Rotherham United boss Paul Warne was full of praise as his players ‘stood up and were counted’ as they prevailed as 3-0 winners over Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
After an early penalty miss, Michael Smith made amends with a goal seconds after his spot kick was saved by Jack Bonham before Matt Crooks added a second in classy style. After weathering some home pressure following the restart, Warne’s men were out of sight as Crooks bagged a second late on to fuel their Sky Bet League One campaign with a further three points.
Speaking after the game in Kent, Warne hailed his side for their triumph in tough conditions.
“We were really good. We’re in good away form. I thought Gillingham put us under some pressure in the second half as we expected,” he beamed.
“The conditions were difficult, is the best way to put it. The wind sometimes took it past us and sometimes it held it up, so it caused us a bit of difficulty to win the first ball and Gillingham kept trying to turn us.
“I asked the defenders to stand up and be counted and my goalkeeper was excellent and whenever there was a bit of pressure we dealt with it well.
“We got in a few times first half but there was a war of attrition for the first 15 minutes in the second half but because we had a two goal lead it was no skin off my nose.
“We were quite happy with the way the game was going and Crooksy got his second goal, so well done to him. I thought Jamie Lindsay was outstanding today and he covered virtually every blade of grass.
“That’s the thing with pens, I was never brave enough to take one, so I’m not going to criticise. I spoke to him [Smith] at half time and he said he caught it sweet but the ‘keeper guessed the right way and made the save.
Joe Mattock and Trevor Clarke were both forced off with injuries during the game at Priestfield Stadium but Warne was pleased with the impact made by those coming on from the bench.
“Unfortunately we had a couple of injuries so we had to shuffle the pack but the subs came on and did well, so they’re really happy in there, they’ve got a victory Monday, so they’re buzzing.”
Warne concluded by explaining that he has asked his players to give soon-to-depart kitman Steve McVann a performance to be proud of at his final game in post, before paying tribute to Crooks’ sublime goal in the first half.
“Overall, I’m really proud of my group. My Kit Man, Steve McVann, who is a top man is leaving, so I asked the lads before the game to give him a performance because it is his last game. I asked them to give him a performance to make him proud and they did so,” he explained.
“As soon as he hit it I thought with the wind it had a right chance and it went and dropped in and it was a sweet feeling. Crooksy has got that, he’s got an eye for a goal and that’s why he’s leading the goalscoring charts.
“I’m just really pleased with how we played, away from home especially because sometimes you just have to ride the storm for 10 or 15 minutes.”