Millers Get First Draw Of Season
21 October 2017 3.00pm
Attendance: 7,471 (608 Millers)
Rotherham United's first draw of the season came at very blustery Kassam Stadium in a game against Oxford that saw six goals, a saved penalty, a shot hit the crossbar and a disallowed goal.
The Millers had a few half-chances in the opening five minutes, the first a shot from some twenty-five yards out from Will Vaulks and the second when Anthony Forde looking to find Kieffer Moore in the box only found the arms of Oxford 'keeper Simon Eastwood. Forde was having quite a lot of space down the left with Eastwood catching a ball under the crossbar and another finding Richie Towell who put the ball over. With ten minutes gone Jack Payne found himself in space and got the ball to James Henry but a timely challenge from Michael Ihiekwe stopping the former Millwall midfielder in his tracks. On the twentieth minute, and a little against the run of play, a lovely floated in ball from Vaulks found Josh Emmanuel who swung a ball into the area which was only half cleared by the home defence and fell into the path of Joe Newell who controlled well on the edge of the box and saw his shot go into the back of the net for his second goal this week. Unfortunately for the visitors their joy didn't last long as just a minute later the O's were level after the Rotherham defence was found sadly lacking and Payne shot the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Former Millers loanee Wes Thomas got the better of Vaulks but put his shot well wide before a lovely cross in from Ricardinho goes across goal without anyone touching it. On the half-hour mark Oxford took the lead for the first time in the game after a Ryan Ledson ball was held up by the wind it fell to Henry who turned and shot towards goal but the small deflection it got from somewhere saw it go past Marek Rodak and into the back of the net. And two minutes later it could have been more when Richardinho got round the back of the Millers defence and the ball appeared to hit Vaulks so when referee Seb Stockbridge blew and pointed to the spot it saw six hundred Millers after his blood. Ledson placed the ball and hit it from the spot but Rodak did very well to guess the right way and dive on the ball. Vaulks saw a yellow for the infringement. Some good work between Newell and Forde saw the ball ending up with Ryan Williams whose effort appeared to have been saved by Eastwood to everyone in the ground but Mr Stockbridge. The Millers had a good shout for a penalty when an Oxford defenders hand rose above everything in the box to knock the ball but Mr Stockbridge further infuriated the travelling fans by ignoring it. At the other end a super save from Rodak from Payne stopped the hosts going further ahead but he couldn't do anything minutes later when a goalmouth scramble ended when Curtis Nelson sent the ball into the net to make it three-one to Oxford. Eastwood did well to come out and punch from a Forde free-kick but when a Vaulks long throw fell at the feet of Williams who gave the O's 'keeper no chance scoring from close range and saw Canice Carroll get a yellow card.
The Millers first chance of the second half came in the opening minutes when a super ball from Ryan Williams fell to Kieffer Moore but eventually went out for a throw which saw the ball fall to Joe Mattock who saw his shot tipped over by Simon Eastwood. Moore turned provider a few minutes later when he set Richie Towell up but the Brighton loanee sent his shot over the crossbar and into the car park behind. At the other end Marek Rodak made a superb save from Jack Payne before Towell did well to stop John Mousinho getting a shot away. A poor challenge on Joe Newell saw Ryan Ledson get a yellow card. Rodak again makes a good save this time from James Henry which was followed by Joe Rothwell replacing Alex Mowatt for the hosts. On sixty-seven minutes the Millers came close to an equaliser when the wind played it's part in the ball finding Kieffer Moore who saw the 'keeper off his line and lobbed him only to see the ball hitting the crossbar and going to safety. The Millers fans were shouting for more of the same and when Richie Towell was replaced by Jon Taylor the tricky winger flew down the pitch and crossed the ball to Josh Emmanuel who put it into the area only for both a shot from Moore, the Williams were stopped before Newell's shot was blocked. At the other end Canice Carroll twice put headers into the box, twice seeing no-one able to connect. With twelve minutes to go Williams picked up the ball and left everyone standing as he went down the wing delivering a superb ball to the feet of Moore who found the net from just eight yards out to give the Millers and equaliser, sending the travelling fans wild. Oxford made a substitution taking off Wes Thomas for Jonathan Obika. With ten minutes to go the Millers thought they were in front again when an Anthony Forde free-kick found the head of Michael Ihiekwe who in turn got the ball to Moore who headed home from close range only for referee Seb Stockbridge to blow for something and disallow the goal. Rodak again made a superb save when the Millers defence were caught napping, not for the first time this afternoon, and Rothwell's got a shot away. In time added on Mattock kicked the ball away which earned him a yellow card followed by Ledson seeing a shot blocked in the dying seconds of the game.
A good point for the Millers this afternoon and a thankful point after a poor first half when the defence looked at sixes and sevens for most of the forty-five minutes.