Le Fondre Brace Sinks Imps
Don Valley Stadium
24 November 2009 7.45pm
Rotherham have moved up into the automatic promotion places after a brace by leading scorer Adam Le Fondre gave them a two-nil victory over Lincoln City this evening.
The lowest league crowd of the season didn't really have too much to entertain them as the game was a scrappy affair. The Millers first real chance came on ten minutes when new boy Adam Rundle, on loan from Rochdale, put in a cross that was sliced across his own goal by Janos Kovacs and went out for a corner. Kevin Ellison took the corner and Robert Burch in Lincoln's goal punched it away to safety. Andy Warrington was rarely troubled in the Millers goal although he put a shot by Shane Clarke out for a corner and some minutes later saved from Richard Butcher. At the other end Ellison headed wide and a Nicky Law corner was once again punched away by Burch. Just after the half-hour mark, Le Fondre put in a good ball for Ellison which brought off an equally good save from Burch and from the resulting corner Burch made another fine save at the feet of Nick Fenton. The Millers first goal came about from a City corner when American Lichaj fired a shot that was deflected for the corner and when it was taken it fell to Fenton who played a long ball out and Le Fondre got on the end of it. He wrong footed the Imps defender and running forward thundered the ball into the roof of the net which had the Millers fans up and shouting 'Alfee Alfee'. Straight away the visitors nearly got an equaliser when Khano Smith got past two Millers defenders but saw his shot come off a Millers player to go for a corner. From the corner, Kerr got the ball some twenty-five yards out but saw Warrington get his fingertips to the shot and put it over the bar. Le Fondre nearly got another for the home side just before half-time when another long ball saw him bear down on the Imps goal but Burch made a good save and tipped the ball away to safety. The last action of the first half was an Ellison free-kick that went straight at Burch.
The start of the second half saw sweeping rain accompany the already strong swirling wind and it was Lincoln who began the better when a Michael Gordon ball into the box just evaded ex Miller Jamie Clarke and Smith fired wide. At the other end Ian Sharps had a header that went well over the bar and an Ellison corner was well cleared by Lichaj. No one seemed to be able to get a shot on target although the visitors did seem to be a bit quicker to the ball when Rene Howe replaced Smith. Lichaj saw a throw-in well punched away by Warrington while Kerr saw a shot from inside the area go just wide and a minute later a shot by Cian Hughton was blocked. With fifteen minutes to go, Howe seemed to stand on the ball instead of shooting and Shane Clarke was denied by the Millers defence. With eight minutes to go Le Fondre scored, what was described by local radio commentators, as 'the best goal you will see in League Two this season.' An inch perfect cross from the tireless Tom Pope was met by Le Fondre who fired home from twelve yards out with a spectacular bicycle kick to get the home fans on their feet again. In the final minutes, with the rain lashing down, Kovac upended Le Fondre in the penalty area only for the striker to pick himself up, take the resulting penalty and hit the ball wide of the goal. Jamie Clarke should have got a consolation for the Imps when he shot harmlessly wide with the final kick of the game.
Neither side played flowing football tonight but the dreadful weather conditions didn't help. I think, perhaps, the Millers just shaded the game and Alfie's goals are certainly worth watching on any highlight show.