Sweet smell of promotion

Thursday 21st February 2013 18:12

Steve Evans: Set to take Rotherham into League One

Steve Evans: Set to take Rotherham into League One

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In the wake of Rotherham's midweek win at Bristol Rovers, FanZoner Niall Geoghegan is confidently predicting promotion for the Millers.

As the final whistle blew at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night and the Millers defeated Bristol Rovers by two goals to one, for the triumphant travelling 334 Millers fans there was a scent of something in the air.

Relief? Sure, to a degree. Not for the first time this season, we had made hard work of what should have been a comfortable finish, allowing the hosts back into the game from out of nowhere with ten minutes left to set up a tense and nervy conclusion.

Pride? Undoubtedly. Nothing beats a battling display on a cold Tuesday night hundreds of miles from home, and only a look at the league's form table could emphasise the sheer magnitude of this victory. But that lingering scent was the scent of something more fulfilling; a mix of excitable hope and assured belief, like the feeling of asking a girl out whilst knowing she is about to say yes. It was something which went beyond the regular immediate post-match ecstasy of earning a hard-fought three points. It was the smell of promotion.

Going into this campaign as title favourites, it has been - as promised by the manager - a rollercoaster season in our glorious new home. The euphoric highs of a 4-0 win against Bradford and cup victories against Stevenage and Notts County have had us lauding the side's attacking prowess and the undoubted talented we possess.

But our expectations have constantly been tempered by untimely and often bizarrely shambolic displays, shedding five and six at Dagenham and Port Vale respectively whilst being beaten (and in the latter two cases, comprehensively outplayed) in our own backyard by then-strugglers Wycombe, Barnet and Bristol Rovers.

But Tuesday's gutsy win down in the south west was our fourth win in five games and our sixth away victory in seven, whilst coming on the back of a marvellous derby display in front of over 11,000 fans against Chesterfield in which we utterly dominated proceedings.

While always remaining cautious in our optimism, even the more glass-half-empty Millers seem to possess that sneaky feeling that it's all coming together at the right time and it is finally going to be our year. Since returning to the basement division in 2007, there has not been a single season where we haven't flirted with the idea of promotion in some capacity, whether it be a brief and ambitious notion of being able to scrape a play-off place when we started with a 17 point handicap or succumbing to plucky Dagenham in a galling day out at Wembley in 2010.

But this year feels different, and it probably has a lot to do with our dream of moving back home to Rotherham in a state-of-the-art stadium realised. Can two of our dreams come to fruition in the same season?

I think so. With Port Vale and Gillingham stumbling and the rest of the promotion pack all frighteningly inconsistent, I can't see there being three clubs standing in our way.

It smelled like promotion on Tuesday night because promotion is waiting around the corner. We're going up.

By Niall Geoghegan, FanZone's Rotherham blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @niall_m91 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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