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Season 2016-17
Rotherham United (a)

In association 


Saturday 1st October 2016, 3.00pm.

 New York Stadium

Conditions: turbulent

Admission: £23



Rotherham United

Newcastle United

0 - 1




the first for the Mohican...

41 mins Jonjo Shelvey found Christian Atsu on the right wing and the Chelsea loanee beat his man before curling a shot beyond Lee Camp into the far corner of the net in front of the North Stand - similar and similarly stylish to the effort by Norwich's Cameron Jerome at SJP in midweek. 1-0

Half time: Millers 0 Magpies 1

Full time: Millers 0 Magpies 1

We Said


What a glorious feeling, i'm happy again

Rafa Benitez


"In the end, itís three points.

"It does not matter what the name of the rival is, you have to try hard and win.

"The other day
(against Norwich City) because of the first half I think we deserved to win but in the end, we had to get behind them and win it late.

"Today was different to the other day. We had to work hard and we were pushing and pushing and getting throw-ins and corners.

"We had to keep working and keep organising the team - we have to make sure we are doing the right things and not making mistakes. We must be sure we are doing is right.

"For me, football is 11 versus 11. I am happy trying to manage a club that is so big. You just enjoy doing your job.

"They started with high intensity and pressed really high - it was difficult for us to keep the ball and pass the ball. The impression of the game was that they were pushing from throw-ins and corners. They were dangerous.

"If you analyse the stats they had 10 shots and we had 20. We did what we had to do, defend and pass the ball. We had to play the counter attack when he had to do it. It was a difficult game against a good team but we did what we had to do.

"Itís always important to win whether itís before or after an international break.

"To perform like this and in the week against Norwich is massive for us. It is big for the confidence for the team - now the players can go away and enjoy with their families.

ďWhen you have an international break you can do nothing apart from work with the players who are still here. You have to work hard and keep the physical condition. You can adjust tactically if you can.

"For the others, you can just keep your fingers crossed and wait to see if they have any injuries.Ē

On Atsu:

"We did a lot of research to bring him here. My information from Spain was really good and positive.

"I also spoke to people at Chelsea and they said he was a nice lad. From what I have seen he is a good professional and he works hard.Ē


They Said

Millers boss Alan Stubbs said:

"Weíve been harshly penalised for their goal. Itís been a very easy game to officiate but for some reason the man in the middle has wanted to get involved. Maybe because itís the headline game on TV he wants some of the attention.

"Heís got a big one wrong. There are two hands on Frecks. If you see it back, itís blatantly obvious.

"We have taken the game to Newcastle and, if I am being honest, it has been a pretty uncomfortable 90 minutes for them.

"We are certainly getting better. On Tuesday we could have taken a point and today one bit of quality has been the difference between the two teams.

"When you're down there a little bit of luck deserts you but you have to make your own luck in this game. There were positives out of the display but not out of the result. For me it was a step in the right direction.

"If they keep performing like they have done in the last couple of games then it won't be long until they start picking up points. I've got no doubts about that."



Mags @ Millers - all-time:

won 1-0 Atsu
1992/93 drew 1-1 Lee (FAC)
1982/83 won 5-1 Keegan 4, Todd
1981/82 drew 0-0
1964/65 drew 1-1 Penman
1963/64 won 3-2 Penman, Suddick 2
1962/63 lost 1-3 McGrath
1961/62 drew 0-0

(All games at Millmoor until 2016/17)

It's now 10 league and cup appearances for Yoan Gouffran this season, during which United have recorded nine victories and one draw. However the trio of games that the Frenchman didn't feature in all ended in defeats (0-1 Fulham away, 1-2 Huddersfield home, 0-2 Wolves home).

Christian Atsu netted his first goal for Newcastle and also the first in England - having failed to get off the mark during loan spells at Everton and Bournemouth.

Newcastle's debut at New York Stadium means that 17 of the current 92 league grounds still remain to be visited by the Magpies for a first team fixture (either competitive or friendly):

Bristol Rovers
Burton Albion*
Colchester United
Crawley Town*
Fleetwood Town
MK Dons
Newport County
Northampton Town
Oxford United
Shrewsbury Town
West Ham
Wycombe Wanderers

*United have played here at reserve/junior team level

(Rochdale is omitted from the list because United played a War Cup tie at Spotland during 1941, Albert Stubbins scoring a hat trick in a 3-1 win). 




An eventful eight days for Rafa Benitez and his side ended with no late drama and a clean sheet that wasn't as inevitable as the form table might have suggested.

Failing to see the game out at Villa last Saturday had cost United two points that were promptly regained with interest after a frantic and memorable finale to Norwich's midweek visit to Tyneside.

Today though was a slog, repeated defending of set pieces enlivened by a New York minute of individual brilliance from Christian Atsu. If not quite winning ugly, then it was certainly functional. 

The home side had just a single victory from their opening ten league games, leaving them bottom of the table and in possession of Championship's leakiest defence and most goal-shy attack.

And their problems showed little sign of easing with Joe Mattock straining a calf during the warm-up and being replaced in the starting line-up before
Tom Adeyemi limped off in the opening half hour.

There was certainly no lack of effort from Millers, whose reliance on long throw-ins and issuing ball boys with towels summoned up the ghosts of Stoke City, Tranmere Rovers and Cambridge United - sadly Matt Ritchie didn't hear us shouting at him here to emulate Ryan Taylor at the Britannia Stadium and dry the ball off to waste a few extra seconds near the end....   

Ritchie had been taken out of the firing line to give Atsu his first United start, while Vurnon Anita was restored at right back after suspension but Chancel Mbemba and Matz Sels remained benched.

An uneventful opening 40 minutes saw United struggle to create many clear-cut chances, Yoan Gouffran's volley cleared off the line before the follow-up was blocked, while Jonjo Shelvey blasted another effort narrowly over Lee Camp's crossbar from distance.

At the other end, Darlow tipped an effort over from Joe Newell and John Taylor's dipper struck hit the crossbar with referee Roger East awarding a corner, presumably for a deflection off Dummett rather than any intervention from the uncomfortable-looking Darlow.

Dummett's afternoon wasn't to be memorable; a hideous attempt to trap the ball, followed by a run of misplaced passes and mis-timed tackles. However he wasn't alone in struggling to make any impact with Momo Diame again more reminiscent of Shola Ameobi than Moussa Sissoko (although he does share the latter's distaste at getting involved in aerial challenges).

On the positive side though, both Jack Colback and Ciaran Clark gave a good account of themselves and the bombardment into the box was meat and drink to Jamaal Lascelles. Credit also goes to Dwight Gayle though who saw and acted to prevent Rotherham's attempt at a "pretend corner kick", rushing from his near post station to whip the now in-play ball away from the corner flag -  home players incredibly remonstrating with the referee for not penalising the Magpie.

Since the opening night loss at Fulham saw us troop off a goal behind, United have led all of their away games at half time and today was to be no exception; four minutes of normal time remaining when Atsu took Shelvey's pass and cut in from the right before planting a curler in the home net.

The second half followed a similar pattern with neither side really threatening, Atsu forcing Camp into a decent stop while Greg Halford's long throws were dealt with by Darlow and his defence.

Ritchie's introduction for the scorer made little impact on the match, and although Shelvey tested Camp, it became clear that a fourth away win of the season would hinge on a fourth clean sheet.

Aleksandar Mitrovic replaced Dwight Gayle and Grant Hanley was introduced for Momo Diame as Rafa tried to shore up the backline - although the withdrawal of Atsu and Gayle deprived the side of any outlet, giving the Millers encouragement to bombard the box. 

Thankfully the Serbian refrained from repeating his costly cameo at Villa Park, although a 16 minute stint (including added time) seemed to leave him physically drained. Maybe he's just bone-idle.

United survived another set piece that ended with Dominic Ball going close and Gouffran sliced a clearance that hit Darlow's post before Will Vaulks shot against a visiting defender from close in.

Rain fell as five additional minutes began but old foe Dexter Blackstock (whose goal in 2009 beat us 1-0 at Nottingham Forest on a day that Lee Camp kept a clean sheet) hardly got a kick after his arrival from the bench.

Victory for leaders Huddersfield at Ipswich meant we missed out on top spot ahead of the evening kick off between our last two home opponents, Norwich and Wolves. A 2-1 win for the Canaries at Molineux then left us where we started the day - in third position.

The parallels between this victory and the one at Bristol City extend further than grinding out a 1-0 win over a team in red on a damp day at a newish ground. Then as now, the performance wasn't always totally convincing, but the result was all that mattered and all that will be remembered. 

Celebrations on and off the field at full time might have seemed to an outsider out of proportion to the achievement, but the side maintained momentum and ended a potentially tricky week on a high note. The singing -and dancing - in the rain was deserved.

Niall MacKenzie/Biffa

Page last updated 15 June, 2017