Three out of Three for the Millers
Alexandra Stadium (Gresty Road)
16 August 2011 7.45pm
Attendance: 3,458 (520 Millers)
Rotherham United fans came away from Gresty Road probably wondering how they had ended up with all three points after a very spirited second half from a young Crewe Alexandra side last night.
The Millers started well and if Danny Harrison`s shot had kept a bit lower he would have made it one-nil in the opening minutes. Gareth Evans then capitalised on a slip by Luke Murphy but, as he tried to run free, was pressurised to put the ball wide. Twice then Alex` captain, Lee Bell, got himself clear in the area but his first shot went wide and Conrad Logan, in the Millers` goal got down well to save. The visitors then started to pile on the pressure and on fifteen minutes Lewis Grabban did well to get himself in space and put in a near perfect cross to Adam Le Fondre on the edge of the six yard box and the diminutive striker nodded his third goal of the season to make it one-nil. And he could have made it two when he received a low ball from Danny Schofield but Carl Martin was on hand for the home side to slide in and put the ball over for a corner. It was the half-hour mark before Crewe had another shot when Logan did well to get to a shot from Bell and turn it round the corner and a few minutes later a free-kick from Bell went straight into Logan`s arms. In the final minutes of an entertaining half, Le Fondre turned with the ball some twenty-five yards out and curled it towards goal but Steve Phillips flung himself at it and put it over the bar and, from the resulting corner, Ajay Leitch-Smith did well to get the ball off the line from a Ryan Cresswell header.
Crewe came out for the second half looking fired up and Logan made a double save from Leitch-Smith before a goalmouth scramble saw Shaun Miller fire wide and minutes later Luke Murphy saw his shot hit Cresswell`s chest and the rebound fell to former Miller David Artell but he could only shoot wide. With the home side well on top Bell got in a good ball to Byron Moore but he volleyed wide and Leitch-Smith seemed to lose his footing when he had a shot that went well over the bar. The Millers first chance of the half came on the hour mark when Dale Tonge crossed the ball to Danny Harrison but he headed wide and then a low shot from Danny Schofield was well held by Phillips. Miller was the next to try his luck against Logan as he ran unopposed into the area but his shot was superbly saved by the Millers` 'keeper. Then out of the blue Ben Pringle, on for Lewis Grabban, dispossessed Ashley Westwood in the Crewe half, darted to the edge of the area and let fly a strong shot that went past Phillips and into the back of the net to make it two-nil to the Millers. But just two minutes later Crewe were back in the game when a clever run from Murphy found Moore in space and his shot sailed through a crowded penalty area and into the bottom corner of the net. With the last ten minutes of the game being played in Rotherham`s half Logan kept the visitors in it when he palmed away a shot from Ashley Westwood and scrambled away the follow-up from Miller before a Murphy shot sailed across the face of goal with no one around to stick out a foot and put it in the net.
Phew! It was an exciting game and although the Millers looked tired towards the end the defence held out and it`s now three games out of three won in the league.
ADAM LE FONDRE