Rotherham 2 City 0

THE songs were sarcastic, cutting and straight to the point.

"Sign some players," was the response to Rotherham's opening goal.

"Spend some cash, Edin" came the retort when the home side doubled their lead.

The discontent that has been stewing in the last few weeks surfaced at the New York Stadium last night. Start spreading the news? The fans made it pretty clear what they want from owners Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp in the final week of the transfer window.

Rotherham away has traditionally produced little for the Bantams – four trips to their home since 2012 have still failed to produce a single goal.

This latest stumble in south Yorkshire prolonged a miserable January that cannot end soon enough for City – that's providing they can find those reinforcements that are being sought daily.

It is the first time City have lost four in a row since January 2011 under Peter Taylor. He had also been in charge the last time they won at Rotherham, when James Hanson clinched a last-gasp victory at the Don Valley the season before.

McCall won there in his second year in charge but rarely looked like repeating the trick once Rotherham got their noses in front and exposed his team's fragile confidence.

Despite their January jitters, City are still hanging on to a play-off spot – but there is no room for error any more after Rotherham cut the gap to one point behind them.

What a huge game Wimbledon' visit to Valley Parade on Saturday has now become.

After the weekend flirtation with three central defenders, McCall resorted to a back four against Rotherham's strict 4-4-2 set-up and handed a first start to loanee Callum Guy.

The Derby midfielder, the solitary arrival in the transfer window up to now, was thrust into the right-back role he had played a couple of times at Port Vale last season – including once against the Bantams.

It again highlighted the absence of a specialist in that position, with Tony McMahon still not in contention amid the uncertainty over his future.

At least the return of Adam Chicksen, his first involvement since suffering a serious thigh injury in October, and Adam Thompson gave the City bench its sturdiest look in a while.

McCall was desperate for his side to cut out the soft goals that had seen them go two months without a clean sheet.

But it looked a tall order against a Millers side who had scored in 21 consecutive games dating back to a 2-0 loss to Blackburn at the end of September. As it would prove.

City did have the ball in the net inside five minutes as Marek Rodak palmed in Guy's well-struck cross, only for the assistant's flag to indicate it had gone out of play first.

City immediately had a scare at the other end, David Ball setting up Michael Smith for an inviting header from eight yards, but he put it straight at Rouven Sattelmaier. It was a big let-off.

The early action was predictably fast and frantic but the Bantams sensed some joy against the home back four, Paul Taylor finding room in the box to shoot on the spin at Rodak.

Nicky Law, the other former Miller alongside Taylor, then fizzed a 30-yarder just wide as the Bantams looked to push on.

But their growing momentum was cut short midway through the half as Rotherham broke the deadlock.

Smith made amends for his earlier miss by nodding home from Anthony Forde's whipped free-kick.

McCall looked fuming to see another shut-out opportunity disappear as City conceded for the third time in as many games from a set-piece.

He had talked pre-match about cutting out avoidable goals and the biggest player on the pitch had been allowed a free header after losing marker Timothee Dieng to score.

So it was yet another major test of character for the Bantams, although Taylor quickly engineered a shooting chance which he put over the bar from the edge of the box.

"Sign some players," sung a small section of the away end sarcastically as City's defence began to fray at the edges.

Dieng got forward to target the far corner with a curling shot but it did not bend enough to worry Rodak.

The pitch was in excellent nick compared with the heavy surface at Bristol Rovers. Yet City were struggling to make inroads in midfield and needed to stand strong as Rotherham piled men forward in their hunt for a second before the break.

Boxers Kell Brook and Johnny Nelson were presented to the crowd at half-time but it was the Bantams who needed to find the killer punch from somewhere.

McCall signalled the attacking intent for the resumption by bringing on Shay McCartan for Jake Reeves. Taylor, who needs no invitation to have a pop, began the half with a flurry of attempts to continue his personal duel with Rodak.

The third was a nasty swerver from 18 yards which the Rotherham keeper batted away with some discomfort as the volume kicked up behind that goal.

Then Semi Ajayi and Joe Mattock combined to shut off Charlie Wyke as he looked to be in goal.

But City remained susceptible from crosses and, after Romain Vincelot flicked one across his own goal-mouth, they fell further behind after 57 minutes.

Richie Towell's centre was met inevitably by Smith. Sattelmaier blocked his point-blank header but Joe Newell swooped on the rebound to double Rotherham's advantage.

City were visibly wilting as the Millers sensed blood. McCall threw on Alex Gilliead for the disappointing Vincelot in another bid to launch some kind of fightback.

Then Taylor, the most willing attacking outlet, made way for Dominic Poleon for the final 20 minutes. The departing frontman was applauded enthusiastically at one end, while jeered predictably from the other.

But it was Rotherham looking the only side likely to add to their tally as the Bantams wilted. They also had to see out the closing stages with ten men after Tyrell Robinson limped off and all the substitutes had been used.

The home fans taunted those leaving early from the away end but they had seen enough as Will Vaulks fired inches over from a late free-kick.

Those who had made a quick getaway did miss Sattelmaier with a very good save to deny Jonson Clarke-Harris making it three.

One team, now unbeaten in nine, are on the ascendancy in the play-off race. The other, worryingly, continue to fade fast.

"We are staying up," was the final song of the night. Over the top, maybe, but frustration seems to be everywhere.