Millers lose in first visit to Broadfield
24 March 2012 3.00pm
Attendance: 2,756 (307 Millers)
The sun shone brightly as Rotherham United made their visit to the Broadfield Stadium yesterday afternoon although, by the end of the game, the clouds were gathering as a three-nil loss has all but put paid to a play-off place for this season.
The Millers started the brighter and Jason Taylor took advantage of a defensive error but, instead of having a shot himself, decided to pass to Ben Pringle whose shot was blocked by Kyle McFadzean. Alex Revell also started lively but his first shot went just wide of the goal with the Reds` 'keeper, Michel Kuipers watching it pass. At the other end, a curling shot from Gary Alexander was pushed away by Millers` 'keeper Rhys Taylor but only as far as Billy Clarke who fired just over the bar. On fifteen minutes Gareth Evans found himself free at the edge of the box and once again McFadzean was on hand to block the shot, though the linesman put his flag up for off-side. Sergio Torres had an opportunity to put the home side in the lead five minutes later when a cross from Clarke missed Dean Howell but fell kindly for the Argentinean but his shot was blocked by his own player, Alexander. The Millers almost took the lead from the counter attack when a Mark Bradley cross found Evans` head and with the ball looking goal bound Davies got back to hack the ball away for a corner and two minutes later Kieron Cadogan put in an inch perfect ball for Revell whose looped effort beat Kuipers but hit the top of the crossbar and went to safety. The Millers were now on top in the game so it was a bitter blow when, just before the interval Alexander was allowed to surge down the wing and his low cross was expertly turned home by Clarke.
Rotherham started the second half brightly enough but six minutes in they were dealt a sucker punch when eight minutes in Jason Taylor was adjudged to have pushed Dannie Bulman over in the penalty area. Up stepped loanee Alexander and firmly placed the ball beyond Rhys Taylor to double the Red Devil's score. Lewis Grabban, on for Evans, put in a fine cross at the other end to Revell but the striker couldn't get the ball over the line. Rhys Taylor made a great double save to try and keep the Millers in the game, firstly from Torres and then from McFadzean but with Crawley taking over the game, I suppose it was inevitable that former Miller Mills would score and he did that when the ball fell to him from a corner kick - and good on him that his celebrations were rather muted, showing respect for his former employees. With the visitors finding it difficult to get past Crawley's defence substitute Sam Hoskins, on loan from Southampton, had a chance when he got hold of a loose ball but he blasted his effort well over and then a late free kick from Ben Pringle fell to Revell but Kuipers easily tipped it over the bar to keep a clean sheet.
I'm not sure how we didn't go into the half-time break with at least two goals but, once again, we failed to carry that on into the next forty-five minutes. The loss leaves us still in tenth but now nine points behind Oxford who are in the last position of the play-off places. Too much of a mountain to climb - well, yes, I think so.