Millers boss Paul Warne admitted that “Christmas will be a lot sweeter” as Michael Smith’s winner at the death gave his team a narrow Boxing Day victory over Shrewsbury Town.
Warne’s side looked on course to record their third Sky Bet League One draw on the spin after Aaron Pierre cancelled out Joe Mattock’s first goal of the season but the Millers fans had a moment to remember – with almost the last kick of the game – when Smith headed home Adam Thompson’s cross, to give the visitors a well-deserved victory in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Speaking to the assembled media afterwards, Warne believed his side, who move up to fifth in the standings following the win, were good value for the three points, after having the better of the Shropshire clash for large periods.
“I thought we were pretty good. I thought we started the game really well and I thought we were the dominant team.” Warne stressed.
“I think we created the most chances and on another day, Freddie may have had a couple. Crooksey had one when he maybe should have scored but he didn’t get hold of it.
“I thought we created enough chances to win the game. We conceded off a well-worked free-kick but I do not remember my ‘keeper making a save.
“We had a lot of the play but we did not create enough. When we scored our goal, I thought we may win the game more handsomely, but I’m delighted to win the game late on.”
Following a number of absentees last week, Warne was able to call on the services of a number of his first-team regulars, following injury and illness, and the Millers boss admitted that this strength-in depth proved crucial, in the final reckoning, while paying tribute to Mattock, who was forced to leave the fray near the end due to a reoccurring back injury, and substitute Smith, on their goalscoring contributions.
“We just looked a lot better team than we have done in recent weeks.” Warne added.
“We had a lot of our players back which helps. We looked a lot stronger and our performance showed that. For us to come here and beat them, really pleases me.
“Joe may be in less pain as we’ve won the game. I’m not sure how severe his injury is. The goal was good for Joe. I’ve always been wax lyrical about Joe since I’ve been at the club. He’s brilliant and he can play. To get a goal, in front of the away following, who were great today, is good for him.
“The same for Smudge. Smudge has been frustrated at times but to score that goal right in front of the fans makes Christmas a little bit sweeter and you have to give the lads a lot of credit, as there were some really good performances.”