Late Win For Millers
New York Stadium
20 January 2018 3.00pm
Attendance: 9,129 (1,471 Pompey Fans + 1 bell)
A late Joe Mattock header gave Rotherham United all three points this afternoon against Portsmouth in what was a pretty even game.
The game began with applause as departed fans and former players names scrolled on the big screen before a minutes applause for footballer Cyrille Regis, who suddenly died this week and who made his debut against the Millers for West Brom and for former Millers John McGlashan and Rod Fern who also sadly died last week.
A quiet first few minutes saw the Millers have the first shot on goal on eight minutes after an Anthony Forde free-kick eventually fell to Will Vaulks whose shot was blocked by Dion Donohue followed by a power drive from Kal Naismith up the other end which went just past the upright. A powerful shot from Pompey's Jamal Lowe was well saved by Millers' 'keeper Marek Rodak before Jamie Yates did well for the hosts to win a corner off Matt Clarke. Vaulks tried one of his now famous shots from just outside the box but it went wide before some nice work between David Ball and Josh Emmanuel saw them get the ball to Anthony Forde but he over his his delivery in and it went out of play. On the half-hour mark a Lowe ball found Brett Pitman who headed towards goal but Rodak was well placed to save. The first yellow of the game went to Emmanuel which could have been for dissent or for a tackle minutes before. The best chance of the half went to the hosts after some good work between Vaulks and Ryan Williams saw the ball find Ball who spun and hit it only to see it come off a blue shirt and skim the crossbar for a corner which came to nothing. Donohue tried his luck from twenty-five yards out but a well timed tackle from Vaulks set him off balance and was easy for Rodak to catch.
The Millers came out much quicker in the second half when a deep cross from Joe Mattock found Richie Towell whose shot across goal was claimed by Luke McGee in the Pompey net. A minute later a Forde corner found the head of skipper Richard Wood who put it into a ruck of bodies before it came out to Will Vaulks who smashed the ball forward only to see it blocked and go out to safety. It was all Rotherham who had a number of corners but the Portsmouth defence was holding fast and when a super cross from Forde found David Ball he got in front of his marker but saw his effort go just wide. On a rare occasion when the visitors did go up the other end Matt Kennedy left three men in red shirts for dead only to put his shot over the crossbar. Ryan Williams and Jerry Yates made way for Joe Newell and Michael Smith making his home debut followed by Kenny Jackett making a double substitution of his own with Oliver Hawkins and Connor Ronan coming on for Brett Pitman and Sylvain Deslandes. The Millers subs were soon in the action when a cross from Newell found Smith who saw his shot well blocked by his former team mate Christian Burgess. Some brave defending by Matt Clarke stopped a Smith shot hitting the target which was followed by a counter-attack by the visitors which Forde did brilliantly to stop after running the full length of the pitch, much to the Millers fans delight. Semi Ajayi was in the box when a Forde corner found him but he couldn't get the ball over the line. Jon Taylor came off the subs bench for the hosts replacing Forde. In the final minutes of the ninety Pompey could have stolen the points when Jamal Lowe was allowed too much room and shot from the edge of the area with the ball rising and going just over. As the board went up for three extra minutes Vaulks found himself in room and with the shouts of 'shoot' from three sides of the stadium he did just that but the ball went wide. With two minutes of the three left Newell first put one shoulder down then the other and got just inside the box finding Smith whose superb cross found Mattock at the far post who headed home sending the seven and a half thousand Millers fans wild.
At nil-nil it was a good game this afternoon so to score so late on and get all three points, making it two wins out of two against our former Manager, put the icing on the cake.