Date:Saturday March 15 2014
New York Stadium
15 March 2014 3.00pm
Attendance: 8,212 (420 Saddlers)
Incompetent, inept, inefficient, bungling, amateurish about describes what we saw at the New York Stadium this afternoon - the players? Oh, no, no this was the officials that we had to put with. In all my born days I have never seen such an obvious 'away` official - ever. It started when they came out in black kits and Walsall were in very dark kits too (the officials did change at half-time) and it just got worse from there on.
The Millers got about what they deserved when yet another late goal, this time from Nicky Adams, gave them a point against a physical Walsall side. The Millers had a shout for a penalty in the opening minutes of the game when Wes Thomas appeared to be bundled over by Saddlers defender James Chambers in the box but referee Andy Woolmer started how he was to carry on and waved away any claims. A few minutes later a cross from Ben Pringle found Alex Revell but the striker`s header just failed to find the on-rushing Kieran Agard followed on twelve minutes by a shot from Revell outside the box which went high and wide. And it was with Walsall`s first real forage upfield that they opened the scoring when a foul was given for a perfectly good challenge by Lee Frecklington and from the resulting free-kick Adam Chambers picked out Craig Westcarr who in turn found Milan Lalkovic who got in behind the Millers defence and lifted his shot over home 'keeper Adam Collin into the back of the net. Rotherham weren`t having much luck and the visitors were controlling midfield and seemed to have plenty of time on the ball and on the half-hour mark Andy Taylor had a shot but Collin gathered easily enough. At the other end a Pringle free-kick found the head of the hard working Kari Arnason but his shot was blocked by a Saddlers defender while Frecklington`s first shot towards goal went way over the bar. In the final minutes of the half the hosts had a couple of corners but neither troubled former Millers loanee Richard O`Donnell in the visitors` goal.
Rotherham nearly equalised at the start of the second half when a Ben Pringle free-kick found the head of Kari Arnason but the Icelandic couldn`t control his header and it went over the bar. The Millers were starting to have more of the play and when Kieran Agard had a shot which found it`s way back to Lee Frecklington some twenty-yards out the Millers fans were yelling at him to shoot which he did but his effort went over the bar while a long throw from Arnason nearly ended up an own goal when it brushed the top of Andy Butler`s head and was put behind by Andy Taylor. From the resulting corner Frecklington, once again, skied the ball into the Millers fans while Taylor did well to block a goal bound shot from Haris Vuckic, on for West Thomas. Walsall broke clear with Craig Westcarr who floated a perfect ball over for Romaine Sawyers but Adam Collin saw the danger and stood his ground and stopped the ball going past him. On the seventy-third minute Ben Purkiss impeded a run by Pringle and was shown a second yellow card for his troubles which left the visitors down to ten men. The Millers picked up their momentum and were sending everyone forward looking for the equaliser. Revell got on the end of a soft ball from Pringle only to see his shot put behind by Paul Downing on for Milan Lalkovic while Michael O`Connor, on for Richie Smallwood, tested O`Donnell but the 'keeper palmed away to safety and a long throw from Arnason saw O`Donnell punch out but only as far as Nicky Adams, on for Richard Brindley, but the striker couldn`t get his head on the ball properly and it bounced wide. But, as is Rotherham`s way, with a minute left on the clock Agard sent Adams clear and his fierce shot bounced off Taylor onto the bar and with O`Donnell left grasping at thin air it fell into the back of the net to send the majority of the eight thousand two hundred crowd wild. And it could have been more in time added on when Frecklington found himself just outside the box with the ball at his feet but, unfortunately, he couldn`t get any effort behind the shot and O`Donnell collected comfortably.
Did we deserve a point - yes we did. Did we do enough to win - well, no, I don`t think so. There were too many players having an 'off-day` this afternoon - too much ball in the air for me and the midfield made too many errors. But, once again, it is a point and a point earned at the end of the game which proves that we never give up.
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Date:Saturday March 15 2014
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