Rotherham United 0 Watford 1: Perspiration, but no inspiration as Millers produce a familiar tale

For their part, the Millers’ suffering supporters are likely to be punch-drunk after taking plenty of punishment this season which is sadly only going to end one way, barring the comeback of all comebacks.

Another defeat – a fourth in a row and a sixth in seven in all competitions – and another occasion when there was lots of perspiration, but no inspiration made for a familiar story unfortunately.

At the end, there was no anger from the home faithful, who commendably stuck with their players. Just a sense of resignation in truth.

AESSEAL New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United FC. Picture: PAAESSEAL New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United FC. Picture: PA
AESSEAL New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United FC. Picture: PA

They have been here before.

A low-grade game between two sides who have lost their mojo was settled by one moment of quality in isolation and it was enough.

It came from Yaser Asprilla who followed up his sublime strike in midweek at Carrow Road with another cracker to win it on 59 minutes. Watford[1] are now 12 unbeaten against Rotherham.

For the Millers, it was another home game where they lacked wit and threat in the final third and creative department. They mustered just one effort on target all game. So did Watford, to be fair, but they scored from theirs. It was a beauty.

After an underwhelming and pretty joyless start to 2024, opportunity knocked for one of these sides to try and get going again.

The Millers were without a win since Boxing Day, while Watford headed into the game on the back of a seven-match winless sequence in all competitions.

The early encouragement came from the hosts. After a slow start, the visitors gradually woke up and had the better moments, but it remained goalless, perhaps predictably, at the break.

Slick play early on saw Cameron Humphreys find Hakeeb Odoffin in an advanced position. He plays the ball to Peter Kioso[2], whose cutback found Odoffin, who steered the ball over the bar from 15 yards out.

Andy Rinomhota, handed a first start, then fired over after Matty Pollock’s header clear from Sean Morrison’s booming long throw.

The Millers were winning some early battles, but Watford gradually found their wings, with Asprilla posting particular danger down the right.

A clever spot from Edo Kayembe sent Ken Sema clear on the right. Odoffin, after initially getting on the wrong side, redeemed himself with an excellent saving challenge.

Soon after, Asprilla appeared on the left and his cross was headed off target, under pressure from Mileta Rajovic.

Kioso pulled up at the other end with what appeared to be a hamstring issue. Blades loanee Femi Seriki[3] was being prepared to come on, but Kioso recovered and soon headed a chance straight at Hornets keeper Ben Hamer.

Both keepers were far from extended in a half in which decision-making and quality was not always the best.

Ahead of the break, Watford were guilty of that after squandering a great situation.

The hosts were caught with their pants down on the break. Ismael Kone found Rajovic, who played the ball to Asprilla, in acres of space down the right.

He had a sight of goal, but instead elected to play the ball back in the direction of Rajovic, with Odoffin alert to the danger and making his second timely intervention of the half.

Like the first half, the Millers started the better on the resumption, but struggled to find that moment of quality.

There were howls when referee Kitchen ignored a penalty shout after Rinomhota, who had a decent full debut, went down in the box. Richardson was not impressed.

Less so when the Hornets took the lead with a stand-out moment in a hitherto forgettable game a few minutes before the hour mark.

A corner was not cleared and after substitute Giorgi Chakvetadze saw an effort blocked, the ball broke for Asprilla, who unleashed an unstoppable drive which hurtled past Viktor Johansson at a fair rate of knots.

Chakvetadze’s introduction was a smart one with the Georgian quickly posing issues for the Millers.

Jordan Hugill, Sam Clucas and Tom Eaves were soon thrown into the fray by Leam Richardson in a bid to change the narrative.

A good chance did arrive, but at the feet of Revan. In fairness, his well-struck low drive was only a whisker away, flying just wide.

Set-pieces looked the Millers best hope and they so nearly profited when Morrison saw his downward header fly narrowly over following Clucas’s corner from the left.

Rinomhota then saw a goalbound shot blocked after Revan’s low cross. It just wouldn’t go in.

One plus for Millers arrived in the return to action after an injury nightmare for Shane Ferguson. He made his first appearance since May 1.

Rotherham United: Johansson; Kioso (Ferguson 79), Odoffin, Morrison, Humphreys (Cafu 79), Revan; Tiehi (Clucas 68), Rinomhota, Rathbone; Nombe (Eaves 68), Wyke (Hugill 68). Unused substitutes: Phillips, Lindsay, Peltier, Seriki.

Watford: Hamer; Dele-Bashiru, Pollock, Hoedt, Lewis (Dennis 85); Sierralta; Kone (Chakvetadze 55), Kayembe (Ince 55); Asprilla (Andrews 85), Rajovic, Sema (Livermore 75). Unused substitutes: Bachmann, Martins, Morris, Grieves.

Referee: A Kitchen (Durham).

Attendance: 10,143 (1,571 Watford supporters).


  1. ^ Watford (
  2. ^ Peter Kioso (
  3. ^ Femi Seriki (