ROTHERHAM UNITED took another step towards Championship survival as they earned a share of the spoils with Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town, to extend their unbeaten run to ten games.
Greg Halford gave Neil Warnock’s side an early lead but Nahki Wells cancelled out the Millers advantage to level matters soon after.
Following their goalless draw with Nottingham Forest at the weekend, the Millers made just one change to their starting line-up as Danny Ward was recalled to face his former club as Leon Best had to settle for a substitutes berth.
Lee Frecklington shrugged off a recurrence of a calf injury to take his place in the heart of the Millers midfield while Birmingham loanee Chris Burke was named on the home bench.
The visitors had the first sight of goal when Tommy Smith’s cross from the touchline had Lee Camp nervously looking over his shoulder but Stephen Kelly headed clear from underneath his own crossbar under pressure from Rajiv van La Parra.
However, the Millers stunned the visitors by breaking the deadlock with their first foray of note on ten minutes.
Joe Mattock’s corner to the far post was headed across goal into the path of Halford, who volleyed goalwards from point-blank range and the ball seemingly took a series of deflections, the last off ‘keeper Jed Steer, as it dribbled over the line.
Despite the ball being hacked clear by a retreating Town defender, referee Graham Salisbury adjudged the ball to have crossed the line to the joy of the home faithful.
The home side were visibly lifted by the breakthrough and Grant Ward evaded the attentions of his marker before firing a rasping effort from just inside the box which stung the palms of Steer before Town only half-cleared another Mattock corner paving the way for Frecklington to strike a volley, which Richard Wood audaciously attempted to nod towards goal but Steer was well-stationed to snuff out the danger.
Moments later, Mattock’s snap shot from distance struck a Town defender en-route to goal which took the steam out of his effort before Town equalised with 22 minutes on the clock when the visitors turned over possession and Harry Bunn’s slide-rule pass gave Wells, a glimpse of goal and the Bermudian striker struck a drilled effort which squirmed under the body of Camp to find the heart of the home goal.
Just after the half-hour mark, Kirk Broadfoot was harshly adjudged to have clipped Wells in an inviting position but Bunn fluffed his lines from the resultant free-kick when he dragged his effort harmlessly wide of the target.
At the other end, Dean Whitehead’s errant pass was pounced upon by Matt Derbyshire, who struck a rasping effort from distance, which was straight down the throat of Steer.
With half time approaching, Joel Lynch’s arrowed ball forward saw Wells get on the wrong side of Wood to advance menacingly towards goal but a combination of the tight angle and Camp at his near post, managed to keep his effort out.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 1 Huddersfield Town 1
Following a slow start by both sides at the start of the second half, Frecklington had an effort from just outside the box deflected over the bar before Smallwood blasted over from distance in the home side’s next attack.
Just before the hour mark, quick home passing released Danny Ward in the channel before the Millers striker delivered a tantalising cross to his namesake, Grant, who had ghosted infront of his marker to glance a header narrowly wide of the target.
At the other end, Lolley’s mazy run had the Millers defence backtracking towards their own goal as he curled an effort from the edge of the box which had Camp at full stretch as the ex-Derby ‘keeper palmed the ball to safety despite Wells lurking menacingly for the rebound.
With the game in the balance, Halford’s bullet throw was not cleared decisively by the Town defence and Broadfoot bundled the ball through a ruck of bodies into the path of Wood, who could not get a clean connection, as he spooned the ball into the grateful hands of Steer.
The home fans had their hearts in their mouths when Wells picked up a loose ball before driving hard at the Rotherham rearguard to drill an effort from distance which had Camp flying across goal as it shaved the home upright.
Wells was Rotherham’s tormentor-in-chief and Town sprang a counter after Wood failed to clear the danger on halfway and the ex-Bradford striker cut inside to curl an effort from the edge of the box which brought the best out of Camp, who managed to palm the ball to safety.
Moments later, Lynch motioned out of defence before unleashing a piledriver from long range which fizzed narrowly wide of the target before the Millers had a let-off when sub Jamie Paterson made something out of nothing to present Wells with the opportunity of striking a fierce effort which beat the outstretched hand of Camp to find the corner of the home net but any visitors joy was curtailed by the offside flag.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 1 Huddersfield Town 1
Rotherham United 1
Huddersfield Town 1
Teams: Rotherham- Camp, Kelly, Broadfoot, Wood, Mattock, Halford, G Ward, Smallwood, Frecklington, Derbyshire (Best 64), D Ward. Unused- Kenny, Green, Burke, Richardson, Clarke-Harris, Newell.
Huddersfield- Steer, Smith, Davidson, Whitehead, Hudson, Bunn (Paterson 58), Lolley (Scannell 90), Wells, Van La Parra (Matmour 58), Billing, Lynch. Unused- Allinson, Cranie, Huws, Dempsey.
Referee: G Salisbury
Attendance: 10292 (1852)