ROTHERHAM UNITED will be playing Championship football for the third successive season as a hard-fought draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers guaranteed survival with two games to go.
The Millers went into the game knowing a point would be enough to preserve their status in England’s second tier and following a low-key affair in the Midlands, Neil Warnock’s men got the point they needed, as they extended their unbeaten run to 11 games.
Following their hard fought draw with Huddersfield Town in midweek, the Millers made just one change to their starting line-up for the visit to Molineux as Leon Best was recalled to lead the visitors attack with Danny Ward unavailable because of injury.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when Joe Mattock delivered a deep corner which saw skipper Kirk Broadfoot rise highest to nod towards goal but any effort would have been chalked off for an earlier infringement in the box.
Moments later, Wolves were thankful to Danny Batth for snuffing out a dangerous Grant Ward cross before the Millers had a let-off when James Henry got the better of Ward to release Joe Mason, who pulled the ball back into the path of Dave Edwards, who dragged an effort narrowly wide of the target despite having the goal at his mercy.
Stephen Kelly’s weak backpass almost put Camp in trouble but the Millers stopper was on his toes to clear the danger before Rotherham failed to deal with Henry’s free-kick but Mattock put in a timely tackle to prevent a home forward shooting goalwards.
Minutes later, Grant Ward stripped Sylvain Deslandes of possession near the touchline before firing a delicious cross which narrowly evaded the attentions of the on-rushing Matt Derbyshire before Wolves came within a whisker of the breakthrough when Henry’s corner was flicked on into the path of Batth, who crashed a point-blank header against the underside of the crossbar, whereby Camp may have got a fingertip touch, and Broadfoot, in attempting to scramble the ball clear, had his leg taken away and referee Jeremy Simpson blew for a foul, to the Millers’ relief.
Just before the half-hour mark, Henry’s clipped pass saw Mason one-on-one with Richard Wood but the ex-Wednesday defender held his nerve to block his goalbound effort en-route to goal.
Minutes later, Mason and Edwards combined smartly to give Henry, a glimpse of goal, but his curling effort from just outside the box was straight down the throat of Camp.
Just shy of half-time, Derbyshire was penalised for hauling over Dominic Iorfa and the home side almost made the Millers pay from the resultant free-kick when Henry curled a tantalising centre which saw Matt Doherty sneak in at the back post to flash a header across the face of goal but Baath was unable to turn the ball home from close range.
Half-time- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Rotherham United 0
Following the interval, Richie Smallwood’s ball over the top almost fell invitingly for the run of Best but Carl Ikeme raced off his line to snuff out the danger before the Wolves ‘keeper turned provider when his punt upfield was flicked on into the path of Mason, who had ghosted away from his marker, to bare down on goal but his tame effort was comfortably gathered by Camp.
The Millers had a lucky escape when the visitors rearguard failed to clear the danger and Bright Enobakhare fizzed a cross into the danger area and Deslandes looked to stab the ball goalwards at the back post but fortunately for Warnock’s men, the ball dribbled the wrong side of the upright.
In a rare foray by the Millers, Derbyshire took control of possession in the box after Wolves failed to clear and he struck a fierce half-volley which stung the palms of Ikeme before the Millers had Camp to thank for preserving parity when Henry’s slide-rule pass put Mason in the clear but the ex-Derby stopper stood up tall to block his goalbound effort.
Just past the hour mark, Best’s lay-off presented Freckington with the opportunity of striking goalwards and he obliged with a stinging effort from distance, which seemingly swerved in the air, as Ikeme was forced to punch clear.
With the game in the balance, Wolves almost made the decisive breakthrough when the Millers were penned deep inside their box and after Camp made an initial save, George Saville turned smartly to drill a left-footed effort which finally beat the Rotherham stopper but Kelly produced some heroic defending to clear from his own line to keep the scores level.
There was a moment of controversy when Smallwood’s diagonal ball was knocked down by Best into the path of Broadfoot, who tumbled under the challenge of Baath in the box, but the referee waved away visiting appeals for a spot-kick and booked the Rotherham skipper for simulation.
Minutes later, Doherty rampaged into the box before blazing an effort over when he should have done better before Rotherham almost stole the points when Halford’s cross from the left flank was aimed at Best, but fell kindly for Derbyshire, who struck goalwards but Ikeme parried the ball clear.
Derbyshire and Ikeme were having a personal duel and the Wolves stopper again denied the ex-Olympiakos striker, with a fine save, from a low effort before Camp was forced to tip over Mason’s looping header from Henry’s cross.
In injury-time, Henry swung an inviting corner which was met by the head of Deslandes, who powered a downward header which fizzed past the post in the last action of the game.
Full-time: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Rotherham United 0
Teams:- Wolves- Ikeme, Doherty, Edwards, Batth, Henry, Saville, Mason, Coady, Iorfa, Deslandes, Enobakhare (Wallace 64). Unused- Martinez, McDonald, Price, Hause, Hunte, Collins
Rotherham- Camp, Derbyshire, Frecklington, Broadfoot, Best (Clarke-Harris 88), G Ward, Halford, Kelly, Mattock (Richardson 72), Smallwood, Wood. Unused- Kenny, Burke, Newell, Belaid, Green
Referee- J. Simpson