Rotherham face Brentford on Tuesday in the first of two key games in-hand as the Millers chase Championship survival. Mark O'Haire oversees the encounter.
"With the Bees effectively biding time ahead of the end-of-season play-offs, there’s an opportunity for Rotherham to spring a surprise, particularly if the Millers can find a performance akin to Saturday"
Brentford v Rotherham
Tuesday April 27, 19:00
Brentford climb to third
Brentford substitute Bryan Mbeumo scored the winner just two minutes after coming on as the 10-man Bees held on to beat Championship play-off rivals Bournemouth 1-0 at Dean Court on Saturday. Victory catapulted Thomas Frank's troops above the Cherries into third, although automatic promotion is now no longer a possibility for the West Londoners.
Nevertheless, Frank was delighted with his side's performance, particularly as Brentford made light of defender Pontus Jansson's early second-half red card to end Bournemouth's run of seven straight league wins - and officially book the Bees' play-off place. The winner came on 77 minutes when Ivan Toney's shot was only parried to Mbeumo.
Earlier, the Championship's 29-goal top scorer Toney had a shot cleared off the line before a fine fingertip save thwarted Matthias Jensen as the Bees racked up 18 efforts at goal. But Bournemouth three times carved open the Brentford backline to have men clean through on goal without managing to test visiting goalkeeper David Raya.
Rotherham enraged by the referee
Rotherham's relegation worries worsened after the Millers suffered a 1-0 reverse at South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley on Saturday. The Tykes went ahead in controversial fashion when Carlton Morris headed in but caught United goalkeeper Viktor Johansson with his elbow in challenging for the ball, forcing the Swede off injured with eye-socket damage.
Paul Warne's outfit responded well, with Freddie Ladapo foiled when clean through and Michael Smith seeing a goalbound effort blocked. Chiedozie Ogbene drew another save as the strugglers put the pressure on, winning the shot count 16-7 and forcing nine corners. But Rotherham failed to find a leveller as they slumped to a fourth straight defeat.
And post-match, a fuming Warne vented his anger after watching his survival-chasing side fall victim to a refereeing error for the second time in four days. He said, "We feel like we're against the world and that decision in the second minute reaffirms my belief that everyone wants to see us down. I can't believe we've come away with nothing."
Brentford have enjoyed plenty of supremacy in recent head-to-head duels with Rotherham, taking top honours in seven of the duos past nine league meetings (W7-D0-L2).The Bees have bagged maximum points in each of their last four fixtures when welcoming the Millers to the capital, scoring nine goals in the most recent two tussles here against United.
Brentford 1.548/15 earned an overdue success on Saturday after seeing automatic promotion prospects extinguish following a frustrating period since Valentine's Day (W5-D6-L4). Thomas Frank's team have been held to stalemates in six of their past eight encounters and the Bees' season-long home results suggest there's little value in supporting a home win.
Rotherham 7.206/1 have been beaten in 12 of their past 16 league matches and returned W0-D1-L13 in match-ups with the top-eight. The Millers have been turned over in all six trips to the top-eight and head to the capital without the suspended Matt Crooks and facing a seventh game in 17 days. However, Saturday's encouraging display will instil hope.
Brentford boast four clean sheets in their past five Championship fixtures with only two of the Bees' last 10 crossing the Over 2.5 Goals 1.774/5 barrier. Rotherham's recent outings have also been largely tight affairs with 10 of the Millers' 15 games since early February also featuring a maximum of two strikes, and a repeat of Under 2.5 Goals is available at 2.0621/20.
Considering their position in the Championship standings, Brentford could opt to rest and rotate their squad ahead of the final furlong. With the Bees effectively biding time ahead of the end-of-season play-offs, there's an opportunity for Rotherham to spring a surprise, particularly if the Millers can find a performance akin to Saturday.
Paul Warne's heralded motivational skills will be tested to the max in the coming fortnight but the Rotherham supremo is capable of inspiring a competitive display from the guests. Therefore, supporting Rotherham +2 handicap and Under 3.5 Goals at 1.8810/11 in the Bet Builder could appeal with a raft of correct scores onside.
Indeed, the Millers can win 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1, share a 0-0 or 1-1 stalemate, or even lose 1-0 or 2-1 to secure a pay-out, and that appeals with Brentford potentially easing off.
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