By Fan of the Year Jon Harries
After 2 defeats to the bottom 2 sides in League 1, attention turned to high flying Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night. Third before kick-off and fresh from a 4-0 win against local rivals Bolton it looked like a very tall order for the Dons.
The first half started positively for the away side with Harvie flashing a ball across the box, then Kioso finding Eisa who headed straight at Amos. Wigan were struggling but took the lead against the run of play. A ball down our left side from Power found Keane (possibly offside, hard to tell on iFollow), he then squared the ball to Charlie Wyke who finished from close range.
Not fazed by that, the Dons continued their approach and equalised when Harvie delivered brilliantly for Kioso to hammer home a header at the back post and bag his 3rd goal of the season (all away from home). They then went one step further after a comfortable Fisher save kept things all square. Kasumu won the ball high up the pitch, Lewington picked up the loose ball and threaded it to Harvie who again put the ball in the corridor of uncertainty and the unfortunate Jack Whatmough under pressure from Mo Eisa getting the decisive touch over the line……. 2-1 at halftime with the Dons in position for their first ever win away at Wigan.
The second half started like the first with Boateng and Darling both close to extending the lead for the away side. Wigan then asserted control of the game but failed to break down an organised and resolute Dons defence with Warren O’Hora getting in the way of most of the balls into the box in a superb individual performance.
Kasumu was simple with his passes and dealing with anything Wigan threw at him. In fact, their best chance of the half was essentially the last kick of the game when substitute Stephen Humphrys just fired onto the roof of the net. A massive win that keeps us in the play offs ahead of Saturday back at Stadium MK.
Rotherham head to Milton Keynes 8 unbeaten which is no surprise given their past success in League 1 and are quietly taking care of business. Midweek they drew 0-0 with Wycombe in a stop start game after smashing Portsmouth 4-1 last Saturday at the New York Stadium.
Paul Warne and former Dons assistant coach Richie Barker know exactly what it takes to achieve promotion as does their squad. Viktor Johannson is a reliable keeper behind the experienced Richard Wood and Dan Barlaser, although Josh Vickers started between the sticks on Tuesday night with Johannson injured. In defence Kieran Sadler likes to venture forward from left back and midfielder Ollie Rathbone is starting to show his quality that he showed in flashes for Rochdale last season.
Up front fan favourite Michael Smith has 10 goals already and with Freddie Ladapo and a certain Will Grigg at their disposal, goals should not be a problem.
The man in focus is midfield linchpin Ben Wiles. Everything good about Rotherham goes through him. With a superb football brain, a variety of passing and able to contribute with goals from midfield (4 goals and an assist from 13 games) he will certainly be one to keep an eye on and I imagine Kasumu will be the one designated to keep him quiet and stifle his influence on the game. He is also on set piece duty for the Millers, which has been a massive strength for them so far this season.
Predicted Line Up
Watson – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Kasumu – O’Riley – Twine
Parrot – Eisa
It will be interesting how many changes are made from Tuesday and both I’ve predicted would be unfair on both Boateng and Kioso who had solid games, but with fixtures coming thick and fast rotation is necessary, personally I would like to see Parrott more in and around the box in support of Eisa.
I’m predicting another 1-1 draw on Saturday. Expect an honest and competitive game from both sides with not much between them.
I’m going with Mo Eisa to score the goal.