ROTHERHAM United boss Paul Warne admitted that his side’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Crewe Alexandra was disappointing after a 2-1 defeat at Gresty Road.
The Millers looked on course to book their berth in the second round hat after Will Vaulks’ curling effort gave them an interval lead at Gresty Road.
However, David Artell’s men turned the tie on its head in the second half when firstly Brad Walker levelled matters with a smart header. With the game heading for a replay at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, Callum Ainley dashed Millers hopes with a late strike which turned the tie in the home side’s favour.
Speaking to the assembled press corps afterwards, Warne was quick to express his disappointment, despite being content with the first-half display.
“I thought we played really well in the first half and controlled the game. We had enough chances to be out of sight and I thought Joe Newell was outstanding in the first-half,” Warne stated.
“We felt pretty comfortable in the game. I don’t think our ‘keeper made a save in the first half.”
With the Millers bossing first-half proceedings in Cheshire, Warne’s men seemed to have taken a firm grip on the game on the stroke of half-time, when Kieffer Moore headed home from Joe Newell’s corner, but the referee ordered a re-take of the corner after David Ball was adjudged to have impeded Dave Richards before the set-piece was taken.
In hindsight, Warne admitted that the incident was crucial in determining the outcome of the match.
“Obviously there was a big turning point on the stroke of half-time. I thought that would have been game over but the referee pulled it back and he said there was a foul before the ball come into the box,” Warne added.
“I think that changed the game a little bit. At half-time, I said to the lads that I think that will give them a boost and in the second-half, they came out and had a free header for the equaliser in the middle of our penalty box which was unacceptable.
“It was quite an open end-to-end cup tie and I thought we would go on and win it, so for them to score in the manner of their second was difficult to take.
“I thought we played more than well enough in the first half to get through. I have been saying all week a nice cup run would be good, but it wasn’t to be. I can’t pretend that I’m anything other than disappointed.”