Millers Start December With Away Defeat
2 December 2017 3.00pm
Attendance: 7,531 (226 Millers)
Rotherham United came away from the Memorial Ground with nothing yesterday afternoon despite Ryan Williams putting them ahead on the fifty-sixth minute.
It was a scrappy first half although the Millers probably had the better of it when a ball slid into the box from Joe Newell was hacked away by a Rovers defender before it could reach a black shirted Millers player. A couple of corners for the visitors came to nothing before another super cross in from Newell was just that bit far for Ryan Williams to get his toe to but found Kieffer Moore who took an extra touch which gave the hosts defence time to sort themselves out and stop the Millers top striker getting a shot away. Adam Smith in Rovers' goal got to a Williams cross before Moore before the hosts really should have gone in front on fifteen minutes when the Millers defence was found lacking leaving Billy Bodin in acres of space but he saw his header go over from close range. Crosses in from Newell at the other end were firstly saved by Smith then put behind for a corner by Lee Brown. The Millers lost influential midfielder Darren Potter to injury on the twenty-third minute being replaced by Will Vaulks. Smith did well to tip a cross from Newell over the bar with the resulting corner met by Moore who saw his header go just over. A scary moment for Marek Rodak saw a goal kick almost taken off his feet by Ellis Harrison but he got away with it which was followed by the first yellow of the afternoon going to Ollie Clarke for a poor challenge on Vaulks. From the resulting free-kick Vaulks received the ball on the edge of the area and took aim but his shot went way over the crossbar. At the other end Bodin's chance from a free-kick went wide before some nice work from Daniel Leadbitter saw him get the ball into Liam Sercombe who perhaps should have done better but put his shot wide. A minute later Rodak did well to get down to a shot from Bodin. With a minute to go to the halfway mark Rovers had a claim for a penalty when the ball appeared to hit Michael Ihiekwe but referee Brett Huxtable waved away any protests.
Rovers came out the better in the second half and Semi Ajayi had to be on his toes to block shots from Ollie Clarke before Marek Rodak came into his own pulling off a good save from a shot from distance from Tom Lockyer. A good block from Michael Ihiekwe from Liam Sercombe was followed by a shot from Daniel Leadbitter which Ihiekwe initially blocked before Will Vaulks hooked it to safety. With backs-to-the-wall defending from Rotherham it was a bit against run of play when a ball fell just right for Joe Newell who sent the ball upfield initially for Kieffer Moore but when it fell to Ryan Williams just outside the box he didn't think twice and shot low seeing the ball fly into the bottom corner of the net, sending the two hundred and twenty-six visiting Millers wild. At the other end Rodak did his bit getting his hands to a cross from Lee Brown despite being surrounded by blue and white shirts. Rovers made a double substitution with Rory Gaffney and Chris Lines coming on for Ollie Clarke and Joe Parrington. The hosts got back into the game on sixty-four minutes after a number of corners one paid off when Lines got the ball into the box and Rodak could only punch it at far as Leadbitter who got it back into the box and with the Millers defence looking like rabbits in headlights Ellis Harrison pounced and put the ball into the net from close range. Minutes later Rodak did well to claim a ball in from Leadbitter before a superb shot from Billy Bodin from thirty-five yards out dipped just over the bar. It wasn't much of a surprise when Rovers took the lead on seventy-four minutes after Harrison put the ball into the box and Sercombe claimed it to put the ball past the Millers' 'keeper to make it two-one. The Millers had an appeal for a penalty turned down after Lee Frecklington went down under a challenge in the area and a minute later probably should have equalised after a super cross from Newell went across goal with no-one there to put a toe to it. Rotherham had to play the final ten minutes with ten men after Kieffer Moore and Lee Brown had a coming together off the ball with Moore seeing red. Rovers' Adam Smith was booked for a poor challenge on Frecklington with the resulting free-kick ending up with Vaulks who won a corner while Ryan Sweeney saw yellow. Paul Warne threw on Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jerry Yates up front fetching off Shaun Cummings and David Ball. Ihiekwe had the chance to level after more good work from Newell but he headed over. Rovers final substitution saw Tom Nichols replace Ellis Harrison. In time added on Clarke-Harris tried his luck from thirty yards out while the Millers defence did well to keep Nichols out in the dying seconds.
Another game which sees the Millers defence at sixes-and-sevens for the opposition goals - what are the management going to do about it?