Millers Win To Go Third
1 January 2013 3.00pm
Rotherham United had the perfect start to 2013 with a hard-fought win away from home against Rochdale which sends them third in the league.
The opening ten minutes was a bit of a scrappy affair before the Millers took control of the game and Lee Frecklington had the first shot at goal which was saved by Dale 'keeper Josh Lillis. The Millers then had a couple of corners and free-kicks which mounted to nothing before Phil Edwards cleared a Johnny Mullins header and a header from Kari Arnason hit the underside of the crossbar and with it still bouncing it was cleared to safety by Dale - although according to some Millers players it could well have crossed the line but referee Stuart Attwell was never going to give it. On twenty-eight minutes Frecklington really should have put the Millers ahead when he was one-on-one with Lillis but the 'keeper did well to make a finger-tip save to send the ball wide. And it was from that move that Dale opened the scoring. From the resulting corner Rochdale got the ball away with Joe Rafferty finding Ashley Grimes who left Johnny Mullins for dead and took a shot which lifted over Andy Warrington in the Millers` goal to go into the back of the net. After that it was the home side who were the better team but some stout Millers defending kept it at one-nil going into the break.
Once again the Millers came out brightly for the second half and Ben Pringle did well in the first place to intercept a ball from Lillis to Peter Cavanagh but instead of shooting straight away he seemed to juggle the ball and eventually sent it flying high into the Rochdale fans. The Millers had much of the play without being able to make anything of it and just before the hour mark Courtney Cameron replaced Kieran Agard and straight away started to make runs down the wing. The referee tried to spoil the game with a lot of stopping and starting but when the Millers took off Ben Pringle and put on Alex Revell they started to look much stronger up front and two minutes later were level. An in-swinging cross from Cameron found Revell`s head and he nodded it down into a packed penalty area where a number of players tried to get it over the line before Kayode Odejayi stuck out a leg and stabbed the ball home. On eighty minutes Dale had their first chance of the half when Jason Kennedy, who`d spent most of the first half on his backside, had the chance to put the home side back in front with a header but he sent it just wide of the post with the Millers defence stood watching. Arnason and Mark Bradley did well to block shots not long afterwards but it really only looked like one side was going to score with Millers players suddenly finding their shooting boots and having shots from all over one of which came in time added on when Odejayi found Frecklington after a smart move and with all Millers fans shouting for him to shoot he squared it to Cameron, just outside the area, who did just that with a sweet curling shot that saw the ball hit the back of the net. He threw his shirt off and came running towards the cheering Millers and was then promptly booked for his trouble. In the final minute of injury time Millers fans were nearly stunned into silence when Kennedy was allowed time and space to turn and shoot in the box but Bradley was there to block.
At the hour mark I`d have taken a draw today. There were a few passes going a bit askew and a few shots that perhaps we could have done better with but when we turn on the style we do it with a passion. And I have to say that team never gave up today - they fought for that win and it was very much appreciated by the travelling hundreds.