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League One

Steve Evans joy as Rotherham United leave it late

22 February 2014

Rotherham United boss Steve Evans said his half-time team talk did the trick after his side's last-gasp 2-1 win at Carlisle United kept them in the play-off hunt.

The Millers did their promotion chances a big favour with a late winner from top goalscorer Kieran Agard after Carlisle looked to have battled their way to a draw.

But it was a game of missed chances, and Evans said: "We were dominant and must have had 80 per cent of the possession.

"We could have been four or five up by half-time.

"Instead we turned round level and it's one of the few times I have had to get into them a bit because we needed more quality.

"Only the referee knows why we didn't get three penalties, but it's a great win and it came down to Kieran's instinct in the six-yard box.

"It was a fantastic cross and Kieran did the hardest part in football, getting across the defender and putting the ball in."

Ironically Evans had considered leaving Agard out of the starting line-up.

He said: "There was a big question over whether to start Kieran."

Wes Thomas scored the Millers' first goal, which Lee Miller cancelled out, but Evans said: "He will be disappointed with himself.

"He should have had a hat-trick in the first 25 minutes, but he went after that third chance and showed desire to get there and touch it on then pass it into the goal from 25 yards.

"It shows what a good player he is and part of a fantastic group."

Rotherham were completing a seven-game unbeaten run, and Evans added: "I believe there is much more to come from us."

The Millers boss had some encouraging words for beaten Carlisle manager Graham Kavanagh.

He said: "Kav has real tenacity and fighting spirit in that team and when he gets the chance to bring in his own players they will be a club to challenge next year."

Kavanagh admitted that some of his players were showing signs of fatigue.

He said: "We were nowhere near as good as we needed to be.

"It was a sublime goal by Lee Miller that got us back into it and I felt we were the better team in the second half without a cutting edge and when you are down things don't go for you.

"We switched off and the late goal caught us napping while the first goal was a comedy of errors.

"I take the blame because I have told [goalkeeper] Jordan [Pickford] to be aggressive and come for the ball, but it didn't work out for him."

Thomas gave Rotherham the lead in the 24th minute, profiting after Pickford had rushed out of his area to try and head clear.

Miller's overhead kick enabled Carlisle to draw level in first half added time, but Agard struck decisively just before the final whistle, flicking home his 16th goal of the season from Alex Revell's cross.

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