Millers Still Unbeaten
Banks (Bescot) Stadium
21 September 2013 3.00pm
Attendance: 5,002 (828 Millers)
Rotherham United continued their unbeaten league run this afternoon at the Bescot Stadium with a one-all draw with Walsall, though, I think most of us who were there think it should have been so much more.
Starting the brighter the Millers took the game to the hosts but the first thing of note was when Romaine Sawyer clattered into Richard Brindley leaving the defender out cold on the floor although after treatment he did carry on. Minutes later a loose ball fell to Ben Pringle but his shot was blocked by Paul Downing and from the resulting corner Kari Arnason had a good chance to open the scoring but he couldn't quite control the ball and headed over. Minutes later Daniel Nardiello found the lively Kieran Agard with a good pass but six foot defender Andy Butler blocked his shot. But it was no surprise on twenty-one minutes when the Millers took the lead. The move started with Agard who sent the ball to Lee Frecklington who floated the ball to Alex Revell and his perfect header found the head of Nardiello who put the ball across former Owls 'keeper Richard O'Donnell and into the net to send the travelling eight hundred and twenty travelling fans wild. Minutes later the Saddlers could have been level when James Baxendale put a good chance over the bar from six yards out. Just before the half-hour mark Brindley, still suffering from the effects of the earlier injury, had to go off and former Walsall player Mark Bradley replaced him. On thirty-three minutes from a corner a Millers defender cleared but only as far as Sam Mantom and he struck the ball through a ruck of players and although it looked like Millers 'keeper Scott Shearer had the ball it flew through his hands and skipped into the net for the equaliser. I think it's fair to say that for the rest of the half the Millers were second best and had to defend solidly. Although the visitors had two chances in the last minutes when firstly an effort from Pringle forced a good save from O'Donnell from twenty yards out and Rob Milsom had an effort which went over.
The second half started a bit dull with the first excitement coming when Revell glanced on a ball for Nardiello who got in front of Butler who clearly tripped the Millers striker in the box - well clearly to everyone except referee Atwell and his linesman - but the result was 'no pen' which outraged all Millers in the crowd. Minutes later Pringle brought off a good save from O'Donnell and at the other end Mantom shot just wide from some twenty yards out. Alex Revell was the next Millers player to end up flattened when a long ball from Scott Shearer was thumped back hard by Butler and smashed the Millers striker in the face. After running repairs Revell was back on his feet but with ten minutes to go was replaced by Matt Tubbs to a standing Millers ovation. Nardiello had another chance at goal but O'Donnell punched his header away while returning skipper Craig Morgan had to be on his toes at the other end to deny Craig Westcarr. In time added on the home side pushed for a winner but when the ball fell to Westcarr he fired over the bar which brought a sigh of relief from the Millers following.
A bit of a strange game. We started well and scored but after the Saddlers got an equaliser the game went really flat until the penalty appeal. But, really, the Millers should have been more in front before that. And, to be fair, I said going into the ground a draw would be a good result but it feels like we lost.