Rotherham missed out on a golden chance to ease their Championship relegation worries after being held to a 1-1 draw at Fulham.
Having taken a fourth-minute lead through Matt Derbyshire, the Millers created and missed a host of chances to put the game to bed in a dominant first half which had the Craven Cottage faithful calling for Kit Symons’ head.
Derbyshire, Kirk Broadfoot and Danny Ward were all guilty of spurning glaring opportunities and they were made to pay as Ross McCormack struck a second-half leveller that the Cottagers barely deserved.
It means Rotherham, who are faced with the stark possibility of a points deduction after being charged by the Football League for fielding an ineligible player, wasted the chance to move seven points clear of Millwall, who have a game in hand.
Instead, the gap is five points – leaving them still deep in the relegation mix – while Fulham are only a point better off and desperate for the end of the season.
It looked like it would be the Millers’ night as they made the dream start by taking the lead after only four minutes.
Derbyshire had already had two chances by the time he stabbed home from a Ben Pringle corner after Fulham failed to clear.
The Cottagers have had no problems scoring goals and they almost levelled when Matt Smith’s hooked effort was headed on to the bar by defender Jack Hunt.
But it is at the other end where their issues have been and Rotherham would have had the game sewn up by the half-hour mark had it not been for goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.
First he kept out Broadfoot’s point-blank header from another corner and then produced a fine block to deny Derbyshire when the striker was through on goal.
The visitors were creating chances every time they went forward and Ward missed the best of the lot when he rolled wide from 12 yards with the goal at his mercy before Bettinelli made a fine save to tip Broadfoot’s shot on to the post.
Fulham, who finally tested Millers keeper Emi Martinez when Bryan Ruiz was denied by a good save before half-time, did not have to do much to improve after the break and came out with more intent.
And they punished Rotherham for their glut of missed first-half chances with their first real opportunity of the half in the 67th minute as McCormack bundled home from Scott Parker’s touch.
It was the £11 million man’s 16th goal of the season and he almost set up a second 12 minutes later as he latched on to Danny Guthrie’s raking ball to send in a superb cross which Tim Hoogland sent flying over at the far post.
Rotherham finished the stronger but they were unable to create the fashion of opportunities they did in the first half and were left ruing what could have been.
Fulham: Bettinelli, Richards, Turner, Burn, Husband, Parker, Guthrie, Tunnicliffe (Hoogland 54), Ruiz,McCormack, Smith.
Subs Not Used: Kiraly, Stafylidis, Hutchinson, Woodrow, Rodallega, Kavanagh.
Goal: McCormack 67 (right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott Parker).
Booked: Guthrie (54,f), Burn (81,hb), Turner (86,f).
Rotherham: Martinez, Hunt, Morgan, Broadfoot, Lafferty, Smallwood, Arnason, Ward, Frecklington, Pringle, Derbyshire.
Subs Not Used: Wood, Bowery, Green, Milsom, Collin, Hammill, Wilson.
Goal: Derbyshire 4.
Ref: Andy Davies (Hampshire).