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Rotherham 1 Middlesbrough 0: Five things we learned

Rotherham's quest for survival received a further shot in the arm on Tuesday with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

It was their second successive win against a promotion-chasing side and a third in total - the first time they have managed such a feat at this level since 2003.

Lee Frecklington's late goal earned the points after a Boro barrage in the first half.

Here's five things we learned from the game.

Missed chances cost you!

How refreshing that, for a change, it was actually Rotherham that were the beneficiaries of some wayward finishing. For the majority of their return to the second tier the Millers have been hamstrung by an inability to take their chances and have usually been punished for it. However, the boot was on the other foot on Tuesday as they somehow survived a Boro barrage in the first half where the promotion chasers could easily have been three or four goals to the good. David Nugent was the guilty party with two embarrassing misses while Gaston Ramirez can consider himself unlucky after the post denied him from a superb free-kick while he whistled a second effort just wide. Everyone was scratching their head as to how the Millers were still on parity at half-time, but it was a different story after the break with a very happy ending for the men in red and white as Frecklington struck late on to steal the points.

Millers with the momentum

Pardon the Steve Evansism but as we drove away from Reading a fortnight ago, only the most optimistic of Millers fans could see some light at the end of the tunnel. They had just drifted six points adrift of safety after a flat showing and there was no sign of the Neil Warnock factor coming into effect, having failed to score a goal in his first three games. Fast forward to his next three games and the picture could not be more different as nine points later, the Millers are suddenly within striking distance of safety. Somehow Warnock has galvanised his men and got them believing that safety is a possibility, perhaps even a certainty. There's still work to do as frustratingly nine points from nine has still not been enough to climb out of the bottom three as MK Dons have steadily picked up points, but the outlook is so much brighter. The confidence and the momentum the Millers have can only stand them in good stead.

Lee Frecklington loves an important goal

A promotion-clincher against Aldershot, a winner against Sheffield Wednesday, the effort that secured promotion against Reading – Lee Frecklington certainly knows how to score important goals for Rotherham. And he was at it again against Boro, sealing a win that could turn out to be vital at the end of the season. The midfielder had not been enjoying his most effective game but there was no one else you would have wanted to see arriving in the box late to meet Jonson Clarke-Harris' cut back and the manner of the goal underlies his importance to the side. It is no coincidence that his three games back from injury have resulted in three wins as no other Miller can provide his box-to-box energy and willing. That relentless stamina has allowed him to score five Millers goals after the 85th minute that have affected the scoreline and Tuesday's might just be the most important.

Upsetting the odds

Most people would have needed a stiff drink after reading March's fixtures, but perhaps there was no need for such worry. After all, it's been against the top teams this season that the Millers have produced their best stuff. Indeed, the win against Boro was the sixth against teams currently in the top nine, with Cardiff, Birmingham, Hull, Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday all slayed by the Millers sword. It has been the games against teams at the bottom that have proved problematic. Warnock chuntered "another easy one on Saturday, chuffing Derby" as he walked out of the press room on Tuesday. Secretly, he might just be pleased that another top side lay in wait for his side given their record. Warnock predicted his side could be a coupon-buster this month and so far he's proving to be right.

Scoring first = win!

Rotherham's ability to pick up enough points to secure survival could depend on their power to take the lead in their remaining 10 games. That's because so far this season when they break the deadlock, they go on to win 77 per cent of the time. On the 13 occasions from their 36 games that they have scored first they have managed to convert 10 of them into wins. That highlights just how important it was that they survived Boro's first-half onslaught without conceding as they have yet to win after falling behind in games. One of Neil Redfearn's strongest messages was always the importance of scoring first and if they can continue to do that under Warnock, then things are looking positive.

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