Last Gasp Goal Gets Millers A Point
2 March 2013 3.00pm
Attendance: 4,983 (302 Millers)
It was a bit like deja vu for the Millers followers to Southend yesterday when a goal in the dying minutes of the game gave their side a point at Roots Hall yesterday afternoon.
This time it was skipper Johnny Mullins who became an instant hero bringing the game to a one-one whereas on Tuesday night it was striker Daniel Nardiello who did exactly the same thing at the New York Stadium against York City.
Rotherham were definitely the stronger side in the first half and played some very pleasing football having the first chance on eight minutes when Ben Pringle, starting his first game since the defeat at Burton, put in a dangerous cross to Nardiello on the back post but the striker saw Paul Smith in the home goal get his fingertips to the ball and tip it over the bar. Three minutes later David Noble tried his luck from distance but Smith held on. At the other end Daniel Mayor`s shot from just outside the box was deflected and from the resulting corner Matthew Lund`s header went wide. On the half-hour mark Kari Arnason`s inch perfect ball found Nardiello but the striker fired wide from eighteen yards out while it was much the same at the other end when Kevan Hurst missed from the same distance. In the final minutes of the half Andy Warrington, in the visiting goal, came to the rescue when Britt Assombalonga, under pressure from Claude Davis, got in a shot only to see the Millers shot stopper make a very good save down low.
The Shrimpers carried that on into the second half and in the opening minute a mis-hit back pass from Davis was jumped on by Bilel Mohsni but with only Warrington to beat he put his shot way over the bar. Minutes later a header from Assombalonga was parried over by Warrington. If the Millers had been on top for the first forty-five minutes it was all backs to the pumps for the second half and when a long throw from Ryan Leonard wasn`t cleared by the visitors defence all Mayor had to do was keep it low but he lifted the ball and it just went over the bar. The Millers had a couple of half-chances the best coming from Michael O`Connor who had a free-kick saved by Smith. But the deadlock was finally broken on seventy-three minutes when Mayor saw Hurst running by him and gave him the ball and the former Scunthorpe midfielder let fly with a stunning twenty-five yard shot leaving Warrington no chance as it flew into the net. And it could have been two-nil minutes later when Ryan Leonard tried a bicycle kick but it flew just wide. In the final minutes of the game the Millers started to push forward and on eighty-eight minutes Noble`s dangerous cross into the box first found the hand of former Miller Ryan Cresswell, then the hand of Mohsni and with Millers fans up in arms shouting for a penalty in the melee that followed Johnny Mullins hit the ball towards Smith who stopped it but following in Mullins bundled the ball into the back of then net to give the Millers a vital point.
It was certainly a game of two halves for me yesterday - in the first half the Millers came out playing like they did against Chesterfield with the ball on the floor and in the second they played like they did against York and the ball was in the air which, in my eyes, was playing right into Southend`s hands. And, how many times have we said 'thank goodness for Johnny Mullins` since his return from his loan spell with Oxford?