Captain McShane on a winner in RotherhamOne deft touch on the thigh to control... Another to smash in an 86th-minute winner from a narrow angle in front of the travelling fans.
That’s how it happened for skipper Paul McShane at Rotherham United on Saturday, as he marked a return from injury with a cracking goal – and an important one too, to get the Royals back to winning ways.
It required ice-cool composure not to snatch at the chance – he talked us through his dramatic winner…
“I thought Roy’s shot was going in – but the goalkeeper got a hand to it, and it was dropping,” said McShane after the game. “I thought I’d take a touch and hit it with a volley – and thankfully it went into the roof of the net!
“I knew that it was dropping and I knew not to take it first time – I knew I should take a touch, and it felt nicely for me so I hit it with the volley. It was good that I did take that touch – I think if I’d taken it first time, I’d have hit it out of the stadium!
“It’s always a nice feeling to score a goal – and to score the winner is a bonus. And to get the three points and the clean sheet was the most important thing.
“Looking at the league table, it keeps us in touch with the top six and stops that run of games where we were picking up draws and lost against Aston Villa. It was an important three points today.”
According to the stats, Reading had about 80% of the ball in the first half – but couldn’t find the breakthrough goal. That allowed Rotherham to use their direct and physical approach to carve out chances of their own early after the restart – Omani stopper Ali Al-Habsi made some important contributions to keep the scores level.
His opposite number, Lee Camp, kept out Garath McCleary’s penalty after Joey van den Berg was chopped down in the area… and even when Camp was beaten, the woodwork came to the rescue to deny John Swift from range. But the Royals persevered and eventually claimed the winner.
“I don’t know what it is with us, but we start second halves really bad – and we’ve got to stop that,” continued the Royals skipper. “We’ve spoken about it at half-times before, and now we’re thinking we won’t mention it – but it still happened. We began the second half really poorly – that can’t happen every game.
“We’ve got to give credit to ourselves because we weathered the storm a bit and there were some great saves from Ali Al-Habsi – he kept us in it a couple of times with a save from a header and a couple of one-on-ones. That’s what he’s there for and he’s great at making world-class saves.
“He did that today, and that kept us in the game – and then we went and got the winner. It is really important to weather those storms and stay in the game.”