Rotherham boss Steve Evans was a broken man after Sheffield Wednesday scored two injury-time goals to snatch a 3-2 win in the South Yorkshire derby at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
As the match entered seven minutes of additional time, the Millers were winning 2-1 through goals from Ben Pringle and Jordan Bowery.
But, after Caolan Lavery had earlier levelled for Wednesday, Atdhe Nuhiu’s header in the third minute of injury time followed by Kieren Lee’s effort five minutes later won it for them.
It was an enthralling end to the match as four goals went in after the 86th minute, but with three of those being for Wednesday it meant a poor afternoon for the Millers.
At one point in the afternoon they were heading nine points clear of the drop zone, but following Wigan’s late leveller against Bolton and Wednesday’s late show it means Evans’ men are now only five points ahead.
“It’s hard to take. For long spells we have out-worked, out-played Sheffield Wednesday and dominated a derby,” he said. “The defending is poor for each of the goals, you can’t defend like that in a football match.
“We are down because we didn’t deserve that. We gave very, very sloppy goals away, it’s disheartening. If you switch off you get punished, you just can’t defend like that.
“We are as down as we can be. We are getting smashed, every decision goes against us, that’s how it feels anyway.
“We are down but we are not out. They turned up with balaclavas, they didn’t deserve to win the game, I think all of their staff will admit that. We have to work on the positives.”
Wednesday manager Stuart Gray was happy to reflect on his match-changing substitutions.
When Gray brought Stevie May, Lavery and Chris Maguire on with his team trailing it had a big impact on proceedings and allowed the Owls to perform their late, late show.
“If you’re going to put subs on they have to have an impact,” Gray said. “Credit to the three lads who went on, they have had a big impact (and) it probably just put Rotherham on the back foot, they went a little bit deeper and allowed my full-backs to get forward.
“When we put the three subs on I just felt it opened the game up for us. In the last 10 minutes it looked like we were the only team going to score.
“Credit to the boys to keep going. It happened to us against Millwall earlier on in the season, it was the very last kick of the game. It won’t be the last time this happens.
“Psychologically it maybe affected them more. I always go for the win, we haven’t been scoring that many goals.
“The most important think is that belief, and I just felt we had more control of the ball in the second half to cause them problems.
“We put them on the back foot and we created some chances. It was nice to be at the end with the Sheffield Wednesday fans.”