"Tha's lost it Wetherall!" boomed the well-fed gentleman from south Yorkshire.

City's skipper, positioned just a few yards away on the halfway line, smiled back politely.

David Wetherall didn't need to say anything because actions speak far louder than words.

And the big defender answered everything thrown at him - whether it was crosses flying in from the Rotherham flanks or flak from their vocal supporters.

Millmoor will never feature at the top of "must see" football stadia. The complete absence of a main stand while much-needed ground rebuilding takes place makes it even less welcoming than usual.

In football terms, the corny phrase "stand up and be counted" was coined for places like this.

Not that Rotherham's home has been much of a fortress in recent times. Last season was so awful that you have to go back to May 1, 2004 for the last time they actually won at home on a Saturday.

With Ronnie Moore ensconced at Oldham and

several of his former players following him, this is a new-look Rotherham side. Mick Harford has brought in seven new faces and the club are changing as much on the field as off it.

Like City a year ago, they are a team in transition following relegation. But that doesn't make them an easy touch.

Harford's Rotherham get the ball down and play more than the traditional Moore model - and they gave City the run-around for long patches.

Colin Todd admitted afterwards that it had been the toughest game of the campaign so far.

But the fact City emerged with a point - which could so nearly have become all three - shows the mettle of the side he is forging.

Nobody expected a glorious encore from the MK Dons game. But equally, few expected the visitors to face such a bombardment.

And yet the City keepers, yes that's plural, had few shots to save as the likes of Wetherall and Mark Bower dealt with everything.

Rotherham used the first-half slope to win corner after corner - without penetrating the wall of resistance.

The home side must have wondered if City's new silver kit was forged in steel as every cross seemed to bounce clear of a visiting body - usually those of the two pillars of strength in the middle of defence.

City had an early escape when Jamal Campbell-Ryce, hobbling from an early knock, summoned up the energy to smash a low cross into the side-netting.

But Donovan Ricketts had not had to make a save when his afternoon ended prematurely after 24


Andrew Taylor's backpass was underhit, forcing the keeper to charge out and meet fellow Jamaican international Deon Burton head-on. Ricketts got their first but injured his leg in the clash and after a long spell of treatment was unable to carry on.

Russell Howarth appeared for his debut and the substitute keeper saved well to deny John Mullin and then got both hands to Michael Keane's fizzing free-kick to brilliantly palm it away from the top corner.

City's only other fright followed Ben Muirhead's penalty-box challenge on Scott Minto. The Rotherham defender was convinced he had won a spot-kick but referee Chris Foy was unimpressed.

Todd began the second half without Bobby Petta, who had seen little of the ball. Lee Crooks replaced him for his first action of the campaign, allowing Bridge-Wilkinson to switch to the left flank. It was a move that would pay dividends. Windass forced a first decent save out of Cutler within two minutes before Crooks bravely denied Burton as he prepared to pull the trigger.

Cutler again denied Windass, who looked to have picked out the perfect spot with his header, while Martin Butler was just off target at the other end.

But City's resistance was broken with ten minutes to go - and they were seething about it.

Taylor was smashed in the stomach by Minto's free-kick and was still down in a heap as Shaun Barker's long pass picked out Burton. The fact he was on his own in the exact position which the left back should have been occupying incensed the visitors.

Burton buried the opportunity and referee Foy was surrounded by angry silver shirts.

In the first half, a promising opportunity for the visitors just outside the box had been held up when a Rotherham player went down. And when the ball was returned, City had to begin the move again 40 yards further back.

City felt that a similar situation was now being brushed aside.

Todd was more philosophical after the game - his mood no doubt helped by City's instant equaliser.

The City boss admitted: "You could say the referee was at fault for their goal but he handled the game very well. When there have been injuries he has blown straight away. We had an injured player in the box and it's up to us to assess the situation. But we came pushing out and Burton punished us."

City's response was superb and within three minutes they were back on terms with a carbon copy of the season's opening strike at Hartlepool.

Bridge-Wilkinson was so much more of a threat on the left and had gone close to putting City in front with two efforts. The second he screwed so much that it nearly turned into the perfect cross for Windass, who was barely an inch a way from diverting it inside the far post.

But the same combination got it right to silence the home fans with the equaliser.

Bridge-Wilkinson drifted in a teasing cross, Cutler delayed in coming for it and Windass, who had peeled away from his marker, was there a fraction quicker to guide the header across him and - after what seemed like an age - into the far corner of the net.

Windass went wild in front of the away fans and went into his new celebration dance - and was promptly booked in an act of sour-faced officialdom.

With seven minutes left, City suddenly sensed they could turn one point into three.

Taylor arced a volley over, then Bridge-Wilkinson teased his way round David Worrell before clipping the outside of the post. And Windass was denied a second by a fine close-range block from Cutler.

But that was nothing on the save that Tom Kearney pulled off in stoppage time. The recalled midfielder, back in after Steve Schumacher was ruled out with a hamstring pull, showed his worth by foiling Mullin's goal-bound header - with his face.

"It's given us one or two grey areas to think about but it was certainly a point gained and a good point," said Todd.