Not much comes easy when you are trying to fight it out with the Championship's parachute regiment on Rotherham United's tight budget.
No one is especially surprised to see the Millers stuck in the bottom three at this stage of the season, but no one should take it for granted that they will end up there. This is not a team that will feel sorry for itself, or roll over for anyone – certainly not on their own turf.
At home to Coventry City, the Millers were down to their only two fit centre-backs and, for no means the first time this season, unable to name a full bench. When Georgie Kelly was called from his warm-up to add a bit more attacking oomph, one of those central defenders, Lee Peltier, immediately went down injured, his game over, and the striker was told to sit back down.
But Rotherham have a spirit, a terrific goalkeeper and for 77 minutes at least, they had Peltier, a defender they can always rely on if they can just get him on the pitch. Thanks to him, they ended the night with only their second league win of the season.
Peltier made four crucial interventions but it was the one at Coventry's end which transformed his team, prompting perhaps some of their best football this season.
Although Rotherham had shown more intent at the start of the second half than they ever did in a subdued first, Peltier running to the near post to head in a Cafu corner, it sparked the home team into life.
Right-back Dexter Lembikisa produced a lovely bit of skill on the wing which deserved better than Jordan Hugill heading his cross wide and left-back Cohen Bramall nutmegged hi man creating an Ollie Rathbone chance Ben Wilson did well to tip over, his second good save from the the midfielder.
Hugill had a shot deflected and another wide on the turn, Christ Tiehi glided through the midfield and got on the end of the Hugill cross he teed up, only to head it wide. Fred Onyedinma allowed Wilson to make another save after being played in, all in a stirring 20-minute spell.
You worried if Rotherham might regret not doubling their lead – particularly as Viktor Johansson made two excellent saves and Peltier the third of his vital last-ditch tackles but they were just teasing us.
With Hakeem Odoffin holding the fort as an emergency centre-back, Kelly – brought on 10 minutes late – chested down a deep cross in the fourth added minute for Rathbone to thump in on the volley for a huge 2-0 win.
It felt just reward for the second half. And even though the first had belonged to Mark Robins' Sky Blues Rotherhham had its only copper-bottomed chance.
Hugill teed up a lovely cross for Onyedinma running to the near post in the 21st minute but the winger headed wide.
That was a bit of an outlier in Rotherham's play because they did not get enough crosses in, making Lembikisa and Rathbone's centres as the interval approached particularly frustrating – the former's even more so because he had plucked a pass from the latter out of the air so beautifully.
When Cafu served up a lovely curling free-kick 10 minutes in, no one in red anticipated it.
Most of Rotherham's best work came down the right with their struggles to pick out Arvin Appiah on the left giving him little chance to shine on his first Championship start.
Coventry were just as wasteful, Johansson's only noteworthy first-half save came from Ellis Simms after centre-back Kyle McFadzean, up for a corner, fizzed the ball over from the left.
Peltier and his fellow centre-back Sean Morrison made vital tackles – one at the start of the half, one in the middle and one at the end from Morrison – but Josh Eccles and Ben Sheaf had chances to work the goalkeeper and failed to.
It allowed Rotherham to hang in the game until Peltier perked them up – a very likely hero for the Millers, just not in the way he turned out to be.
Rotherham United: Johansson; Lembikisa, Peltier (Odoffin 77), Morrison, Bramall; Cafu (Clucas 87), Tiehi, Rathbone; Onyedinma, Hugill (Kelly 87), Appiah (Revan 60).
Unused substitutes: Phillips, Eaves, Nombe, McGuckin.
Coventry City: Wilson; Latibeaudiere (O'Hare 76), McFadzean (Thomas 76), Binks; van Ewijk, Eccles, Sheaf, Dasilva; Ayari (Sakamoto 76); Godden (Wright 65), Simms.
Unused substitutes: Kitching, Bidwell, Collins, Lusala, Obikwu.
Referee: L Smith (Wigan)