Nottingham Forest’s 2-1 defeat to Rotherham United a couple of weeks ago all-but ended their hopes of making the play-offs.
On a day in which a number of other results in the Championship went in their favour, the Reds failed to capitalise. But it was an incident in the second half at the New York Stadium which got all the attention post-match.
Martin O’Neill’s assistant manager, Roy Keane, attempted to block the path of Will Vaulks as he looked to launch another long throw into the penalty area. The Millers had taken the lead in the first half through this avenue, as Michael Smith capitalised on a mix-up in the area.
But Vaulks wasn’t too pleased with Keane’s attempts to block him and shoved him out of the way. There’s no doubt that the incident generated a huge amount of attention on social media after the game.
‘They can’t deal with the long throw’
The 25-year-old midfielder, who has picked up six goals and six assists for Paul Warne’s side this season, has recently opened up about the incident to the Rotherham Advertiser.
He said: “I wasn’t angry. It’s just part of my competitive nature. He might have head-butted an assistant manager if they’d tried to stop him taking a throw!
“He knew exactly what he was doing because when I pushed him he was trying to stand as hard as he could.
“Teams give us a bit of stick, calling us a ‘long-ball team’ and all that, but they can’t deal with the long throw.
“Keane trying to stop me is a back-handed compliment really.”
The Reds named a physical line-up against the Millers. The likes of Yohan Benalouane, Molla Wagué, Saidy Janko and Daryl Murphy were all involved. But this didn’t prevent them from being bullied against the relegation-threatened side.
Whenever the Millers launched the ball into the area, the Reds looked vulnerable. This isn’t a characteristic you’d usually associate with an O’Neill side. But the defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers since have suggested that defensive vulnerability is becoming the norm.