A Northern Away Day: Swansea’s trip to Rotherham

Image Credit: [James Felton]

Sports Editor James Felton gives us his perspective on the Swans visit to South Yorkshire, where Rotherham United stole a late win.

After the summer spent looking forward to Championship away days, I visited Rotherham on Saturday in what was my first ever away game in God’s county, Yorkshire. After two straight wins, and with the home side languishing towards the bottom of the table, to say I had confidence of a win would be an understatement. No game in football is easy however.

I booked my train tickets back in September, knowing full well that I would be going to this match, regardless of dissertation stress and other commitments. What I didn’t know, though, was that there would be a rail strike, just my luck. There were thus no direct trains from Leeds to Rotherham, meaning that I had to pass either Sheffield or Doncaster, or in some cases both, and make a 30 mile journey in nearly 2 hours. I thus decided to make the most of it and spent an hour waiting in Meadowhall shopping centre: as a lad from Swansea, I am not used to such marvellous places. I then met my mate outside the ground, where it was freezing cold. After a traditional pre-match bite to eat, we took our seats. It was an emotional start to the encounter, with a minutes silence being played for the memories of the chairman of Leicester City, his family, the pilots as well as the traditional Remembrance tribute, followed by the Last Post. Some things are much more important than football.

The first half was all Swansea with Dan James’s bursting run and assist to Oli McBurnie’s ice cold finish being the highlight of the first 45. 1-0 at half-time and the game never looked in doubt. The second half, however, was typical of football. Leroy Fer, Dan James and McBurnie all had opportunities to add a second, third or even fourth, but whilst the match stayed at 1-0, Rotherham, however bad they were, were in with a shout.

Two dodgy penalty decisions within five minutes of each other gave the home side the undeserved win. Such are matches in the Championship, one of the most entertaining leagues in the world, that if you don’t take your chances, you pay the price. The journey back, via Sheffield and Doncaster, was nothing special. I spent another hour looking around Meadowhall – I literally spent more time in Sheffield than Rotherham on the weekend.

Derby is next for me in December, before being followed by two more Yorkshire away days – Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday – back to back in February. The Premier League may have been great, but the Championship provides thrilling away days. It’s great to be back.

James Felton