REPORT | Rotherham 1 v 1 Blackburn - Report
AN unfortunate own goal by Stephen Kelly denied Rotherham United the chance to breathe new life into Championship survival hopes as Blackburn Rovers earned a late point.
Following a lacklustre opening period, Rotherham took a firm grip on the game just two minutes into the second half when Taylor fired home his fourth goal of the season following good work by Tom Adeyemi.
The Millers looked well set for victory until Kelly turned sub Connor Mahoney’s corner into his own net with four minutes remaining.
Following their narrow defeat at the hands of Bristol City last time out, the Millers made two changes to the starting line-up for the visit of the Lancastrians.
Cardiff loanee Adeyemi shrugged off illness to take his place in the home engine room while Taylor was asked to provide the ammunition from the right flank as Will Vaulks and Joe Mattock had to settle for places on the substitutes bench.
Following a slow start by both sides, Blackburn had the first sight of goal when Elliott Bennett’s clipped ball over the top skimmed off the top of the head of Ben Purrington, who was making his home debut, and Liam Feeney pounced on the loose ball to drill a centre which was gathered by Richard O’Donnell at the second attempt.
In Rotherham’s first foray of note, Adeyemi’s slide-rule pass saw Stephen Kelly take the ball in his stride to advance menacingly towards the Rovers box before screwing an effort which had Jason Steele nervously scurrying across goal as it shaved the visitors’ upright.
Moments later, Darragh Lenihan’s arrowed ball forward was cushioned smartly by Sam Gallagher into the path of strike partner Danny Graham, who unleashed a rasping shot from the edge of the box which whistled narrowly the Rotherham goal with O’Donnell rooted to the spot.
In the visitors’ next attack, Steele’s punt upfield saw Graham return the favour to give Gallagher a sight of goal but Semi Ajayi came out of nowhere to bravely block his goalbound effort.
Minutes later, Craig Conway’s corner saw Charlie Mulgrew emerge from the ruck of bodies in the box to meet his centre but off-balance, the ex-Celtic defender could not direct his header towards goal.
Just past the twenty minute mark, the home side had a let-off when Taylor ran down a cul-de-sac and Rovers skipper Jason Lowe stripped him of possession before trying his luck from distance with a dipping effort which O’Donnell, who was backtracking nervously, seemed to get a slight hand to as it cannoned against the underside of the crossbar, before falling to safety, to the Millers relief.
Minutes later, Conway was fortunate to escape action as he clumsily bundled over Anthony Forde as he looked to shoot from the edge of the box but Richie Smallwood failed to exact retribution with the resultant free-kick when it flew harmlessly over the visitors’ bar.
In the Millers’ next attack, Newell planted a hanging cross which seemed to be aimed at Taylor, but the ball cleared the ex-Peterborough winger’s head and fell invitingly for the back post run of Adeyemi, who could only scuff the ball towards Steele, who was well-stationed on his line to snuff out the danger.
At the other end, Graham tried his luck with a daisycutter from distance but O’Donnell got his body behind his shot before Wood had to be on his toes to divert Conway’s dangerous cross to safety with Gallagher lerking.
Gallagher was in the thick of the action and after Rotherham failed to clear Feeney’s corner, the Southampton loanee brought the ball under his spell before blasting over, with the goal at his mercy.
The Millers finished the half strongly and good work from Newell presented Taylor with the opportunity to strike but his wayward shot bizarrely went for a throw-in before Adeyemi worked hard to win possession to fire a low shot from distance which was smothered smartly by Steele.
In the last action of the half, Kelly became the first to see yellow for a late tackle on Conway.
Half-time- Rotherham United 0 Blackburn Rovers 0
The Millers introduced striker Jerry Yates into the fray at the start of the second half and the academy product made an immediate contribution when he played a part in the home opener.
The youngster exchanged passes with Adeyemi and although the Cardiff midfielder did not manage to get a shot away, the ball fell to Taylor, at the back post, who drilled a low shot which squirmed under the body of Steele to find the heart of the Rovers goal.
The Millers joy almost proved short lived when Conway’s shot was deflected wide and from the resultant corner, Conway curled a tantalising centre which saw Mulgrew rise highest to plant a point-blank header which O’Donnell superbly seemed to tip onto the crossbar before the ball flew to safety.
Moments later, Conway’s error presented Rotherham with a corner which Newell swung dangerously into the centre and Adeyemi rose highest to plant a header which was cleared from near his own line from a well-stationed Rovers defender before Danny Ward showed great tenacity to win the ball before trying his luck with a dipping effort which had Steele nervously looking over his shoulder as it narrowly cleared the visitors crossbar.
Moments later, Blackburn failed to clear decisively and Adeyemi had a shot blocked on the edge of the box before Newell pounced on the loose ball to fire a left-footed effort, which took a nick as it deflected narrowly wide before Ward superbly brought the ball under his spell before firing an effort which struck Lenihan as it fell into the path of Adeyemi, who attempted to divert the ball towards goal but Steele was able to bundle the ball wide.
The Millers were looking the most likely and a fine run and pass from Purrington gave Adeyemi another chance to shoot goalwards but his effort was deflected wide before Rovers countered with purpose and Conway’s centre was headed by Kelly into the path of Gallagher, who looked set to test O’Donnell, but he fluffed his lines with a screwed shot.
Moments later, Bennett cut inside with menace before firing a low effort which had O’Donnell at full stretch before the ball was bundled clear before Smallwood’s pass saw Ward race away from Mulgrew before electing to shoot rather than cross as Steele plucked his effort out of the sky.
Moments later, Ajayi delayed his clearance and sub Marvin Emnes took advantage to work a shooting position as his snap shot stung the palms of O’Donnell before Ajayi redeemed himself for his earlier error with a superb clearance from Mahoney’s tantalising centre, in the next phase of play.
The visitors were ramping up the pressure and Mahoney’s cross-cum-shot was deflected behind by Purrington before Mahoney put in back-to-back corners, with the latter one being behind Rovers’ leveller.
The substitute planted a delicate centre into the box and with O’Donnell seemingly denied the chance to claim the ball and with a number of bodies in the six-yard box, the ball seemed to strike Kelly at the far post, before squirming into the Millers goal.
The visitors were sensing victory and they came within inches of turning the game on its head when Mahoney curled a fantastic centre which was inch-perfect for the run of Emnes, who carefully steered his header towards goal but fortunately for the Millers, the ball whistled past the home upright.
Full-time- Rotherham United 1 Blackburn Rovers 1
Rotherham United 1
Blackburn Rovers 1
Teams:- Rotherham- O’Donnell, Kelly, Wood, Forde (Yates 46), Ward, Taylor, Ajayi, Newell, Adeyemi (Vaulks 77), Purrington, Smallwood. Unused- Bilboe, Mattock, Blackstock, Bray, Ekstrand.
Blackburn- Steele, Williams, Lowe, Feeney (Mahoney 69), Graham, Mulgrew, Gallagher, Nyambe (Akpan 65), Lenihan, Bennett, Conway (Emnes 69). Unused- Raya, Joao, Guthrie, Brown.
Referee- O Langford
Attendance- 9438 (1195).