Henry’s stooping header gave Wolves an early lead, but he was denied a double by Lee Camp’s top-class save before Newell made it 1-1 with a shot in off a post as the Millers’ pressure mounted.

They were deflated before the break when Collins was sandwiched by Wolves’ central defenders Batth, who got the decisive header to the deep corner, and Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who also had far too much power at the back for young Millers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris to make an impact.

The Millers got to grips with the Wolves midfield after the break, but had to bring back Matt Derbyshire, a first-half replacement for Danny Ward (ankle and knee), to do so and consequently lacked potency in front of goal.

In fact, former Millers striker Adam Le Fondre should have made it safe for Wolves, but sent a free header wide in a second half of few opportunities.

But, as Redfearn remarked: “It is a measure of how far we have come perhaps if we are expected to beat Wolves. We have to remember where we are at.”

Rotherham United: Camp, Buxton, Broadfoot Collins, Toffolo; G Ward (Barker 76), Frecklington, Smallwood, Newell (Hyam 29); Clarke-Harris, D Ward (Derbyshire 13). Unused substitutes: Collin, Mattock, Richardson, Yates.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ikeme, Iorfa, Batth, Ebanks-Landell, Golbourne; McDonald (Coady 86), Price, Henry, Edwards, Graham (Byrne 90); Le Fondre (Afobe 76). Unused substitutes: McCarey, Doherty, Wallace, Holt.

Referee: D Deadman (Cambs).

Man of the match: James Henry.