ROTHERHAM UNITED earned their first away point of the campaign following a hard-fought draw at high-flying Charlton Athletic.
Farrend Rawson’s first goal for the club put the Millers’ in charge at the interval and the game swung on a vital sixty seconds when Tony Andreu’s point-blank header was superbly kept out by Nick Pope just moments before Patrick Bauer levelled matters for the hosts.
Following the international break, the Millers reshuffled the pack for the trip to the capital as Lee Camp was handed his Rotherham debut between the sticks following his deadline day move from Bournemouth.
Derby loanee Rawson was given a starting berth at the heart of the Millers’ rearguard for his second debut at the club while Joe Mattock shrugged off a foot injury to take his place in the left-back slot.
New skipper Lee Frecklington took his place in the visitors’ engine room while Norwich loan pair Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe and Andreu were thrown immediately into the fray for their Millers’ debuts.
The home side had the first sight of goal when Tony Watt’s mazy dribble had the Millers on the backfoot and the ball fell kindly into the path of Johann Gudmundsson, who fired a snap shot from the edge of the box which was smothered by the body of Camp.
Moments later, fine one-touch passing involving Chris Solly and Gudmundsson saw Jordan Cousins show fleet of foot to evade the attentions of Rawson to advance menacingly into the box before toe-poking an effort which was smartly parried to safety by Camp.
The Rotherham stopper was in the thick of the action and he came to the visitors’ rescue when Alou Diarra’s floated ball was flicked on into the path of Cousins, who struck a rising effort which was arrowing into the roof of the net until Camp’s late intervention with an acrobatic save.
In the Millers’ first foray of note, Jonson Clarke-Harris emerged from a cul-de-sac to give Joe Newell a sight of goal and the ex-Peterborough midfielder struck a left-footed effort which stung the palms of Nick Pope in the home goal.
Moments later, Andreu almost put Clarke-Harris through on goal but the Rotherham striker was inches away from latching onto his slide-rule pass before Diarra’s well-timed tackle prevented Clarke-Harris racing clear again in the next phase of play.
Odjidja-Ofoe made something out of nothing to waltz past the attentions of El-Hadji Ba and Ahmed Kashi with an outrageous piece of skill before trying his luck from just outside the box but he dragged his shot narrowly wide of the target.
Just past the half hour mark, Clarke-Harris embarked on a dribble to the edge of the box before he was upended by Kashi and the ex-Oldham hitman almost exacted retribution when his resultant free-kick was deflected over the bar.
With the home side debating the corner award, Newell swung over a delightful centre which flew over the ruck of bodies in the box and with Pope in no-man’s land, Rawson ghosted in at the far post and he had the simple task of tapping home into the unguarded net from point-blank range.
The home side’s frustration was summed up when Solly saw yellow for dissent following a Rotherham free-kick award before Richie Smallwood’s delicate chip over the top almost put Andreu through on goal but he couldn’t get the ball under control.
Half-time:- Charlton Athletic 0 Rotherham United 1
The home side were quick out of the blocks following the restart and Igor Vetokele’s initial shot was blocked by Lewis Buxton before his follow-up effort was straight down the throat of Camp.
Moments later, Solly’s clever chip over the top was superbly controlled by Gudmundsson on the edge of the box and the Icelandic international cut inside with menace before firing an effort which whistled narrowly over the bar.
In the home side’s next attack, Vetokele rose highest from Solly’s centre to loop a header which had to be tipped over by Camp before Diarra’s drilled effort from the resultant corner was bravely blocked by Frecklington, who put his body on the line to prevent the ball arrowing goalwards.
In a rare foray from the Millers, Clarke-Harris latched onto Mattock’s floated centre to strike a low effort which took a deflection of Bauer as the ball fizzed viciously wide of the target.
Morgan Fox had to be on his toes to put the ball behind with Frecklington lerking menacingly at the far post following Clarke-Harris’ dangerous centre before Rotherham came within a whisker of doubling their advantage when Mattock’s pinpoint centre was inch-perfect for the run of Andreu, whose downward header brought a superb reflex save from Pope, to arguably keep the home side in the contest.
Just past the hour mark, Rawson made a last-ditch tackle to prevent Cousins striking goalwards but Charlton got themselves back on level terms from the resultant corner when Rotherham failed to clear the ball decisively and the ball found itself into the path of sub Simon Makienok in the left-hand channel and his cross-cum-shot took Camp out of the equation and Bauer bundled the ball home from close range.
In the aftermath of the goal, Diarra and Collins both saw yellow following a clash before the restart.
The home side were lifted by the equaliser and Watt tried his luck from distance but Camp was his equal with a fine save before Newell became the latest to see yellow for bundling over Ba on the edge of the box.
Gudmundsson almost made the Millers pay from the resultant free-kick when his left-footed effort fizzed past the upright before Charlton turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye following the breakdown of a visitors attack minutes later and Watt raced clear but Smallwood kept his nerve with a timely block to prevent him shooting goalwards.
With the game in the balance, sub Chris Maguire almost made an immediate impact when his snap shot from distance had Pope at full stretch before Gudmundsson’s cross-cum-shot had Millers’ fans on the edge of their seats as it whistled narrowly of the target.
Gudmundsson seemed to be at the heart of the Addicks’ attacking intentions and his low effort brought the best out of Camp once again with a full length save before Maguire’s late cross was snaffled by Pope as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Full-time:- Charlton Athletic 1 Rotherham United 1
Teams- Charlton- Pope, Solly, Diarra, Bauer, Fox, Berg Gudmundsson, Ba (Bergdich 79), Kashi, Cousins, Watt, Vetokele (Makienok 63). Unused- Jackson, Sarr, Ahearne-Grant, Mitov, Kennedy.
Rotherham- Camp, Buxton, Collins, Rawson, Mattock, Frecklington (Green 74), Smallwood, Newell, Odjidja-Ofoe, Andreu (Maguire 71), Clarke-Harris (Derbyshire 79). Unused- Collin, Halford, Ledesma, D Ward
Referee:- Keith Stroud