Don Valley Stadium
9 August 2011 7.45pm
Attendance: 3,717 (1,342 City fans)
Rotherham United crashed out of the Carling Cup at the first hurdle this evening against a very strong Leicester City side. The Millers took a fully deserved lead into on thirteen minutes but couldn't hold on at a rapidly cooling Don Valley Stadium.
In the opening minutes of the first half it would have been difficult to tell who was the Championship side and who was the League Two side to any neutral in the ground as the Millers played a very natural passing game and, on six minutes, Marcus Marshall made a splendid run down the wing and found Adam Le Fondre in space who put in an inch perfect cross for Ben Pringle. Pringle headed the ball in but Kasper Schmeichel managed to parry the ball behind and, from the resulting corner, Pringle headed just over the bar. The Millers had a lot of possession and were always pushing forward and snatching up any loose ball and on thirteen minutes it paid off. A Michael Ball ball was well blocked and went back over his head which Le Fondre chased onto and, seeing Lewis Grabban in the area, he put in a good cross but Matt Mills got in the way and put the ball into his own net, sending the Millers fans in the crowd wild. Minutes later Le Fondre did well to spin away from Matt Oakley but his shot went wide and five minutes later he saw a overhead kick go narrowly over the bar. On the half-hour mark, Danny Schofield and Le Fondre linked up well, (and not for the first time) and only a brilliant save from Schmeichel and an off-side flag stopped the Millers going further ahead. Lloyd Dyer did well to get his body behind a Ryan Cresswell shot. With the Millers having most of the possession of the first half, it was very disappointing when, ten minutes before half-time, the Foxes were given a free-kick which Martyn Waghorn took and Paul Gallagher met and headed into the net for the equaliser. A few minutes later, Andy Warrington did well to save from Jeffery Schlupp. In the final minutes of the half Gallagher went down in the penalty area from a Michael Raynes challenge, but referee Rushton booked the Foxes striker for diving.
The second half began with Andy Scott making a double substitution and took off wide men, Marcus Marshall and Lewis Grabban and replaced them with Dale Tonge and Chris Holroyd. The Millers began quickly and only a timely intervention from Oakley stopped Pringle reaching a Tonge cross while Jason Taylor had a shot from distance that went way over the crossbar. Disaster struck for the Millers eight minutes in when Schlupp took the ball from Danny Harrison's foot on the half-way line and ran unchallenged into the box where he slipped the ball past Warrington to put the visitors two-one up. Just after the half-hour mark, Schlupp reached a Gallagher cross and headed up his second and his hat-trick came on seventy-one minutes after Warrington had dropped a shot from Gallagher and it fell to Schlupp who rounded the Millers' 'keeper and slotted home much to the delight of the travelling one thousand, three hundred City fans. In the final minutes of the game Warrington did well to keep out a Waghorn shot while, down the other end, Gareth Evans, on for Ben Pringle, had a cross from the edge of the box deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, Schmeichel was on hand to get both hands to a Cresswell header.
Although, with the score saying four-one, I don't think the Millers were that bad today. They definitely had most of the play in the first half and, it was a surprise to a lot of us, how we hadn't gone in three or four up at half-time. But, when you can take off a £1.5m player and sub him with a £2.5m player, you aren't really going to let a team like Rotherham get the better of you!
I actually thought our game went down after the two substitutions at half-time, when the wide men had gone off.
Oh, well, that's that done with for another year - concentrate on the league, the Johnstone's Paint and the FA Cup!