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Rotherham 1 Charlton 4: Five things we learned

Rotherham endured an afternoon from hell as they missed the chance to pull away from the relegation zone, going down 4-1 to Charlton.

The manner of the defeat, not to mention the scoreline, was a harrowing affair and it is one most people will want to forget quickly.

Here's five things we learned from the game.

A wake-up call

An upturn in results over recent weeks and an encouraging transfer window may have led to increased optimism in the Millers camp, but this was a harsh reminder that they are well and truly in a relegation scrap. Charlton were undoubtedly an improved side from the one had shipped 11 goals in their previous two away games but they were still one that had not won since November 21 and everyone will have had this down as a home banker. Perhaps that's where the problem lied and maybe the players also came into the game thinking that. They always say it's the games with teams around you in the table that will define your season, but how important this game will be at the end of the season, only time will tell. They are now out of the relegation zone on goal difference alone and are just one point ahead of Charlton instead of being seven. A damaging day.

Here's your monthly horror show

Whether it was complacency, nerves or an inability to cope with the expectation, the Millers proved that they can never afford a bad day at the office in this division – no matter who the opponent. Neil Redfearn has said from very early on in his reign that the Millers have to be at the top of their game to win in this division and even now that is no different. What does not help is their tendency to have a horror show every four weeks or so and unfortunately all-but one of those horror shows have been against teams around them in the division. MK Dons, Fulham twice, Huddersfield and now Charlton. They can ill-afford many more.

Tearing your hair out

For large parts of the afternoon, the overriding feeling at New York was one of frustration. The other was one of despair! As dangerous as Charlton were on the break, the Millers had enough play and enough of the ball in good areas to be able to get a foothold in the game but they never did. Their play in the final third was well below their best, lacking any quality and it led to some real fist-clenching moments of frustration. Grant Ward running and tripping over. Argh! Jonson Clarke-Harris' penalty. Argh! Endless deliveries into the box straight down Stephen Henderson's throat. Argh! Paul Green's attempt at a dinked ball to nobody in the box. Argh! This was definitely a day to forget.

The panto villains

Of course, the Millers were not the only source of frustration as Charlton and referee Keith Stroud helped with that. The Addicks put in a masterful performance of spoiling, time-wastingn and frustrating and it got the blood boiling. However, Stroud's inability to nip it in the bud early on gave Charlton the green light to carry on. Two-goal striker Simon Makienok, who was troublesome throughout the afternoon, became a particular villain and was lucky not to be sent off. After his booking for an altercation with Kirk Broadfoot, he then goaded the home fans when he scored his second before going in late on Joe Mattock immediately after the restart. Stroud's performance with the whistle only added to the frustration as he was nit-picking, getting clear decisions wrong and making decisions for the linesman. And to think, he is a certain ex-manager's favourite referee.

A nasty old habit returns

Just as we thought the Millers had shirked their habit of conceding on the break (it had been three games after all), they go and do it again, handing Charlton a crucial first-half lead. It was in the 43rd minute when the Addicks broke like lightning down the right and gave Igor Vetokele the easiest of tap-ins – the ninth time this season they have conceded between minutes 40-45 this season and on seven of those occasions it has seen them lose a lead to be drawing or go behind when drawing. In this instance it gave Charlton something to hold on to and not only that, with their speed on the break, it allowed them to become even more dangerous.

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