ROTHERHAM United boss Paul Warne was quick to pay tribute to the fighting qualities of his side as they gained the unlikeliest of points at Hull City, after they came back from a two-goal half-time deficit to earn a crucial point in their fight for Championship survival.
The Millers were staring down the barrel of defeat at the KCOM Stadium as Jarrod Bowen’s well-taken opener and Fraizer Campbell’s predatory finish put the Tigers in charge at the break.
However, Warne’s side came out a transformed outfit in the second 45 and after sub Anthony Forde tapped home from close range, fellow substitute Jon Taylor’s deflected effort put the Millers back on level terms.
In front of the vocal Millers travelling contingent, Clark Robertson twice came close to earning the Millers their first away win of the season but he was superbly denied by home ‘keeper David Marshall,before Rotherham’s good work was almost undone in the dying minutes, when Jackson Irvine flashed a point-blank header narrowly wide of the target.
Speaking in the inner confines of the KCOM Stadium afterwards, Warne was bursting with pride at his side’s superb second-half display.
“The group were amazing in the second half,” Warne enthused.
“There were some good performances from the side and when I asked the players to give me a response and have a right go, then we had 11/12 giants on the pitch.
“I’m pleased with their performance, in the second-half. We pressed harder and it would not be unjust to say we deserved to win it.”
Following the double setback in the opening 45 minutes, Warne was rewarded for a change in formation, prior to the break, while the introduction of substitutes Anthony Forde and Jon Taylor paid handsome dividends, as both players’ struck after the break to earn his side a share of the spoils.
“I thought we were set up the way we wanted to be in the first-half but to concede so early knocked the stuffing out of the lads. It gave Hull a massive boost and they had a lot of the ball and we could not get out,” Warne acknowledged.
“At that time we were playing a 3-5-2 but we changed it to play a 4-5-1 and stay in the game until half-time. Jerry (Yates) was not having a bad game but we just couldn’t get him the ball. We had to be brave with the substitutions because we had to stay in the game. I did not want to go in at half-time, three or four down, so I thought by bringing Fordey on it would give us a bit more stability and shape and we went in at half time and changed it a little bit more.
“We went 4-1-4-1 at half time and it enabled me to bring Tayls on and I thought Fordey and Tayls had a massive influence on the game and it enabled us to pin them back. We got up the pitch and Smudge (Smith) caused them more problems in the second half.”