Millers edged out by Marriott's double....
KIEFFER Moore’s fourth goal of the season proved in vain as Rotherham United were edged out by Peterborough United, thanks to Jack Marriott’s double, following an enthralling encounter at the ABAX Stadium.
In a lively opening period, Marriott crashed an effort against the crossbar before home ‘keeper Jonathan Bond denied Ryan Williams and Jamie Proctor with a superb double save.
However, the goals flowed in the second half when Marriott struck before Moore levelled matters- with a towering header.
With the game swinging end to end, Proctor had a goal ruled out for offside before Marriott sealed the deal for the hosts when he pounced on Semi Ajayi’s error to score the decisive winner.
Following their handsome league victory over Southend United in their last league outing, Millers chief Paul Warne kept faith with his starting line-up for the visit to the ABAX Stadium,
The only squad change from the Shrimpers defeat was Jonson Clarke-Harris was named on the bench with youngster Jerry Yates ruled out because of a metatarsal injury.
The home side were quick out of the blocks and they squandered an opportunity to take the lead when Gwion Edwards got the better of a duel with Josh Emmanuel to plant a cross into the path of Marriott, who blasted a left-footed effort harmlessly over the Millers bar despite having the goal at his mercy.
Moments later, Joe Newell was upended by Posh skipper Jack Baldwin in an inviting position on the edge of the box but the ex-Peterborough midfielder failed to exact revenge from the resultant free-kick, when his curling effort sailed over the bar without troubling home ‘keeper Bond.
The Millers had a let off when Anthony Grant’s arrowed ball over the top saw Marriott, get on the wrong side of Emmanuel before superbly putting the ball under his spell to fire an effort from outside of the box with his instep, which flew past Richard O’Donnell to crash against the underside of the crossbar but to the visitors relief, the ball was not adjudged to have crossed the line despite vehement home appeals.
In a lively opening, Darren Potter fought hard to win possession to present Williams with the opportunity to swing a delightful centre which looked inch-perfect for Proctor, who had ghosted away from the Posh defence, but unfortunately the Millers hitman was unable to make a telling connection, as Bond snuffed out the danger.
In a whirlwind sixty seconds, Moore’s fizzed cross was inches away from a diving Proctor before Maddison fired over from Michael Doughty’s assist.
The Millers came within a whisker of the breakthrough when Newell’s centre paved the way for Williams to force a good point-blank save from Bond, but the ball squirmed into the path of Proctor, who looked a certain scorer from an acute angle, but Bond showed great powers of recovery, to palm the ball clear from his own line and with the home side unable to clear their lines, Moore drilled a low effort from the edge of the box which beat the outstretched hand of Bond, but agonisingly cannoned against the upright before falling to safety.
In a see-saw encounter, the Millers were then indebted to O’Donnell for preserving parity when Junior Morias’ defence splitting pass saw Leo Da Silva Lopes show a clever piece of skill to bear down on the Rotherham goal but the visiting stopper was his equal with a superb, reflex save before the ball was scrambled clear by a retreating defender.
With half time approaching, Michael Ihiekwe’s hopeful punt upfield caught the Posh defence napping as Proctor had an aerial duel with Bond, which earned the visitors a corner before Newell screwed an effort wide following good work by Williams and Moore, in the next phase of play.
Half-time:- Peterborough United 0 Rotherham United 0
Following the interval, Peterborough took a grip on the game, just two minutes into the half, when a threaded ball through from Morais paved the way for Marriott to work a yard on space on Ihiekwe before drilling a low shot across the face of goal and although O’Donnell got a hand to his effort, the ball found the visitors net via the inside of the post.
The Millers responded superbly to the setback and Newell flashed a cross across the Posh box before Williams fired an effort narrowly wide after Peterborough failed to clear Newell’s cross decisively.
However, Peterborough failed to heed the warning as the Millers levelled matters on 55 minutes when Lee Frecklington’s sublime ball into the box saw Moore tower above his marker to plant a superb header into the roof of the home net giving Bond no chance.
Just before the hour mark, Morais fired into the side netting before stinging the palms of O’Donnell with another effort from a tight angle, just moments later.
There was another moment of controversy when Marcus Maddison took a tumble in the box under the challenge of Frecklington – but despite strong protests from home players and fans alike, the referee booked the Posh playmaker for simulation.
Minutes later, Posh attacked with menace and Maddison’s superb centre saw Marriott nip in front of his marker to poke the ball goalwards from close range but with O’Donnell beaten, the ball smashed against the post before falling to safety- to the relief of all those with a Rotherham United persuasion.
With the game in the balance, it was Rotherham’s turn to threaten the home goal when Williams’ tantalising centre was inch-perfect for Proctor, who headed home from close range, but any visitors joy was curtailed by the offside flag.
Moments later, Williams launched a lightning Millers counter after shrugging Da Silva off the ball but Newell’s effort from the edge of the box was deflected behind before Peterborough regained the lead when a hopeful punt forward was not dealt with decisively by a backtracking Ajayi and Marriott latched onto his error to loop the ball over O’Donnell, who was stuck in no-man’s land, as the ball dribbled into the unguarded net.
The Millers shrugged off the setback when sub Jon Taylor’s cross was met by the head of Moore but Bond palmed his effort from goal before Taylor was again the architect as Frecklington sneaked around the back to plant a header which failed to trouble the home goal.
In the dying minutes, Mattock was yellow-carded for a foul on Morais before Marriott, in search of his hat-trick, blazed an effort over the home stand from a promising position.
Rotherham’s frustration was summed up when firstly Ihiekwe saw yellow in the aftermath of a foul in the Posh box before Moore joined him in the book for deliberate handball, in the last seconds of the game.
Full-time- Peterborough United 2 Rotherham United 1
Peterborough United 2
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Peterborough- Bond, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Edwards, Maddison (Forrester 82), Marriott, Morias (Kanu 71), Da Silva (Hughes 82), Doughty, Taylor, Grant. Unused- O’Malley, Shephard, Lloyd, Borg.
Rotherham- O’Donnell, Emmanuel (Forde 81), Ajayi, Ihiekwe, Mattock, Williams (Taylor 75), Potter, Frecklington, Newell, Moore, Proctor (David Ball 71). Unused- Bilboe, Vaulks, Purrington, Clarke-Harris.
Referee- R Joyce
Attendance- 6344 (1068)